Face The Facts series launched in the run-up to COP26

Face The Facts

Meet some of Scotland’s leading climate researchers talking about their work in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26.

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties COP26 in Glasgow on 1–12 November 2021. The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scottish Science Advisory Council and Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society are collaborating for Face The Facts to help highlight Scottish research and science and its contribution to understanding and tackling climate change. A broad range of researchers and practitioners in Scotland whose work relates to the Earth’s climate are being interviewed in the lead up to COP26.

Meet the experts:

Professor Marian Scott OBE FRSE Dr Sandro Carnicelli
Dr Leslie Mabon Dr Hermione Cockburn OBE FRSE
Professor Lorna Dawson FRSE Dr Daniel Barreto
Dr Roxane Andersen Dr Thomas Farrugia
Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer FRSE Professor Pete Smith FRSE
Dr Kirsten Jenkins Professor Sandy Tudhope
Professor Elise Cartmell FRSE Dr Ehsan Jorat
Professor Gabi Hegerl FRSE Dr Heidi Burdett
Professor Andy Kerr Dr Rebecca Wade
Professor Wayne Powell FRSE Professor Louise Horsfall

View the video series on the RSE YouTube

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Scotland’s climate change science and COP26

Face The Facts

Professor Marian Scott OBE FRSE

Marian Scott is Professor of Environmental Statistics in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Glasgow; an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), a chartered statistician of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and a member of the SSAC.


Dr Sandro Carnicelli

Dr Sandro Carnicelli is the Marketing, Events and Tourism Unit Leader at the University of the West of Scotland, UK and is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland.

Read his ‘Degrowing Tourism’ paper.

Dr Leslie Mabon

Dr Leslie Mabon is a Senior Lecturer in Social Science at the Scottish Association for Marine ScienceUniversity of the Highlands and Islands. He is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland, and a Future Earth Coasts Fellow.

Dr Hermione Cockburn OBE FRSE

Dr Hermione Cockburn OBE FRSE FRSGS is Scientific Director at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh’s science centre dedicated to environmental science. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Professor Lorna Dawson FRSE

Professor Lorna Dawson is Head of the Soil Forensics Group within the Environmental and Biochemical Sciences group at the James Hutton Institute and honorary professor in Forensic Science at Robert Gordon University, and is SEFARI Advisor on the Scottish Government’s (RESAS) strategic research programme 2016-2021.

Dr Daniel Barreto

Dr Daniel Barreto is a Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at Edinburgh Napier University. He is also the Head of the Research Centre for Civil Engineering and a member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland. He completed his first degree in Civil Engineering at Universidad de los Andes (Colombia) in 2003.

Dr Roxane Andersen

Dr Roxane Andersen is a Senior Research Fellow leading peatland research at the University of the Highlands and Islands from the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, Scotland. As a member of Scotland’s National Peatland Group, Dr Andersen also supports the implementation of Scotland’s National Peatland Plan and its ambition to restore and protect peatlands for future generations.


Dr Thomas Farrugia

Dr Thomas Farrugia is Founder and CEO of Beta Bugs Limited, the insect genetics company, which he established in 2017. The company, headquartered at Easter Bush Campus, develops and distributes high-performance breeds of Black Soldier Fly for the insects-as-feed industry.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer FRSE

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer FRSE, FIChemE, FRSC, FRSA, FEI is Associate Principal (Global Sustainability) and Director of the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) at Heriot-Watt University. Mercedes is leading the development of the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) to accelerate the decarbonisation of industrial clusters.

Professor Pete Smith FRSE

Pete Smith is Professor of Soils and Global Change at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK) and Science Director of the Scottish Climate Change Centre of Expertise (ClimateXChange). His interests include climate change mitigation, soils, agriculture, food systems, ecosystem services and modelling.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Scientists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, a Fellow of the European Science Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London).

Dr Kirsten Jenkins

Dr Kirsten Jenkins is an early career Lecturer in Energy, Environment and Society within the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) group of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

She is Programme Director for the cross-college Energy, Society and Sustainability MSc programme, which is run in partnership with the School of Geosciences. She serves as Managing Editor for the journal Energy Research & Social Science and associate fellow of the Durham Energy Institute at the University of Durham.

Professor Sandy Tudhope FRSE

Sandy Tudhope is Professor of Climate Studies and the University of Edinburgh’s Lead on Climate Responsibility and Sustainability. He is also Co-Director of the Edinburgh Ocean Leaders Programme, a new initiative designed to support the leadership of exceptional early-mid-career ocean professionals working on solutions for the oceans.

Sandy’s research focuses on the nature and drivers of tropical climate variability and change and their impact on corals, coral reefs and coastal communities. The geographical foci of his research include the tropical Pacific from Papua New Guinea in the west to the Galapagos in the east; and Madagascar, Maldives and Thailand in the Indian Ocean. He was Head of School of GeoSciences for six years, was a member of University Court for three years, and is now a member of the University’s Executive. He is helping lead on the University’s engagement with COP26.

Professor Elise Cartmell FRSE

Elise Cartmell is the Chief Scientist at Scottish Water responsible for Research and Innovation, Management Systems and Scientific Services. Elise joined Scottish Water in April 2016 following a career in academia at Cranfield University where she was Professor of Water Technology and Director of Environmental Technology. Here she specialised in wastewater treatment with particular reference to trace contaminants, anaerobic processes and community sanitation. Prior to joining Cranfield in 2000, she was a research scientist at WRc plc. Elise is a chemist with a BSc (Hons) from The University of Edinburgh and a PhD from Imperial College, London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Dr Ehsan Jorat

Dr Ehsan Jorat is a senior lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at Abertay University and Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environmental and Society (SAGES) research and innovation committee member and co-lead for Carbon and Biogeochemical Cycles theme. As a geotechnical engineer with experience in both industry and academia, he focused his practice on introducing engineering solutions for environmental challenges. Ehsan has been leading research on incorporating inorganic carbon sequestration function into urban and agricultural soils as a mechanism for carbon sequestration.

Professor Gabi Hegerl FRSE

Gabi Hegerl is a professor of climate system science at the University of Edinburgh. She is a climate scientist who focuses on identifying the drivers and mechanisms of observed climate change.

Gabi has been strongly involved in scientific assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is a fellow of the Royal Society, the American Geophysical Union, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and received the Hans Sigrist Prize awarded by Bern University.

Dr Heidi Burdett

Heidi Burdett is an Associate Professor of marine biology in the Lyell Centre, Heriot-Watt University, with expertise in coastal ecosystem function and the impact of human interaction (including climate change).

Working with policymakers and charities, she uses this scientific understanding to improve conservation and management decisions to better protect these valuable ecosystems for future generations. She is also an Academic Lead for Public Engagement at Heriot-Watt, and a member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.


Professor Andy Kerr

Professor Andy Kerr, FEI, FRSA, FRGS leads EIT Climate-KIC – Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership – in the UK and Ireland.

Previously, Andy was the founding director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) – a leading low carbon innovation centre in Scotland – and co-directed ClimateXChange, which provided evidence and analysis to support Scottish Government policy development. Earlier in his career, Andy worked in business, developing renewable energy projects and trading carbon and green fuels in Europe and Asia. Andy is an Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh and has a PhD in climate change.

Dr Rebecca Wade

Dr Rebecca Wade is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at Abertay University in Dundee. Her research links blue/green infrastructure with society. She applies geoscience, engineering, and ecological knowledge to enhance the multiple benefits that can be gained for people and nature as we address climate change and biodiversity loss. She is Landscape theme co-leader at SAGES (the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environmental and Society).

Professor Wayne Powell FRSE

Professor Wayne Powell is Principal and Chief Executive of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). His personal research interests are at the interface of plant genetics, genome science, plant breeding and conservation of genetic resources with a strong emphasis on the delivery of ‘public good’ outcomes. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Professor Louise Horsfall

Louise Horsfall, Chair of Sustainable Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, is interested in applying synthetic biology to improve the sustainability of biological processes and products.

She is the elected co-chair of the Bioengineering and Bioprocessing Section of the European Federation of Biotechnology, a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland, the Science for Sustainability theme lead at the University of Edinburgh and was the recipient of the University’s 2015 Chancellor’s Rising Star Award. Louise was awarded a 5-year Fellowship in Engineering for Sustainability and Resilience by the EPSRC in 2017 and has been investigating the recycling and reuse of lithium ion batteries from electric vehicles with the Faraday Institution since 2018.”