The University of Aberdeen has been named winner of the Research with Impact - Institution title at the prestigious Green Gown Awards UK and Ireland 2023.
Held in association with UKRI, the Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges around the world.
The University was recognised for the research and knowledge exchange led by a research team at the Rowett Institute which has underpinned a resurgence in the Scottish hemp sector.
Researchers found hemp seed-based foods have an excellent nutritional profile with several health-supporting benefits. Taking the findings forward, they were pivotal in creating a sector-wide association, to align and galvanise all aspects of the supply chain for a thriving hemp industry.
Hemp grows well in Scotland while offsetting greenhouse gases and maximising biodiversity and the team have explored the potential of markets for Scottish hemp making clear recommendations to Scottish government.
The broad range of products offered from all parts of the plant - healthy food, materials, biofuel - supports a zero-waste circular green economy. By working directly with producers and processors, the team are regenerating the Scottish hemp industry as a tangible solution to directly address challenges in health, climate and economy.
Professor George Boyne, University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “Commitment to sustainability is key to our Aberdeen 2040 strategy. This Green Gown Award for Research with Impact is testament to the outstanding work of colleagues to engage others and enable beneficial change. This achievement recognises how our research is advancing sustainability and addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals."
Professor Wendy Russell, who is co-leading the hemp research, said: “Thanks to Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture at the Scottish Government who have supported this research into healthy, low emission crops as part of a wider vision to protect Scotland’s long term food security.”
Alison Robinson, NERC Deputy Executive Chair and Director of Business Delivery & Insight, part of UKRI and headline sponsor, said: “Congratulations to the winners of the Green Gown Awards. It is so great to see this exceptional set of finalists showing us what is being done across our sector to reach net zero. The quality of research and innovation alongside the passion and enthusiasm of all the finalists is inspiring. I look forward to following the progress of these projects as they help us all take climate action.”