Green tech expert appointed Chief Scientist



Professor O'Donovan
Professor Tadhg O’Donovan

A leading figure in Green Technology has been named the new Chief Scientist of Heriot-Watt University.

Professor Tadhg O’Donovan officially begins his new post today (Dec 1) for a fixed-term period of two years.

As part of his role, Professor O’Donovan is responsible for representing the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, acting as an ambassador for the University’s strategic aims. His remit focusses on his expertise in Green Technology and he will promote the University’s global research, translating it into practise and working with partners – both industrial and governmental – and key funding institutions from a wide range of areas such as green tech finance, charitable foundations, and potential campaign donors.

He said: “As Chief Scientist, I am honoured to champion our institution's groundbreaking research and strategic vision to address global challenges, particularly the urgent issue of climate change. Our University has a critical role to play, aided by our first-class research and shared desire to find innovative solutions. Together, we will shape a future where knowledge transforms into impactful action, ensuring Heriot-Watt remains at the forefront of pioneering initiatives.

“As we look to build on our legacy connections made at COP28, the urgency of this critical moment amplifies the importance of working collaboratively. Together, we can play a critical role in creating a more sustainable future for generations to come.”

Professor O’Donovan has been with the University since 2007 and is based at the Dubai campus where he will continue in his existing role as Deputy Vice Principal.

He has published more than 80 research papers and leads the Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering at Heriot-Watt’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and is the Honorary Education Secretary for Energy Institute – Middle East.

Welcoming Professor O’Donovan into his new role is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, Professor Richard A. Williams, who said: “The Chief Scientist role underscores the centrality of research and innovation at Heriot-Watt, permeating every facet of our endeavours. Tadhg's unparalleled expertise in Green Technology and his adeptness at fostering successful partnerships position him as an exceptional leader.

“I have full confidence that he is well-placed to propel our university to new heights, fortifying and magnifying our already distinguished reputation."

This appointment is an important University position aligned with Heriot-Watt University’s Ten Commitments to assure Thought Leadership in global sustainability and further enhance Heriot-Watt’s reputation and impact. It will also build on the University’s activities during COP28 in the UAE where a wide range of activity is being hosted at a Climate Hub until 12 December 2023.


Craig Philip

Job title
Communications officer