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The Just Transitions Hub

The Just Transition Hub (JTH) will be a world-class, state-of-the-art, net zero innovation hub and capacity building centre of excellence, located within the grounds of the James Hutton Institute (Hutton) campus in Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen. With funding from Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund, the Hub will place the North East and Moray at the heart of emerging net zero socio-technological innovations, nature-based solutions and green recovery by:

  • Becoming the ‘go-to’ place for the engagement tools, methods and facilitation of net zero solutions and innovation, bringing business and enterprise, communities, agencies, international scientists and private finance to the North East;
  • Building on the North East's reputation as early adopters and users of science and technology, scientific excellence, research capabilities and state of the art innovation facilities across a range of providers, the Hub will enable collaboration with and support of communities, industry, academia and government.  This ultimately strengthens the power of the innovation 'cluster' approach by ensuring engagement is inclusive and solutions are Just, further positioning the North East and Moray as leaders for long term, sustainable economic growth;
  • Deploying the North-East’s scientific resources, expertise, business and community links to develop and implement nature-based solutions to a range of regional issues, including community renewable energy development, agricultural transition, flood management, sustainable ground water access, carbon sequestration, biodiversity enhancement, and peatland restoration;
  • Providing new facilities and capacity in the North East and Moray to model, visualise, test  and implement  adaptation  options  to  climate  change  and  energy  transition, developing effective levers for enabling collaboration and progress towards energy transition and achieving net zero targets in the North East’s diverse landscapes and locales.   This will build on the Hutton’s expertise in interdisciplinary work, and in particular work which crosses computing, natural, and socio-economic disciplinary boundaries;
  • Applying Hutton’s expertise in working at the science – stakeholder – industry - policy interface to broker new relationships which support co-design, collaboration, evidence- based decision-making, and capacity building, developing a linked virtual and physical space for medium-sized scientific, institutional and business events;
  • Provide opportunities and space for both ‘spin in’ and ‘spin out’ companies, public and third sector organisations focused on supporting the region’s transition to net zero to locate to the North East, in line with Hutton’s Open Science Campus vision.

New facilities will include state-of-the-art data visualisation equipment, interactive visual and experiential environments, bespoke meeting spaces for facilitating hybrid in situ and on-line engagement, participatory methods with an Open Science café, located within attractive, established grounds in Aberdeen’s expanding west end designed to bring people together to co-construct novel solutions.

Consultation processes are ongoing. The feasibility study was completed in spring 2023, and we are currently undertaking detailed design and community consultation ahead of pursuing planning permission in autumn 2023.  Extensive remodelling of the existing building a small extension towards the arboretum are expected to begin in 2024. 


What is the Just Transition Fund?

The Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund was established to assist the North East of Scotland (Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray) transition towards net zero. The emphasis of the fund is on supporting the creation of ‘good, green jobs’. Hutton are a major provider of these jobs in the North East – much of our research addresses the environmental transitions that Scottish Government is promoting through the fund. Scottish Government has initially pledged £500 million over the next 10 years to the Just Transition Fund.

Hutton was also successful with a bid to support HydroGlen, a renewable (green) hydrogen powered farming community demonstrator project located at Glensaugh. HydroGlen demonstrates the feasibility of enabling farming and other rural communities to become self-reliant, low-carbon energy producers and exporters, generating 100%+ of their energy requirements (electricity, heating and transport) utilising a combination of renewable electricity, on-site hydrogen production, compression, and storage.

Current design of extension

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.