Kate is a civil engineer and marine scientist, she was brought up by the sea and she has made it the focus of her career. As a Chartered Engineer her initial work concerned large marine structures including harbours, jetties and even aircraft runways built out from the coast. This work brought her to Orkney in the 1970s for the Flotta tanker jetty and to Shetland for the marine runways at Sumburgh Airport.
Following an international engineering career, Kate made a late return to University in 2000 to study for a PhD in Marine Resource Management specialising in community based fisheries. Her research took her to Galapagos as well as Scotland leading to the award of her doctorate entitled ‘Perceptions on Inshore Fisheries – case studies in conflict, participation, and cooperation’.
Travelling south to the Pacific Islands of Vanuatu and later to the Philippines, Kate then spent four years working with the UK based development agency VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas). She travelled among the islands and the villages helping to initiate new economic activities and build institutional links between villages and central government.
Kate took up her present research appointment with the ICIT Orkney Campus of Heriot-Watt University in 2009. Her post is funded under a European Union project for research into marine planning. The objectives are for sustainable development leading to energy and food security. The ambition for ‘Blue Growth’ to create marine economic activity is balanced by new environmental legislation and requirements for ecosystem based management. Academics from thirteen European countries are working with nine case studies from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. Kate leads a case study of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters where marine energy development is the most advanced in the world.