Scotland Hydro Nation Chair

Bringing Scotland’s water sector together to drive us to net zero and beyond.

The Scotland Hydro Nation Chair, hosted by the University of Stirling, is leading the collaboration needed to deliver sustainable water management in Scotland.

We are already experiencing the effects of climate change through water. Even in Scotland, drought is becoming more frequent, as are periods of intense rainfall, leading to flooding.

Hydro Nation logo

Yet, water also holds the solutions we need to help us adapt to climate change. How we manage water can bolster our resilience to extreme events, restore biodiversity and increase our carbon storage – speeding up our journey to net zero.

We are working across the Scottish water sector and its supply chain to eliminate emissions from infrastructure development and waste water processing, promote our natural environment and manage our processes better, allowing us to recover resource including energy to contribute to a greener, more circular economy.

Hydro Nation: the race for net zero

Professor Andrew Tyler, Scotland's Hydro Nation Chair at the University of Stirling, talks about the net zero mission for Scotland's water sector.

Aerial shot of River Forth and Stirling

A fluid partnership

The new initiative – a partnership involving Scottish Water and the Scottish Funding Council – will act as a catalyst for academic research and innovation specifically to support the Scottish water sector in delivering and going beyond net zero whilst delivering service excellence and offering great value and financial sustainability.

We need to work together

Our vision is of Scotland as a unified Hydro Nation:

  • enabling a just transition to a zero carbon society
  • exploiting the digital revolution to support water management, cut emissions and improve health and wellbeing
  • catalysing new business, research and innovation opportunities in the circular economy

Our research and innovation fellows

Our Hydro Nation team of four research leader fellows, from engineering, digital technologies, biotechnology and social sciences, will bring together a truly interdisciplinary research agenda. They will be working across four areas:

  • eliminating emissions from infrastructure
  • driving down process emissions and recovering value
  • enhancing the natural environment
  • embracing the circular economy

Two innovation fellows will ensure research feeds into industry, and businesses can access technology and expertise to create green infrastructure and jobs. They will work on technology including data and digital innovation, and place-based innovation.

Read our call for two research leader fellows to support the Hydro Nation Research and Innovation Programme.

University of Stirling and water research

The University of Stirling is hosting the Hydro Nation Chair in Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC). The SIEC focuses our world leading capability to lead regional and sectoral environmental research and innovation at scale, so that the protection of our natural resources enables inclusive growth and supports the just transition to a net zero carbon economy.

We are leading experts in water related research. Over the past five years 49 researchers across Biological and Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Aquaculture have secured over £24 million in water related research. We received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize 2019 for Environment and Conservation, for our work in sustainable food production through aquaculture.

Forth ERA

At the University of Stirling, as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, we are working with Scottish Water, SEPA, BT and other partners to transform the Forth Valley into a living laboratory. We are combining sensors, satellites, artificial intelligence and 5G to provide a living laboratory that not only enables us to monitor and understand water quality and quantity and model the effects and benefits of interventions, such as the promotion of natural to capital to improve water quality, mitigate extreme events, capture carbon and promote biodiversity. Using the Forth Environmental Resilience Array (Forth ERA) we can provide the data and knowledge to transform behaviours and practice and promote the green recovery.

Hydro Nation Crucible and Events

Thought leadership is at the heart of the Hydro Nation Chair initiative – bringing together the world leading research and innovation capability across Scotland to deliver a mission orientated approach. Hydro Nation Crucible will bring together representatives from business, industry, media, policy and the public sector together with the academic community. The Research Leader Fellows along with institutional leads will work together on innovative projects that build interdisciplinary and inter-organisational relationships addressing some of the key water related challenges at home and overseas. The Crucible will also deliver training and capacity building opportunities.  Seedcorn funding will also be available to support proof of concept and the development of new initiatives. Future event details will be announced soon.

Seedcorn Projects

The Chair and the Research Leader Fellows would have £0.7 million available in the first instance to support the development of pump priming/seedcorn research projects, over the first three years of the programme. This funding will position the Chair, Fellows and Scottish research and innovation community to leverage ambitious large externally funded research projects of both scale and ambition. The funding would enable preparatory networks and engagement of different stakeholders to work together. Opportunities for seedcorn funding will be linked to the Hydro Nation Crucible Events.

Who we're working with

Scottish and UK industry

We will work with business to help them get to net zero and beyond by providing access to our advanced technology and expertise. This will help build new, clean infrastructure and create jobs.  

Scotland’s International Environment Centre and the National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub will support business to develop the clean, sustainable technologies, products and services that are required to transform business.

Research community

We will bring stakeholders, partners and researchers together to collaborate and co-develop solutions.  

Our Scottish and UK focus, combined with our international focus, will support industry partnerships and develop commercial ideas.  This will be supported by a Catalyst Fund to pump-prime large scale, collaborative funding bids.  

We will build on existing overseas partnerships, such as the pan-European Research Infrastructure on River-Sea systems, and internationalisation initiatives from universities and NGOs, to enhance Scotland’s reputation as a leading Hydro Nation. 


We are feeling the effects of climate change through water, in flood and drought, but water offers us solutions too. Water is everybody’s business, and business as usual is not an option.  

The priority of a Hydro Nation in the 21st Century is to get us closer to net zero at pace and build a green economy. We need to build new, clean infrastructures that attract green investment and create high quality jobs. 

The Hydro Nation will continue to ensure safe drinking water for Scotland.

Regulatory agencies

We can provide real-time monitoring of the impact of interventions such as peatland restoration and tree planting on water quality and carbon storage. 

Government and policy makers

We will provide evidence to support government policy around carbon emission and storage, biodiversity and natural capital.  

Related news

Loch Leven

Stirling professor appointed Scotland Hydro Nation Chair

University of Stirling professor Andrew Tyler has been appointed as Scotland Hydro Nation Chair – which will see him lead a £3.5 million initiative to position the country as a global leader in water research.

Image of the campus with the Wallace Monument in the background

University of Stirling to host Scotland’s Hydro Nation Chair

Scottish Water and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) have announced a unique partnership with the University of Stirling to deliver the newly created post of the Scotland Hydro Nation Chair. Funded by Scottish Water, the initiative will be a catalyst for academic research and innovation.

Contact us

For further information on the Scotland Hydro Nation Chair, please get in touch.