An artist's impression of the ESI building.

Environment and Sustainability Institute brings new jobs to Cornwall

The University of Exeter is looking to take on 23 new academic staff in Cornwall as part of recruitment for the £30 million Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI).

With construction work on the state-of-the-art building at the heart of the project due to begin in April, the search has begun for the personnel who will drive its world class research programme.

This includes looking to appoint the six academic leads who will play a key part in guiding the work across the centre’s three themes of clean technologies, natural environment, and social science and sustainability.

The recruitment drive follows the appointment late last year of award winning ecologist Professor Kevin Gaston as Director of the institute. He is expected to begin his new role in May.

He will head the ESI, which is a University of Exeter project to create a world class research centre at its Cornwall Campus near Falmouth. The investment includes almost £23 million from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence Programme and £6.6 million from the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), as well as significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which includes additional student numbers.

Professor Mark Overton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter, said: “This is the next step in this very exciting project. We’re looking to recruit some of the best and brightest minds in their fields to work in Cornwall carrying out research which will put the region at the forefront of adapting to the challenges of environmental and climate change.

“The research they carry out will not only have an impact on the way we live and understand the environment, but will also engage local businesses to help drive a resilient, innovative and forward-facing economy in Cornwall.”

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said, “This recruitment and start of construction on the ESI mark exciting times for Cornwall. This institute will help to underline Cornwall’s growing reputation as a world class research centre and to encourage and strengthen links with our home grown, ambitious businesses and the global markets.”

A number of professional staff have already been appointed as part of the ESI project. Several of these are working on setting up links with companies across Cornwall to help local businesses harness ESI research and expertise for business innovation.

This will be a key part of the Institute’s work, as it aims to engage with hundreds of businesses over the next five years.

The ESI’s work links to existing academic strengths of the University of Exeter and its research is expected to involve collaboration with other research centres in the region, as well as nationally and internationally.

Preparation works for building the Institute are currently under way with construction expected to start in April and complete in September 2012. The building is designed to be energy and water efficient and is expected to meet the requirements for a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating – the highest classification for environmental assessment of a building.

Many of the positions being recruited are already advertised and more will follow in the coming weeks. All vacancies at the University can be viewed from our Working here site.

More information about the Environment and Sustainable Institute, including how it is engaging with businesses, can be found on the ESI site.

Date: 7 March 2011

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