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Who We Are

Scotland Map

The Hydro Nation International Centre is a virtual centre to coordinate and amplify the impact of a range of waters-related initiatives and groupings. It is based in Scotland but has an international focus, links and spheres of activity that will extend the benefits from these groups and initiatives.

The centre operates under the direction of Dr Rachel Helliwell of the James Hutton Institute and is nominally based at that Institute’s site in Aberdeen, Scotland, though it is effectively a virtual centre.

Core Team

Dr Rachel Helliwell


Rachel Helliwell is the Director of the Hydro Nation International Centre and Centre of Expertise for Waters. She works at the science: policy interface delivering evidence and knowledge gathered by Scottish and international academics to the water community of practice (policy, industry and regulators).  She is a board member of the Hydro Nation Chair Programme, member of the Hydro Nation Forum, a representative on the research and innovation committee for the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience Environment and Society, and Scottish Freshwater Group. Rachel also sits on local, national, and global stakeholder consultation groups covering pressing policy issues including net zero, climate crisis, circular economy and resource efficiency.

Dr Maricela Blair

Hydro Nation Policy Officer / Project Manager

Maricela Blair is an interdisciplinary professional with a background in soil & water sciences, and anthropology. She has experience as a policy adviser for S&T and R&D, applying her expertise and skills in academia and government to assist triple helix R&D organisations for the advancement of research and innovation, knowledge management, S&T education, and international cooperation; having worked as Chief Science Officer creating the R&D Unit and developing institutional processes for the Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation in Honduras, and later, as Adviser for S&T for the Government of Honduras. Maricela is also the primary coordinator for the Hydro Nation Scholars Programme.

Dr Kerr Adams

Interim International Development Officer

Kerr Adams is a Hydro Nation Alumnus and International Development Officer within the Hydro Nation International Centre based at the James Hutton Institute. His research focusses on partnership working to develop risk-based decision support tools to inform sustainable water management. In his PhD research, Kerr supported the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Water’s One Planet Choices decision-making method by developing a tool to map complex catchment systems and investigate the impacts of future climatic, population and land use change on the system. The decisionsupport tool informed the identification of adaptive water management options across multiple participating sectors.