Energy, Technology, Behaviour, Culture and Regulation; The complex problems and transition engineering solutions for the future of local, sustainable

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Energy, Geosci, Infrast & Society


Project background
Picture an idyllic fishing village in the British Isles. City dwellers flock to these places for respite and to soak up the quaint historical scenery and great fresh seafood. COVID remote workers and Baby Boom Retirees are also taking up residences in rural areas. However, there are sustainability risks from the complex combination of technology advances, pressures on the marine environment, quotas and regulations, and the growing pressures on the communities themselves from becoming tourism and holiday home destinations. The purpose of our project is to build a Transition Engineering framework for regenerating local fishing communities and the marine resources they depend on. Our project aims to develop the mechanisms to shift from the unsustainable path which has developed over the past 100 years. The research question is "How do we use transition engineering to design interventions and local regulatory mechanisms that preserve traditional knowledge and shift to a sustainable marine and social management pathway? The early-stage objectives of the research are to utilise modern digital capability to create the tools of data exchange and information observation that will be essential for both engineering the transition of the unsustainable aspects of the current fishing regulations and fishing village economics. Once the new kinds of digital interfaces are established, the next objectives are to create serious games that stakeholders from all perspectives can participate in, to co-design sustainable development solutions. The key focus is on the interplay of traditional knowledge, regulations, resources including energy, and external economic factors like tourism.

Aims and objectives for the successful candidate's research
The aim of the research is to design and demonstrate tools and interventions at the local level that objectively build a pathway to a sustainable future for rural fishing communities.

Objective 1: Design, Construct and Demonstrate three key Data Exchanges; (1) Local Fish Landing and Practices; (2) Fishers & Boats Inventory and Energy Inputs; (3) Village Accommodation Inventory
Objective 2: Design, Construct and Demonstrate an Information Observatory for the complex interactions of factors
Objective 3: Design, Construct and Demonstrate a Serious Game with local ecosystem representatives in Stromness
Objective 4: Design, Prepare and Carry Out a Regulatory Sandbox for (1) Local Fish Landing and Practices; (2) Boats and Energies; (3) Village Accommodation and Property Managements
Objective 5: Describe Innovative Interventions in (1) Local Fishing Regulations and Practices; (2) Affordable Net Zero Fishing; (3) Local Village Accommodation Rules


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/W007215/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2028
2755141 Studentship NE/W007215/1 30/09/2022 30/05/2026 Meng Wu