Product Development KTP Associate

4 days left

Location
Inverness, Highland
Salary
£32,000 per annum
Posted
01 Jun 2022
Closes
10 Jul 2022
Ref
UHI/1193
Job Level
Technician
Job Function
Academic Support
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Hours
Full Time

35 hours per week (1 FTE)

Fixed Term contract for 16 months

UHI Inverness is one of the largest partners of the University of the Highlands and Islands, a partnership of 13 colleges and research institutions comprising Scotland’s newest university. UHI has a strong track record in excellent, impactful Environmental Research as demonstrated by the results of REF2021 where 80% of our outputs and 100% of our impact case studies submitted to the Environment and Earth Science panel were rated as internationally excellent or world leading. Research at UHI Inverness focuses on ecological and evolutionary research across freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems which addresses the biodiversity and climate emergencies.

As the UK’s leading tertiary education provider, we also deliver both further education and higher education courses and that makes us different from traditional institutions. Through an innovative approach to learning and some of the best online learning technologies, we offer our students the complete learner journey, where they have choice and flexibility to study from access level right through to PhD.

UHI Inverness is at the heart of the community. Working closely with businesses and stakeholders, our curriculum and research capacity is designed to meet the ever-evolving needs of industry and support the strengths and ambitions of the region. UHI Inverness has locations at Inverness Campus and also the Scottish School of Forestry (Balloch), a growing hub for research, innovation and enterprise set within a 215 acre site. 

Background to the KTP project

National Trust Scotland (NTS) own and manage significant areas of woodland, many of which have conservation designations and are key natural heritage assets. This conservation charity is at the forefront of upland woodland conservation in Scotland and Mar Lodge Estate is a flagship site for the conservation and expansion of the native pinewoods. However, the condition of many of the NTS owned woodland is poor; heavy browsing pressure from herbivores, particularly deer & mountain hares, curtails their expansion. The current, accepted methods of protecting trees in the forestry and conservation sectors (including NTS properties) is by active removal of herbivores (culling) or through the use of physical barriers. Deer fencing or tree guards are the most common methods used to protect young trees from herbivores but these methods have a high landscape impact, are expensive to erect and maintain, can be ineffective in winter and have a high carbon footprint. The NTS is changing the way it works to reduce its carbon footprint. The novel herbivore deterrent built during the KTP will provide a more carbon-friendly mechanism for tree protection, facilitating improvement of the condition of the woodlands at the Mar Lodge Estate, across other NTS properties and beyond. Many NTS properties are in remote areas of wild land often designated for their high scenic value. Deploying a landscape-friendly method of tree protection for ecosystem management will preserve the NTS’s reputation as a provider of high-quality destinations for nature-based tourism. As well as reducing the costs of protecting newly planted woodlands from animal damage, the deterrent also has potential to be deployed in forestry and conservation sectors in Scotland, the wider UK & beyond. The KTP Associate will therefore also explore opportunities in other sectors, such as agriculture and road safety.

The product

The continued design of the deterrent must meet the following requirements:

  • Cheaper, yet as effective as current exclusion methods
  • Robust, requiring minimal maintenance and infrequent site visits
  • Low carbon footprint for manufacture, installation & maintenance
  • Low energy usage, or self-powered
  • Reliable in harsh environments, including high winds & low temperatures
  • Ethically acceptable, especially for local communities
  • Mobile, for re-siting in other areas
  • Minimal impact on the landscape and other wildlife

Historically there have been investigations into motion triggered sound, light & other stimuli to deter herbivores and these have resulted in the development of some deterrent products which are on the market today (e.g., garden deterrents, gas guns). The efficacy of these is variable and many of them fall short due to natural habituation behaviour of animals to repeated, often predictable, single stimuli. No successful deterrent has yet been developed to protect planted or naturally regenerating trees in rural or remote upland situations where additional complexities apply, such as power generation and extreme weather conditions. Technology moves quickly and solutions are now available which allow a small unit to produce an array of stimuli in an unpredictable or triggered manner. There are also opportunities for innovative power solutions utilising renewable energy and incorporating components allowing the unit to send information back to base. This innovative product will be designed to have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than the conventional methods of tree protection.

The KTP Associate will thus require engineering skills to modify, develop and pilot the current deterrent solution, including the use of electronic components, such as sensors, lamps & audio transducers. The Associate, with support from UHI Inverness, will also lead commercialisation of the final product and will carry out a market analysis piece.

The KTP Associate will be given support and mentoring they need throughout the project from the KTP programme, NTS staff and their supervisory academic team. They will also have their own budget for training and CPD to help develop their current skillset to successfully deliver the project.

Application closing date: 10 July 2022

Shortlisting date: 12 July 2022

Interviews will be held on 21 July 2022

UHI Inverness Recruitment Team contact details: 01463 273210 or Recruitment.ic@uhi.ac.uk

For further information about the role including job description and application form please visit the vacancies section of our website via the apply link.