Last month, Academics from the University of Glasgow welcomed the Deputy First Minister to the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE).
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP was in attendance for the launch of the ambitious European project IBIS (Integrated Aquatic Resources Management Between Ireland).
IBIS is an £8million collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast and the Loughs Agency, aimed at protecting aquatic resources across Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. IBIS develops a common approach to the delivery of high priority training, research and knowledge sharing, to promote freshwater and marine resource management and policy, and to protect the biodiversity that these ecosystems support.
The IBIS project, alongside donations received by the University, is funding a major £3million expansion of the SCENE facilities.
Construction began in November last year and when complete the expansion will see the creation of a new lecture theatre, teaching laboratory, specialist stores and accommodation for 45 students and teachers.
The expansion is set to be a springboard for new research from academics at the University’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine. Director of SCENE, Professor Colin Adams of the University of Glasgow said:
“Exciting new projects that will be given a boost include work on the ecology of Lyme disease, the response of natural habitats to environmental change, how living organisms keep track of time, and the evolutionary processes which have led to high levels of diversity in freshwater systems.
“When SCENE was established 70 years ago there was no equivalent research centre in the UK. Generations of researchers from a wide range of disciplines have developed our understanding of Scotland’s diverse and fascinating natural environment and helped the centre build an enviable international reputation.
“When construction of our new facilities is completed next year we’ll be well-placed to ensure that we can maintain our high quality of research and train more graduates to work in skilled environmental jobs. We’ll also be able to increase our outreach activities to help school students, the public and visitors to Loch Lomond National Park develop a greater appreciation and understanding of Scotland’s precious natural resources.”
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added:
“The University of Glasgow has a global reputation for spearheading world class research.
“I recognise the distinct contribution being made by the University to the European-funded £8 million IBIS project, in partnership with other institutions from Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“It is important that we capitalise on Scotland’s strengths. This investment reinforces our reputation as a dynamic and innovative nation.”
The expansion of SCENE’s facilities is being carried out by Clark Contracts using sustainable materials to create an energy-efficient space.