SAMS news room

Engineers explore social aspects of renewables at SAMS

Engineering students specialising in renewable energy attended a two-week course at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) to learn how their work could affect local communities and other stakeholders.

The Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) is an initiative of the Energy Technologies Institute and the Research Councils UK Energy programme. 

As part of their studies the engineering PhD students at Edinburgh University attend the Marine Renewables and Society summer school at SAMS at the end of June.

The course provides attendees with an understanding of marine governance; policy and planning relating to offshore renewable energy; the competing interests and perceptions associated with marine real-estate; and methods used to address and balance these competing interests.

Speaking after the students had given their final assessment last Friday (June 26), student Robert Clayton, who is working with a company in Glasgow, said:

"Engineers typically like maths, numbers and materials, whereas this course looks at human geography and the social aspects of what we do; it's really valuable. People have the power to stop renewables projects we work on, so we need to engage positively with them and give them as much information as possible."

The students all said they enjoyed staying in Oban during their fortnight in the area.

The course leader is Dr Karen Alexander, a researcher in marine social science, at SAMS’ Laurence Mee Centre for Society and the Sea.

She said the course provides the engineering students with a more rounded view of renewable energy developments.


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