Apr 29, 2015

University of Reading appoints CEO for new Institute for Environmental Analytics

The University of Reading has appointed Colin McKinnon as the inaugural CEO of its new £12m environmental science big data and analysis centre.

Estimated Article Reading Time: 3 min.

Founded in January 2015, the Institute for Environmental Analytics is a unique flagship centre led by the University of Reading and co-funded by its Partners and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The Institute is developing the technologies and skills to fill the innovation gap between academic excellence and commercial exploitation in the field of environmental science. This will enable cutting-edge environmental research to be translated into services that can help businesses adapt to environmental pressures, including the extreme events and severe weather conditions we have seen in the UK in recent years.

Speaking of his new role, McKinnon said: “I’m excited to be joining the Institute for Environmental Analytics at its inception. With untapped data growing at a faster rate than ever, there is huge potential for UK plc to lead the environmental informatics field, driving innovation and economic growth for the UK.

“My vision is for the Institute to be central to this – engaging with industry in application-led, near market research and development; spinning off new businesses; training the next generation of environmental science entrepreneurs; and providing government with data-driven knowledge to support decision-making in environmental policy fields.

“Leveraging the expertise of the University of Reading and a range of world-class industrial and research partners, the Institute is perfectly placed to take forward this opportunity over the coming years. I look forward to working with our partners to turn this exciting vision into a reality.”

McKinnon joins the Institute for Environmental Analytics from Enscite, a technology and innovation consultancy which he grew from scratch as its first Managing Director. Prior to that, he worked for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) where he was a Board Director responsible for innovation and communications. He also spent several years as Innovation Director for Buro Happold, a highly respected international engineering consultancy.

McKinnon was founder and Commercial Director of a start-up in the mobile data market in the early 2000s and has helped establish and secure investment in several technology-based small to medium-sized enterprises arising from university research and development. He is a strong advocate of innovation and is passionate about helping companies grow through leveraging advanced research and technology.

Steve Mithen, Deputy-Vice Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Colin as the Institute’s new CEO. Colin brings invaluable experience of growing new ventures and championing collaboration between industry and academia. He is a proven leader with the skills and business vision to take the Institute forward.

“Climate and environmental change already has an impact on every aspect of business and society and we are in an unprecedented time of opportunity for UK businesses in this space. The Institute will act as a conduit between organisations spanning the whole environmental analytics community, pulling together expertise to create value and growth for the UK. It will focus on developing the tools, techniques and people to make the UK a world leader in using environmental big data for commercial applications.”

Derek Greer, Chief Operating Officer at Telespazio VEGA UK Ltd said: “Representing the industrial and commercial partners of the Institute, I am very pleased to have Colin confirmed as the new CEO. I am looking forward to enabling both Colin and the Institute to succeed, and to benefiting directly from the energetic and focussed leadership which he will provide to many joint initiatives with all the partners.”

More information about the Institute for Environmental Analytics can be found here

Current partners of the Institute for Environmental Analytics include: the University of Reading (lead partner), Lighthill Risk Network, The Met Office, Microsoft UK and Microsoft Research, the National Centre for Earth Observation, the University of Oxford, Sainsbury’s, the Satellite Applications Catapult, Science and Technologies Facilities Council, the University of Surrey, and Telespazio Vega.

Carolann Grandison
Assistant Press Officer, University of Reading
Direct: +44 (0) 118 378 5762
General enquiries: +44 (0) 118 378 5757 (24 hours) & pressoffice@reading.ac.uk
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