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Stirling's Institute of Aquaculture appoints new chief

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
23 November 2021, at 12:20pm

Simon MacKenzie, a long-serving University of Stirling professor, has been appointed head of its world-leading Institute of Aquaculture.

Prof Simon MacKenzie will help to oversee the creation of a new £17 million aquaculture hub at Stirling
Prof Simon MacKenzie will help to oversee the creation of a new £17 million aquaculture hub at Stirling

© Jeff Holmes

An evolutionary biologist and immunologist, who has worked at the Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) since 2013, Professor MacKenzie will take over from Professor Selina Stead on January 1.

Professor Alistair Jump, dean of the faculty of natural sciences, said: “We are grateful to Professor Stead for her dedication and vision in leading the IoA over the last three years. The period of her leadership has seen rapid changes in the external environment across policy and practice and the very significant challenges of leading the Institute during the pandemic. Selina leaves the Institute efficient and well-positioned to meet the demands of the future. We wish Selina the very best of success in her new role at the University of Leeds.

“We are excited to welcome Professor Simon MacKenzie as the new head of the Institute of Aquaculture. Simon brings a wealth of research knowledge and considerable experience of leading successful academic-industry collaborations to improve animal health and welfare in the sector. He joins us at a tremendously exciting time, and we look forward to working with him as he leads significant new initiatives that will underpin the next phase of development of the Institute.”

£17 million to spend

Professor MacKenzie was born and bred in Stirling, but spent 12 years as professor of biology in Barcelona, specialising in human and animal immunology, before returning to Scotland. During his time at the IoA, he has been director of research, focusing on molecular biology and the genomics of aquatic animals.

Professor MacKenzie said: “I’m excited by the next phase for the Institute of Aquaculture, as we realise the potential of the City Deal funding, awarded in February 2020, and build a new aquaculture hub.

“We are already world-leading in our research and teaching, and the City Deal* will enable us to create and sustain an innovation community that is rooted in the region, providing education and skills development for the blue food economy of the future, with global reach and impact.

“The IoA has an extraordinary network across the sector and huge potential to support sustainable, resilient and secure aquatic food systems that enable health and prosperity for people and for the planet.”

*As part of the deal, the UK Government is investing £17m in the Institute of Aquaculture to create the National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub (NATIH), reinforcing the Institute’s position at the forefront of global aquaculture research and innovation.