In conversation: AbuBakr Bajar
Professor of Sustainable Energy at the University of Southampton
Professor Bahaj is a passionate supporter of universities working with local authorities, and the work he and his students are doing in Southampton is leading the way.
Taking the expertise that is flourishing in the local seat of learning and applying it to the challenges facing Southampton in the 21st century will be the focus of his new role as Chief Scientific Adviser to the council.
He explained: “Most cities have a university, which encompasses knowledge and human resources that are under-utilised by local authorities. This is different in Southampton where we are achieving a step change in joined-up thinking, informed by science and engineering, optimised to be effective in bringing the needed changes for both resource efficiency and economic growth.”
He is clear what his role will encompass and summed it up in simple terms.“A Chief Scientific Adviser has an important role to play in helping a city to plan for the challenges ahead, to enhance the performance of the city and the quality of life of its inhabitants,” he said.
One of the first areas Professor Bahaj will turn his attention to is Green Building Development. “In relation to the current building stock, we are looking at how we can improve thermal performance and make homes better for the people who live in them.
And in broader terms we are looking at how cities will look in 50 years time, taking into account such things as the Climate Change Act.”