Climate change research grant for Stirling’s Falconer

© FALCONFOTOS
Dr Lynne Falconer

University of Stirling researcher Dr Lynne Falconer has been awarded a £1.5m grant for a project that aims to help the aquaculture industry use data to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Dr Falconer, of the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling, has been awarded a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship award for her proposal to use data from salmon farms located on the coasts of Scotland and Norway to develop tools for better decision-making, as the industry faces up to the effects of global warming.

Together with her research team, she will use a combination of fieldwork, data analysis, and predictive modelling to develop a framework of tools for industry to develop future responses to short and long-term changes.

Dr Falconer said “The fellowship provides an outstanding opportunity to establish my own research team and lead an ambitious programme of research that will have real-world impact.

“Marine aquaculture is an important contributor to the global food system. But climate change is a threat, as fish production is highly influenced by the farm environment. Even small changes in the farming conditions can affect fish growth, health, and welfare.

“Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reiterated that the world is undergoing unprecedented rates of change, so there is an urgent need to understand what climate change means for marine aquaculture, as fish and seafood is a hugely important part of being able to feed a growing global population.”

Dr Falconer is one of 97 Fellows awarded in the current round of the Future Leaders Fellowships scheme, worth a total of £96m, with £13m allocated in Scotland. Each fellowship will last four to seven years. Awardees will each receive between £400,000 and £1.5 million over an initial four years.

The scheme helps universities and businesses in the UK recruit, develop and retain the world’s best researchers and innovators.