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Professor Keith Bell elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

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Professor Keith Bell, ScottishPower Professor of Smart Grids, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy.

Professor Bell is amongst 64 newly-elected 2020 Fellows comprising leading thinkers and experts from Scotland and around the world whose work has a significant impact on the nation.

Professor Bell said: “It’s a huge privilege to be elected as a Fellow of the RSE. I feel humbled to join a society of so many experts and grateful for the opportunities colleagues and collaborators at Strathclyde and elsewhere have given me to learn from them and build up my own knowledge.

“I look forward to using my background in energy system and climate issues to help the RSE in its goal of helping to addressing the global challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century.”

Societal contribution

The new intake joins the current roll of around 1,600, representing the full range of physical and life sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, education, professions, industry, business and public life. Those who are nominated, and then invited to join, have undergone rigorous assessment of their achievements, professional standing and societal contribution. 

Fellows, who give of their time freely, play a fundamental role in enabling the RSE to deliver its mission ‘Knowledge Made Useful’, contributing to the cultural, economic and social well-being of Scotland and the wider world.

Alongside the 54 fellows and eight corresponding fellows, honorary fellowships have also been awarded to actor, producer, singer, author and activist Alan Cumming OBE and historian Niall Ferguson.

Professor Dame Anne Glover, President of the RSE, said: “The diverse expertise and experience of our fellows, means that, as an organisation, we are well-placed to respond to the issues of the day with clear informed thinking, free from commercial or political influence.

“Our new fellows, who we look forward to welcoming, not only hold vast knowledge but also deep experience, keen judgement, boundless enthusiasm and a passion for promoting societal development and change.  By using their talents as a collective, we can often unlock or inspire new potential and unearth fresh solutions to some of the most complex issues Scotland’s society faces today.”

Professor Bell joined the University of Strathclyde in 2005 having previously studied in Bath and worked as a researcher in Bath, Manchester and Naples and as a system development engineer in the electricity supply industry in England.

He was appointed to the ScottishPower Chair in Smart Grids in late 2013 and became one of the co-Directors of the UK Energy Research Centre in 2014.

In July 2018, along with Ian Cotton, he became Scientific Director of the Electrical Infrastructure Research Hub established by the University of Strathclyde with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and the University of Manchester.

In April 2019, Professor Bell became a member of the Committee on Climate Change, the statutory body charged with advising the UK Government and devolved administrations on climate mitigation and adaptation.

Professor Bell said: “Decarbonisation of the energy system is absolutely essential if we are to meet our targets for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for the UK and 2045 in Scotland.

“The latest research from PhD students and researchers in my group is putting flesh on the bones of what that means for electrification of heat and transport and how we can keep the power system stable with lots of power from renewables.

There is much work still to be done and we are working closely with government, the regulator and industry to take the ideas from the lab into the field.

“It’s a challenging but also exciting time: if we can fully embrace the net-zero vision and unlock engineers’ creativity, we will see a future that is clean, healthy and fit for our children.”