Background

SETN was established in 2006 by the Contaminated Land Assessment & Remediation Research Centre (CLARRC) at the University of Edinburgh to support the emerging Environmental and Clean Technology (ECT) sector. In November 2010, SETN moved to the University of Strathclyde as a separate unit within the Faculty of Engineering and is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (and formerly the Scottish Government SEEKIT Programme).

One of the most important global challenges we face over the next few decades is how to move towards a ‘circular economy’, where waste is virtually eliminated and consumption and production are within environmental limits. The ECT sector has a fundamental role to play in addressing this challenge and is key in driving sustainable economic growth.

Scotland needs to ensure early mover advantage in the ECT sector to capitalise on its strengths in the same way as the renewable energy sector has done. Wider low carbon opportunities from the ECT sector have been recognised e.g. in water and wastewater treatment through policies and initiatives under the HydroNation banner. Circular economy and zero waste policies are also key driving forces for change and there is growing recognition of the significant economic, social and environmental benefits that resource efficiency can bring. Climate change adaptation and mitigation remain an overarching driver for a low carbon economy.

There are many complementary initiatives in Scotland and SETN aims to avoid duplication and work in partnership with these to maximise our impact to the economy.

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