Professor honoured at Team Aberdeen Ambassador Awards

A University of Aberdeen Professor has been honoured for his efforts in bringing a number of high profile academic conferences to the north east.

Professor John Watson, from the University’s School of Engineering, received the Special Recognition Award at the annual Team Aberdeen Ambassador Awards, which were held at the city’s Chester Hotel on Wednesday, May 11.

The awards are held to celebrate the achievements of those who promote the north east as a conference destination, and a number of academics from the University were recognised for their contribution in attracting conferences to the region over the last 12 months.

However, it was Professor Watson who received the biggest honour of the night for the wide range of academic events he has brought to Aberdeen over the years, including the European Optical Society 2012, 3DTV 2013 and the IEEE Oceans 2007 and 2017 conferences.

Commenting on his award, Professor Watson said: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this special recognition award, and it is fantastic to see so many of my peers’ efforts being recognised as well. Organising conferences on this scale requires the support of a strong team, and we are all grateful for the hard work of our colleagues in helping bring them to fruition.

“As academics, we have wide networks of contacts that span the globe and it is important that we use these to bring our international colleagues to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for high-profile conferences and events.

“This not only benefits our own academic institutes by bringing world-renowned experts to Aberdeen, but benefits also the conference venues and has a knock on effect to the leisure tourism industry as visitors discover just what the region has to offer.”

Steve Harris, chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire, adds, “Aberdeen is often called the oil capital of Europe, and many know about the large energy industry events which take place in the city. While the energy industry is obviously valuable to the region, it is important to realise and celebrate the diverse range of academic events that also take place.

“From Latin American studies to cement and concrete technology, the breadth of conferences held in the north east over the past year is staggering. It shows that Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have a lot to offer in a diverse range of important research fields.

“The success of these conferences highlights the excellent facilities that the north east has to offer. From the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre for large-scale conferences to the hotels and exclusive use venues which host smaller meetings and events, the region has a lot to offer those looking for somewhere to hold a successful conference.

 “We are incredibly grateful to the Team Aberdeen Ambassadors for all of the work they have put into promoting the region to their academic colleagues, and we look forward to working with them over the next twelve months to bring even more conferences to the area.”

The full list of winners from the Team Aberdeen Ambassador Awards:


Dr Raif Yuecel & Linda Duncan, University of Aberdeen – Scottish Society of Cytomics Meeting 2014


Dr Shauna Cunningham, Robert Gordon University – Diet, Gene Regulation and Metabolic Disease Conference 2015


 Professor Patience Schell, University of Aberdeen – Society for Latin American Studies Conference 2015


 Yasa Ratnayeke, Aberdeen City Council – Energy Cities Annual Conference 2015


 Dr Graham Wilson, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital – Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland Scientific Meeting 2015


Karen Orchard, Aberdeen City Council – HyTrEc Conference 2015


Dr Alastair McKinlay, NHS Grampian & Dr Umesh Basavaraju, University of Aberdeen  – Scottish  Society of Gastroenterology Spring Meeting 2015


Professor Peter Reid, Robert Gordon University – i3 information: interactions and impact 2015


Dr Berndt Müller, University of Aberdeen – Translation UK 2015 Conference


Professor Bernadette Connolly, University of Aberdeen – International Student Research Forum 2015


Professor David Lurie, University of Aberdeen – 9th Conference on Fast Field Cycling NMR Relaxometry 2015


Dr Lee-Ann Sutherland, James Hutton Institute – European Society for Rural Sociology Congress


Dr Mohammed Imbabi, University of Aberdeen – Cement and Concrete Science Conference 2015


Dr Alasdair Mackenzie, University of Aberdeen – Neuropeptides 2015 Conference


Dr Barry O’Neill, University of Aberdeen – 12th International Workshops Methods for the Development and Evaluation of Maritime Technologies


Dr Ejaz Pathan & Dr Neil Basu,, NHS Grampian – Scottish Society for Rheumatology Autumn Meeting 2015


Elaine Cleary, Junior Chamber International – Junior Chamber International European Presidents Conference 2016


Professor John Watson, University of Aberdeen – Special Recognition Award - European Optical Society 2012, 3DTV 2013, IEEE Oceans 2007 and 2017