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North Sea research initiative INSITE announces Professor Dickon Howell as Programme Director

25th January 2022

North Sea focused research initiative, INSITE, has announced the appointment of Professor Dickon Howell as its new Programme Director.

Prof Howell, an experienced marine scientist who is a respected leader in the field, takes over from Richard Heard who will continue as an adviser to the organisation.

The new director will bring his considerable expertise and global experience of leading the blue economy, marine policy, governance, stakeholder relations and regulation to INSITE, leading its funding programmes, outreach and research development.

Speaking about his appointment, Prof Howell said: “I am grateful to the work Richard Heard has done in leading INSITE in funding significant research into the impact of manmade structures on the marine environment. As more offshore renewable projects gain approval in our northern waters, the research that INSITE champions will undoubtedly be a valuable resource when creating policies that understand the complex interaction between the marine environment and our impact upon it.”

 “INSITE will continue with this vital work and we have further plans to release collective research, outcomes and drive the debate further within the decision making process.”

Dickon Howell is Professor of Practice at Newcastle University School of Natural and Environmental Science as well as director and founder of Howell Marine Consulting. He is an expert in policy development with a track record of bringing together regulators, scientists and politicians to find solutions on sustainability within the marine environment and has advised governments on biodiversity conservation and many other issues affecting offshore activity.  

The INSITE Programme (INfluence of Structures in the Ecosystem) is a joint industry study on the impact of man-made structures in the North Sea.  INSITE aims to facilitate and inspire research into the role of these structures in the marine ecosystem by providing funding and building the interface between scientists and industry.

INSITE draws funding from various sources – including its principal partner UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – to provide grants to academics across the UK and Europe to carry out specific research. The resulting findings become part of an ongoing resource, which is available via scientific literature to industry, academia, government and other relevant policy bodies to inform current and future decisions about activity in the North Sea and around the globe.