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SAIC strengthens scientific panel with five new appointments. The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has bolstered its Independent Scientific Panel (SISP) by recruiting five industry experts to join the board, which provides objective scientific opinion to inform the innovation centre’s projects.

Dr Lydia Brown MBE, Dr Hans Bjelland, Dr Heather Moore, Dr Clive Talbot and Dr Hamish Rodger join the panel, bringing a range of expertise from industry and academia. The SISP is made up of nine members, who bring together extensive knowledge of aquaculture research from around the world.

Pharmacology specialist, Dr Lydia Brown, is heavily involved with drug development for aquatic species and, as part of her academic career, 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, Dr Hans Bjelland has worked at SINTEF – one of Europe’s largest independent research organisations – headquartered in Trondheim, Norway. He currently specialises in innovation within aquaculture operations and has a wide-ranging industry network with seafood producers, technology providers and research partners.

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

Dr Clive Talbot is an experienced industry consultant who has previously worked with multi-national seafood producers, such as Mowi. He has built an international reputation for aquaculture research services, with authority on fish biology and fish farming operations.

A founding member of the Fish Vet Group, Dr Hamish Rodger is 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.

SISP guides SAIC’s work by reviewing project proposals and reports, supporting research partnerships and providing scientific support and guidance to the innovation centre.

Commenting on the new appointments, SISP chair, Professor Julie 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.”