DEEP project
Dr Bill Sanderson retrieves oysters from the Dornoch Firth as part of Glenmorangie's DEEP project

A project from Heriot-Watt University has won the Business Collaboration category at the prestigious Guardian University Awards 2019.

The Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP), a ground-breaking collaboration between industry, academia and charity, is restoring native European oysters to the protected area of the Dornoch Firth after more than a century’s absence. DEEP will recreate entire reefs, a concept that has never before been accomplished in Europe. 

DEEP, a collaboration between Heriot-Watt University’s Centre of Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology, whisky distiller The Glenmorangie Company and the Marine Conservation Society, has created a model with global potential which will help inspire other marine species to be reintroduced in areas where they have become extinct. The project is achieving global traction as the boundaries of marine conservation are pushed further.

Commenting on the award, Dr Bill Sanderson of Heriot-Watt University, said: "It's been amazing working with such dynamic partners on the DEEP project as well as for a university that can make this kind of partnership happen. I'm delighted we’ve won this award.

‘’Glenmorangie has a business cycle that is decadal, so they bring such a refreshingly long-term vision of sustainability and stewardship into the mix whilst the Marine Conservation Society have unrivalled traction, pushing for a better alternative future for our marine environment.’’

Hamish Torrie, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, The Glenmorangie Company, said: "This award is testament to the results that can be achieved through partnership collaboration. Meticulous, researched base science is the backbone of this project and, working closely with our partners Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society, we look forward to continuing to share the results of DEEP with global audiences.’’

Over the last 18 months, over 50,000 members of the public of all ages have been directly engaged in DEEP, ranging from visits with the dedicated project officer at Glenmorangie Distillery to attending Heriot-Watt open days which have showcased the project.  

Heriot-Watt is also celebrating a Runner Up award in the Research Impact category at the awards for The Smart Control of Rural Renewable Energy and Storage (SCORRES) project.

Professor Eddie Owens from Heriot-Watt’s School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) leads the SCORRES project, which is funded by Innovate UK. The project tackles the impact of agriculture on freshwater supply in India: 54 percent of the country faces extreme water stress, and farmers are increasingly indebted due to the volatility of crop yields and prices.

The SCORRES project demonstrates how Heriot-Watt delivers international research and collaborations that find solutions at the core of global sustainability goals.