Scottish-Canadian philanthropist donates GBP1.3m to Heriot-Watt

Robert M Buchan and Professor Steve Chapman

Robert M Buchan, the Canada-based Scottish mining entrepreneur, philanthropist and Heriot-Watt graduate, is donating £1.3m to the University to establish a new Chair in Sustainable Energy Engineering. This is the largest ever donation by an individual to the University, and one of the largest donations that Heriot-Watt has received.

The announcement comes in the same week as the launch of the Whitlock Energy Collaboration Centre at Carnegie College in Fife, which Mr Buchan also gave $1m Canadian (£650,000) to establish.

The Robert M Buchan Chair in Sustainable Energy Engineering will be a key appointment, providing leadership to the University's Energy Academy and enhancing its already strong position in energy research and teaching. Current Heriot-Watt initiatives in energy research give the University a strong basis on which to grow the potential and influence of this post.

Mr Buchan said, "I believe in giving forward rather than giving back. It may sound like a small difference, but it reflects a desire to focus on what is needed in the future. The Chair in Sustainable Energy Engineering will focus attention on research and study in an area which, it is my hope, will keep Scotland at the forefront of this rapidly evolving discipline."

Its influence will be felt in Scotland and in the wider world of energy sustainability

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said, "This is a wonderfully generous donation by one of our most successful alumni, which will be used to fund a key post in line with the University's strategy of appointing top level candidates to address key challenges facing the world today.

"This very generous gift from Robert Buchan will make a significant contribution to the advancement of research in Sustainable Energy Engineering. Its influence will be felt in Scotland and in the wider world of energy sustainability. We will ensure that we provide excellent stewardship of the donation and that it is used to the greatest possible benefit for research and for future students who have an interest in this field."

The post holder will be a joint appointment with the University's world-renowned Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE) and the academic School best matching the candidate's specialism, in line with the interdisciplinary nature of energy research and the University's strategic academic themes.