It’s been a while since my last blog post, but I will put that down to the existential crisis brought about by attending the most recent IDCORE Summer School at the end of July/start of August. This Summer School (I promise they are slightly more serious than the name suggests) was once more based at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), located just outside Oban. The training course, entitled “Marine Renewables and Society” and excellently provided by Dr Jasper Kenter and his colleagues at SAMS, kept us busy for two weeks and most certainly got the cohort thinking about aspects I can safely say have not been at the forefront of our thoughts so far in the IDCORE journey.
It took a small while to get us going; the very first session attempting to get a group of engineers and scientists talking about their opinions and feelings would most accurately be described by the phrase “pulling teeth”. The conversation soon started flowing however; a massive schism in the typically unified cohort opinion was created by the posing of a well-known and deceptively simple sounding question (“If a tree falls in a forest… “). It is safe to say that most of the cohort were totally inspired by the end of the two weeks when the conversation at the course dinner to celebrate the end of the module quickly turned to trivial topics such as the meaning of life and existence of God.
Away from the more philosophical elements of the course, the summer school helped to broaden our understanding of the competing interests associated with marine real-estate, and how they impact site selection, progress and compromises enforced on marine renewable energy developments.
A couple of course highlights spring to mind whilst writing this blog. Learning to create and conduct a survey on the unsuspecting residents of Oban was particularly interesting. It was great to see that the public opinion on potential marine renewable energy developments was overwhelmingly positive. Another high point was the excellent trip to the Albatern wave energy test site where our class rep and Albatern/IDCORE Research Engineer Calum Kenny had organised an excellent day out on the water, seeing the “squids” in action and even helping out with a few minor maintenance operations. Thanks a million Calum and Mooch for a brilliant weekend!