Orkney research campus welcomes new Chair

Tracy Shimmield (Photo: SAMS)

Internationally recognized scientist Tracy Shimmield has taken on the role of Chair of the new Orkney Research and Innovation Campus (ORIC).

Shimmield brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously held positions as associate director of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban, and was the former managing director of SAMS Research Services (SRSL) based at the European Marine Science Park in Oban which provides specialist marine consultancy and survey services.

She is also an executive member of the British Geological Survey (BGS) and co-director of the Lyell Centre in Edinburgh, which is a pioneering global research facility for earth and marine science and technology, and enables the BGS and Heriot-Watt University to build on their joint expertise.

Shimmield currently serves on the Norwegian New Knowledge on Sea Disposal (NYKOS) advisory board and is a member of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Deep-Sea Mining Working Group. She is also Chair of a working group of the joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP).

As Chair of ORIC, Shimmield will provide leadership to the ORIC Board during her three-year appointment.

“Orkney was the centre for innovation for the British Isles 5000 years ago and I will work with partners to ensure Orkney once again leads discovery and innovation attracting further research and commercial organizations with an interest in carrying out ventures in an island setting. I am very optimistic about the future employment and business opportunities for Orkney and ORIC will be key in developing these opportunities from both academia and business,” Shimmield said.

Jointly led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Orkney Islands Council (OIC) – the campus will support the growth of existing research and innovation activity and the expansion of companies in Orkney’s marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector.

Work is underway by the main contractor, Kirkwall based R Clouston to refurbish, update and extend the old Academy and former Stromness Primary School buildings and improve access roads, paths and landscaping.

HIE is investing £4.65 million in the campus project, including £1.48 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money. OIC is investing £2 million, including £500,000 of Scottish Government Regeneration Funding, in addition to transferring ownership of the Old Academy and former Stromness primary school to the partnership.

The Old Academy is already home to the European Marine Energy Centre, Heriot Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology, environmental consultant Aquatera and number of other businesses. The project will also attract additional research activities to Orkney, both from the commercial and academic worlds, the developers said.

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