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SEFARI Specialist Advisory Group: Call for experts to join RESAS-led project team on Waste Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions

SEFARI Specialist Advisory Group: Call for experts to join RESAS-led project team on Waste Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions


SEFARI Gateway Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Specialist Advisory Groups (SAG) are interdisciplinary partnerships that respond to cross-cutting priority issues at appropriate scales and pace. SEFARI Gateway will provide support for a new SAG led by RESAS on improving emission projections from Scotland’s waste sector.

We are looking for individuals across SEFARI, Centres of Expertise and Higher Education Institutes with relevant expertise in this area to join the project team, including staff from RESAS and relevant agencies. This project will serve as a platform to build a network of experts over a longer timescale.


The deadline for this call is the end of the day of the 10th of April 2023.

If you require further information or have any questions related to this call, please contact, Andrew Kelloe, Research and Communications Manager, SEFARI Gateway:



Scotland has committed to Net Zero by 2045, and through the Climate Change Emissions Reduction Targets (Scotland) Act 2019, has introduced a series of targets and pathways to achieve this goal. Estimates suggest around four fifths of Scotland's carbon footprint comes from the products and services we manufacture, use and throw away, making emissions from how we deal with our waste an important part of the overall reduction. The Climate Change Plan update (2020) Scotland has therefore committed to developing a route map to deliver waste and recycling targets in a way that maximises carbon saving potential.

While Scotland has already made significant strides in reducing emissions from waste, with more than 30% reduction in emissions between 2011-2019, progress needs to be accelerated to meet waste sector emissions envelopes. A strong science and evidence base is therefore needed to ensure future policies will meet these requirements.

The ability to forecast scenarios is essential in informing decision-makers on the likely success of future policy options. The current methodology requires updating to ensure it is both accurate and flexible enough to meet these needs, and a key first step in this process is evaluating the underpinning science and assumptions.


The Specialist Advisory Group

The aims of this SAG are:

  • To review the methodology for waste emissions forecasting, assessing the quality and relevance of the underpinning science and assumptions.
  • To put forward key recommendations to improve the methodology for future waste emissions forecasting – for example, making the methodology more flexible to allow easier modelling of different scenarios, or identifying additional data requirements.
  • To identify key linkages between waste and other sectors, identifying where actions in one sector will have knock on emission impacts in another.

Waste sector greenhouse gas emissions need to be calculated to understand progress towards national emissions targets (envelopes). In this context, waste sector emissions are those reported under Waste Management in the Scottish Greenhouse Gas Statistics. These are currently split into the following categories: landfill, incineration without energy recovery (incineration of waste with energy recovery is included in the energy supply sector), compost / anaerobic digestion and wastewater management. Emissions from landfill, incineration and compost/anaerobic digestion are calculated using a modelling approach, allowing for up-to-date information on different waste types to be included; wastewater management emissions are assumed to remain constant.

The modelling approach also allows waste emission projections to be calculated for a range of different scenarios, providing an analytical basis for future target setting and policy development. However, the current approach has recognised limitations: it is based around progress against 2025 targets, and it would be difficult to change timescales. We seek expert advice to understand and prioritise where improvements can be made. For example, building capacity for greater flexibility would improve the model’s ability to assess different policy scenarios and work across different timescales.

To ensure emission projections are based on an up-to-date and accurate evidence base, and make best use of the available data, it is necessary to review the methodology and assess the quality and relevance of the underpinning science and assumptions. Through a series of workshops, this advisory group will bring together relevant subject experts with the aim of recommending and prioritising key areas of methodological improvement and update.

Whilst the focus of the project will be on waste sector emissions, there is recognition that the sector cannot work in isolation to achieve Net Zero for Scotland. Therefore, the group will also consider interactions between waste and other sectors. This work will highlight where there are opportunities for additive benefits in emission reduction by working across sectors and identify potential risks where a policy in one area might negatively impact another.   


Team Members

We are seeking individuals with scientific and/or technical expertise in greenhouse gas emissions across the waste and circular economy sectors.  This call is open to colleagues from within SEFARI and Higher Education Institutes. We welcome applications across all career stages, aiming to achieve a mix of strategic and practical skillsets to ensure project outputs that are both ambitious and practical in their implementation.

The SAG will commence in May 2023, and it is expected to be active for up to 6 months. The total budget for the project is £20k and we are seeking 3-10 colleagues to join the project team including colleagues from RESAS and relevant agencies. We expect members will likely contribute between 3-10 days although the exact number of days will be dependent on the final project scope and breakdown of responsibilities. All time will be covered by SEFARI Gateway funding.

Whilst the proposed SAG will be time limited with a defined research need, the longer-term aim is to utilise the project as a platform to build a wider network of experts on waste and circular economy. A willingness to engage further with the Scottish Government on this subject area is not essential but is highly encouraged.


Further Details

  • Applicants must be staff members at the SEFARI, Centres of Expertise and Higher Education Institutes. The latter do not need to be directly funded by RESAS or involved in the Strategic Research Portfolio to apply.
  • Applicants must have the support of their organisation (whether SEFARIs, Centres of Expertise, or Higher Education Institutes).
  • Sign-off should be at the level deemed appropriate for each organisation (please talk to your line manager).
  • The taking up of such an opportunity should not result in a candidate going beyond the end of any agreed contract they may have with their employer.


 Notes of Interest

A one-page maximum note of interest should include:

  • Why you are interested in this opportunity and what you would hope to get from it
  • What skills and experience you would bring to the role
  • How you would use the work being carried out in the Portfolio to underpin the wider project
  • What you would do to take the learning back into your organisation and across the Portfolio
  • Notes of interest should be sent to:
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