Top scientists join SAIC board

Dr Hans Bjelland of Sintef is one of five new expert members appointed to SAIC's scientific panel

THE Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has appointed five industry experts to its board, to provide objective scientific advice on future projects.

The five new members of the Independent Scientific Panel are Dr Lydia Brown MBE, Dr Hans Bjelland, Dr Heather Moore, Dr Clive Talbot and Dr Hamish Rodger.

The panel is made up of nine members, who bring together extensive knowledge of aquaculture research from around the world.

The team, chaired by Professor Julie Fitzpatrick of the Moredun Research Institute, guides SAIC’s work by reviewing project proposals and reports, supporting research partnerships and providing scientific support and guidance.

Lydia Brown is a pharmacology specialist involved with drug development for aquatic species. As part of her academic career, she developed the EU’s first licensed viral vaccine for salmon.

Her work has been widely published and, in 2010, she was awarded an MBE for services to the veterinary profession.

Since 2008, Hans Bjelland has worked at Sintef, the leading Norwegian research organisation, based in Trondheim. He set up and runs the Exposed aquaculture operations centre for research based innovation.

The main objective of Exposed, according to the Sintef website, is to develop knowledge and technologies for exposed aquaculture operations, enabling a sustainable expansion of the industry.

Dr Hamish Rodger of the Fish Vet Group

Heather Moore is a senior scientific officer for the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), an organisation that carries out high technology R&D, statutory, analytical and diagnostic testing and consultancy work for government and commercial companies globally.

She also provides scientific advice to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), part of the devolved Northern Ireland Executive.

In her role with the European Commission’s Expert Group for Integrated Coastal Zone Management, she is responsible for shellfish aquaculture management.

Clive Talbot is an experienced industry consultant who has previously worked with Mowi. He has built an international reputation for aquaculture research services, with authority on fish biology and fish farming operations.

Hamish Rodger is a founding member of the Fish Vet Group and an aquatic animal veterinarian with more than 30 years’ experience researching industry challenges such as gill disease, sea lice control and the effects of climate change. He also launched the European College of Aquatic Animal Health in 2016.

Commenting on the new appointments, Professor Fitzpatrick, said: ‘We’re proud to build a network that has the potential to boost growth and development, helping the Scottish aquaculture industry to thrive.

‘SAIC plays an important role in supporting innovation across the sector and our talented panel is well placed to support the collaborative projects aimed at tackling some of the industry’s main challenges.’

David Gregory, chairman of SAIC, added: ‘We are working hard to ensure the sustainable growth across the aquaculture sector – including one of Scotland’s most important food exports.

‘With industry renowned experts from a wide range of backgrounds strengthening our scientific panel, SAIC has access to the skills and knowledge to support growth in the sector.

‘We’re continuing to harness the benefits of collaboration, encouraging producers and academia to work together on projects which have the potential to influence big changes in the sector – with valuable input from our scientific panel.’