Michel Kaiser
Professor Michel Kaiser

Heriot-Watt University has appointed Professor Michel Kaiser as its new Chief Scientist.

Professor Kaiser takes over from Professor John Underhill, who has held the role since 2017.

Over the next two years, Professor Kaiser will be responsible for championing the University’s expertise in the Blue Economy as well as lead initiatives that further enhance and amplify its reputation for research excellence.

The need to develop The Blue Economy in a way that is sustainable and that recognises the underpinning value of natural resources is of vital importance to economic growth and livelihoods around the world.

Professor Michel Kaiser, Chief Scientist

He will expand his current portfolio of work with influential stakeholders including at Government level to inform on policy, development and delivery.

Michel is a Professor in Fisheries Conservation and is based at The Lyell Centre in Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh campus. Prior to this, he was the Science & Standards Director at the Marine Stewardship Council and a Professor of Marine Conservation Ecology at Bangor University for 20 years.

He said on his appointment: “I am deeply honoured to be named as the new Chief Scientist of Heriot-Watt University and I very much look forward to championing this fantastic institution and its world-leading research across the Blue Economy remit.

“The need to develop The Blue Economy in a way that is sustainable and that recognises the underpinning value of natural resources is of vital importance to economic growth and livelihoods around the world. A key part of my role will be to highlight the opportunities presented but also to balance these against the need to preserve the fragile ecosystems within our oceans.

“We have a breadth of talent at this University and I am keen to ensure that we project our voice as a leader in this field.”

Announcing his appointment today, Professor Garry Pender, Deputy Principal Research and Innovation, said: “I am delighted that Michel has been appointed to this role, since joining us he has committed a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to promoting our expertise in marine science. I am confident that he will be an excellent Chief Scientist.”

Chief Scientist is one of the most senior positions at Heriot-Watt University and is a two-year fixed position.