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Last week, Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Champion and Director of the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), took part in a packed week of international collaborative events in Dubai at both Expo 2020 and Heriot-Watt University Dubai.
Professor Maroto-Valer joined Mr. Ivan McKee, the Scottish Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, plus several other well-respected industry leaders at two Scottish Development International’s “Race to Net Zero” discussion panels at Dubai Expo 2020. The first of these focused on the development of a successful Hydrogen Economy and the second on emerging Climate Technology.
Scottish Development International – “Race to Net Zero” Hydrogen Event – Expo 2020
Professor Maroto-Valer joined other leaders and innovators from Scotland to focus on the nation’s world-leading and collaborative approach to developing a successful hydrogen economy.
During the event, Minister Ivan McKee highlighted that “Scotland is accelerating the journey to net zero through widescale renewable energy solutions and (the Scottish Government sees) hydrogen as a key enabler.” Professor Maroto-Valer highlighted the urgency in supporting the co-creation of a strong hydrogen economy. She underlined IDRIC’s approach across the whole hydrogen value chain and that while production targets currently receive most attention, IDRIC is keen to emphasise the need for connecting hydrogen demand and ensuring timely supply that meets the need of end users.
Scottish Development International – “Race to Net Zero” Climate Tech – Expo 2020
During the Climate Technology panel discussion, participants heard about academic research, innovative business solutions and economic opportunities that are being employed to tackle the climate emergency and transition to a net zero wellbeing economy. The discussion identified that up to 50% of the reductions in emissions that are needed to achieve net zero are dependent on technologies which are immature, have not been deployed at scale or have not even been invented yet. IDRIC is at the forefront of this innovation and Professor Maroto-Valer identified that “The key to achieving net zero is a mission driven approach. IDRIC is key to accelerate the delivery of solutions through cross-fertilisation of ideas across sectors and Technology Readiness Levels.”
Heriot-Watt University, Dubai – Distinguished lecture and visit
In her capacity as Deputy Principal of Heriot-Watt University, Professor Maroto-Valer also accompanied Minister McKee on a visit to the University’s Dubai campus. During this visit, they discussed joint work towards accelerating the sustainability agenda in the UK and the UAE.
A highlight of Professor Maroto-Valer’s visit was the delivery of a “Distinguished Lecture” from the Heriot-Watt Dubai Campus on “The Road to Net Zero Post COP26: the Role of Collaborative Research and Innovation.”
Professor Maroto-Valer outlined key IDRIC projects and shared IDRIC’s key international role in collaborating with different sectors to co-create solutions towards their decarbonisation goals.
She highlighted that following the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), transitioning to net zero economy and society has been pushed to the forefront of global agendas. This movement is reshaping and disrupting all sectors, including education, research and innovation and universities have a significant role to play as they are uniquely placed to lead cross-sectoral innovative climate action initiative.