Dr Mike Weston

Mike Weston Interview

Head of UHI's Energy Research Group (ERG) Mike Weston is tasked with building the energy research capacity of the UHI's academic partners, raising awareness of and co-ordinating their renewables-related activities. Here he gives an insight into his work and the future direction of ERG.

Q: What do you think is ERG’s key priority?

A: To combat our natural Scottish modesty and raise the profile of the world leading energy research being undertaken across the UHI partnership.

Q: What has been ERG’s biggest achievement in the last six months?

A: The development of a web portal which showcases the excellent energy research being spearheaded by our partners and places it within the wider context of Scottish research.

Q: What brought you to work for ERG?

A: A desire to be involved with a unique organisation at a time of unparalleled opportunities and interesting challenges and to play a part in securing a healthy energy future for Scotland.

Q: Where do ERG’s partners tend to see most benefits from it?

A: ERG has time and resources to commit to supporting our partners in their pursuit of opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

Q: How are market challenges changing for your partners?

A: The cuts in research funding and the slowdown in business sponsored R&D will undoubtedly result in challenges and a refocusing of aspirations. That the best performers in times of economic uncertainty have used research and innovation as a springboard to future prosperity is becoming more widely accepted and may turn this challenge into an opportunity.

Q: What has been your most enjoyable activity?

A: It has been fantastic visiting the various partners and learning about their research, and getting caught up in their obvious enthusiasm for their particular subject. My particular favourite, mainly because it was completely new to me, were the activities in Marine Archaeology relating to Environmental Impact Assessments being pursued at Orkney College.

Q: What further changes do you see for ERG?

A: At present, given the nature of the funding cycle, ERG is reacting to opportunities. ERG will have to move to pre-empt and eventually shape future opportunities which requires the further development of the relationship with key decision makers and industry representatives.

Q: Where do you see ERG in ten years’ time?

A: I see three key markers of success:

  • A UHI partner engaged in a project involved with each element of the marine energy supply chain.
  • A clear and unique Highlands and Islands R&D offering to the global energy market.
  • ERG as a key participant in an effective and constructive discussion with politicians and other decision makers for our energy future.


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