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This Year’s Finalists: University of Strathclyde

In the run-up to the GO Awards Scotland, taking place on 29th October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, we’ll be profiling some of our finalists to celebrate the diversity and strength of the entries to this year’s Awards.

Here, we hear from Fiona Hughes, Head of Procurement at the University of Strathclyde, about their entry for the Best Environmental Impact category, detailing the Combined Heating & Power (CHP) project and its socio-economic impact.

  • Can you summarise the aims and scope of the project and how it took shape?

The project was developed to enable the University to reduce its carbon emissions and to enable greater control of energy costs by self generating electricity. The project was also designed to act as a catalyst for a city-wide district heating network that responds to the need for climate action and to tackle fuel poverty.

  • What were some of the major challenges involved in the project, and how were these overcome?

There were many challenges with this project. However, the major procurement challenges were:

> The risk within the contract of embedding the infrastructure of the CHP system in and around our university campus. We ensured the terms and conditions were robust to manage this risk.
> The supply and management of the CHP was a very niche market and responses to our tender were limited. Thankfully the result has been successful, and we have a good contractor on site who has installed the CHP and will continue to provide support and maintenance.
> Not everyone believes that socio-economic impact and community benefits are a truly measurable and additional benefit to a procured contract and some will argue that there is additional cost to the organisation. By delivering and demonstrating this proof of concept in the success of the CHP, we have been able to gain stakeholder involvement to continue to include and request benefits as standard practice in our contracts (where appropriate).

  • What motivated you to enter this project for a GO Award – and why this category?

The university is an ambitious and innovative organisation. Investment in the CHP shows our determination to respond to climate change and manage the best use of our funds. Embedding our Socio-Economic and Community Benefits Strategy in this contract and all future appropriate contracts shows our commitment to deliver more for our students, the University and ultimately Scotland through this and future contracts.

It is anticipated that the ability to generate the Fraser of Allander Institute information highlighting the Gross Value Added for the city will allow the University to focus our procurement efforts not only on delivering value for money and compliant contracts, but also on improving our impact on the wider Scottish economy.

  • What would winning a GO Award mean to you?

Being awarded a GO Award is recognition that taking an ambitious and innovative approach is recognised and encouraged, thus rewarding the commitment of the team in delivering the best for our students and the University.