AN Inverness-based academic has been honoured for his achievements by the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Eric Verspoor, director of the Rivers and Lochs Institute at Inverness College UHI, has been awarded a personal chair (professorship) in recognition of his expertise in aquatic biodiversity conservation and management. Personal chairs are one of the highest professional accolades in academia.
Professor Verspoor has worked as a researcher and advisor in the field of aquatic biodiversity for over 35 years, including 22 years as a principal scientific officer to the Scottish government. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers, research reports and book chapters and was the lead editor of the book ‘Atlantic salmon: genetics, conservation and management’.
Since helping to found the Rivers and Lochs Institute in 2012, Professor Verspoor has overseen the development of its research programme, postgraduate teaching and academic collaborations. His own research is focused on expanding our understanding of biodiversity in Scottish rivers. This includes leading research initiatives such as the Inverness College UHI River Carron Restoration Project and, with national and international collaborators, securing a UK research council grant to develop molecular markers for discriminating farm and wild salmon. He also contributes to many other international research collaborations related to fish species such as Atlantic salmon and Arctic charr.
Speaking about his new title, Professor Verspoor said: “Being awarded this Chair is a great honour. The University of the Highlands and Islands provides a unique opportunity to pursue leading-edge pure and applied research and integrate this into undergraduate and postgraduate teaching to the benefit of the local Highlands and Islands and Islands communities. I look forward to meeting the challenge and responsibility of academic leadership that goes with the award.”
University of the Highlands and Islands principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Clive Mulholland, said: “The title of professor is reserved for individuals who are recognised as leaders in their field and have demonstrated excellence in their work. Professor Verspoor is a worthy recipient. His dedication to furthering our knowledge of aquatic biodiversity is evidenced by 35 years of outstanding international research as well as his skilled leadership of the Rivers and Loch Institute.”
Inverness College UHI principal, Diane Rawlinson, said: “I’m delighted that Eric has been awarded the title of Professor. He is a leading geneticist in aquatic biodiversity and the growing stature of our Rivers and Lochs Institute is testament to his outstanding leadership and commitment to creating a legacy for the continuation of aquatic biodiversity conservation and management.”
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