Cool Farm Tool and EXPLORATHON shortlisted in Times Higher Education Awards

An innovative greenhouse gas calculator developed by researchers at the University of Aberdeen has been shortlisted for the prestigious Research Project of the Year award in this year's Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

The Cool Farm tool, which was originally developed by researchers at the University’s School of Biological Sciences in partnership with Unilever and the U.S. based Sustainable Food Lab to help farmers and companies measure and understand on-farm emissions, has also been shortlisted for an award in the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology category. 

The annual THE Awards are widely recognised as the Oscars of the higher education sector, and will be held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on November 26. 

In addition to the Cool Farm Tool nominations, the University has also been shortlisted in the Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers category through the European Researchers’ Night Scotland project – also known as EXPLORATHON – which was held in September last year. 

Supported by the European Commission and led by the University’s Public Engagement with Research Unit (PERU) in partnership with the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde, EXPLORATHON brought over 300 researchers together with over 7,000 schools and members of the public across Scotland in a single night.

Welcoming the nominations, University of Aberdeen Principal, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, said: “The University of Aberdeen is renowned for its world-leading research across a range of areas including environmental sciences, and the Cool Farm Tool serves as an outstanding example of the global impact of our research.

“To be shortlisted in the Research Project of the Year category alongside only five other UK Universities is an achievement in itself, but to be included in two categories underlines the strength of the work undertaken by Dr Jon Hillier and his colleagues at the University's Environmental Modelling Group.

“Of course, communicating the impact of our research to the wider public is something that we do extremely well as a University, and I am delighted that our Public Engagement with Research Unit has been recognised for their outstanding work on EXPLORATHON, which was widely recognised as a huge success.

“I wish all of those involved the best of luck when the THE Awards are held later this year.”  

Dr Jon Hillier, who played a key role in developing the Cool Farm Tool, said: “The Cool Farm Tool is the product of a multi-sector collaboration over several years to deliver science-based environmental decision support to farmers, and on behalf of the Cool Farm Alliance I am delighted that it has been shortlisted for two THE Awards.

“The tool’s development has been supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), in collaboration with other universities, global food and drink companies, and fertiliser companies.  We are extremely happy that our research is helping informed decision-making on the part of farmers and in the supply chains of global businesses.”

Dr Kenneth Skeldon, Head of Public Engagement at the University of Aberdeen, said: “EXPLORATHON is arguably Scotland’s largest ever public engagement with research event, joining over 300 other cities across Europe in providing a huge variety of experiences and opportunities linked to training and skills for researchers to engage with society.

“When awarded in spring 2014, it was the first successful grant in Scotland to be awarded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, and we’re delighted the project’s success and efforts of its extended team have been recognised.”