Heriot-Watt University

Orkney might be on the fringes of Scotland geographically, but the islands are very much at the heart of an exciting energy future.

Renewable energy has become an important part of the local economy and Orkney has a worldwide reputation as a centre of excellence in energy innovation. There’s no better place to be part of this emerging industry.

That’s why Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) has made its home in Stromness since 1989.

Part of the University’s School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society, ICIT has been involved with research and teaching within the marine, oil and gas and fisheries sectors since its launch.

Courses at Heriot-Watt in Orkney

Over recent years the focus has very much been on renewables, with the specialist campus offering three postgraduate courses; International Marine Science, Marine Renewable Energy and Renewable Energy Development. There are also further research opportunities as part of the University’s ongoing environmental research programme, with increasing numbers of PhD students choosing to study at ICIT.

The campus

The campus – based at the new Orkney Research & Innovation Centre (ORIC) – is often described as ‘a living laboratory’. The natural resources in the islands and the burgeoning local marine energy industry provide the perfect learning environment. ICIT moved into its new home in 2019 and there is an impressively high standard of facilities for students to enjoy, not to mention beautiful views over Scapa Flow. There is state-of-the-art video-conferencing, a dedicated lecture room, laboratory, library and social space at ORIC.

Students have come from around the world to study here, with many going on to take up posts with renewable energy businesses based in Orkney. Stromness is a warm and welcoming community and students are quickly welcomed into the town’s population, often taking part in local events and attending festivals, concerts and exhibitions throughout their time here.

With a vibrant social scene and an incredible range of nature, wildlife and sports and leisure activities available, studying renewable and marine energy in the islands is an experience that will stay with you for many years to come.

Watch our video above and read our blog to discover what it's like to study at ICIT in Orkney.