Researchers at the University of the Highlands and Islands have found that the potential for remote and rural communities across Scotland's west coast to tap into community-owned renewable energy schemes may be greater than previously thought.

The findings come from the Bryden Centre run by the university and partners in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Its cross-border PhD programme was launched in 2018 to train the next generation of renewable energy researchers.

Sheena Stewart has been appointed as university secretary at the University of the Highlands and Islands and will provide strategic advice and guidance to the university court the university's governing body.

This key role also organises the work of the court and its associated committees and acts as a trusted advisor to court members around protocols and compliance with legal and statutory obligations.

Sheena, who has close family connections to the Isle of Skye, joins from Abertay University where she is currently university secretary, having held the post for almost ten years.

Alastair MacColl, chair of the university court, welcomed the experience Sheena brings to this appointment: "We are fortunate to be able to attract such an experienced secretary to this important governance advisory role at a critical time in our development as an institution.

"Sheena already knows our partnership well and currently serves as vice-chair of the Highlands and Islands Students' Association, the body which represents students from across our operating area. She joins as we move into a new chapter in our history having celebrated ten years of being a university in 2021. We've achieved a lot in the first ten years, but there is much more to come, and I welcome Sheena's counsel as we pursue our mission to serve our communities and our students."

Sheena has held roles as convenor of Universities Scotland Secretaries' Group; member of the Executive Committee of the UK Association of Heads of University Administration; non-executive director of Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges Ltd; and member of the AdvanceHE Governance Development Forum.

Talking about her appointment, Sheena Stewart added: "I am delighted to be joining the University of the Highlands and Islands and to be part of this phase of the university's development.  Having been part of the Highlands and Islands Students' Association trustee board for almost five years, the mission, diversity and excellence of the whole community is inspiring and I look forward to making a contribution to this."

Sheena will join the university's senior team on 28 March.

If you are still pondering the ‘new you’ for 2022, Lews Castle College may have the answer.

The college has a huge range of evening classes and courses up to post-grad level to help people from all backgrounds to upskill and sharpen their CV.

Part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, the college is kicking off 2022 with a raft of courses and free classes to support local communities.