Clare Bond smallBy Dr Clare Bond, Reader in Geology, University of Aberdeen, SCCS Directorate

I have been thinking a lot about leadership recently as I’ve just joined Team 6 of Homeward Bound, a global initiative, which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet.

As March 2021 starts, I start on a 12-month leadership programme that might culminate, global pandemic willing, in a voyage of discovery to Antarctica in 2022 alongside 100 other women from around the globe. I want to use the opportunity to elevate the profile of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM) and explore what leadership means to them. So it is apt that I write this blog on leadership on International Women’s Day.

What do I mean by leadership? The truth is that there are many different styles and types of leadership and developing your own unique style that works for you and others is an important element in becoming an effective leader. But what are we leading? Leadership needs a reason - a bigger purpose. Personally, I think that I can only truly effectively lead things that I believe in; purposes for which I sincerely want to make a difference. This stems in part from my busy life and the many competing demands on my time. At the moment these include the hedonistic amalgamation of full-time work with full-time home schooling a nine-year-old. I am sure I am not alone in asking myself where the space and time is to lead anything! Purpose and belief in that purpose are so, so important to me in leading effectively.

I joined the SCCS Directorate two years ago, taking the lead to represent the University of Aberdeen in the SCCS consortium of universities, whilst also championing CCS for the University and now working with the Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Transition. CCS is an area in which I have actively pursued research, and is also critical to the transition to Net Zero; with the IPCC 2018 Special Report clearly showing that CCS has a clear part to play in limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

I find using my geological expertise to help solve energy transition issues really exciting. I also really enjoy the team work and pan-disciplinary nature of the CCS and Energy Transition challenge. SCCS has been leading this pan-disciplinary charge for CCS for the past 15 years; employing teamwork and collaboration across Scottish universities and with other global partners to accelerate the deployment of CCS through provision of underpinning research, policy guidance and engagement. SCCS delivers on elements fundamental to our collective aim to meet the 1.5°C target. Leading from the front, SCCS has been involved in many projects that are now at the forefront of the global CCS drive.

SCCS has also grown and changed. As Indira Mann describes in her SCCS birthday blog on Celebrating Diversity and Role Models in our Research Community, the SCCS Directorate 15 years on from its inception is a now a diverse mixing pot of ideas derived from directorate members of different nationalities, career stages and gender.

For my continued learning in leadership, the elements of team work and engagement that are key to SCCS’s 15 years of success will be core values, and my purpose will be driven by the vision of a more responsible approach to how we utilise and manage Earth Resources; limiting negative societal and environmental impact alongside the desire to ensure more diverse and equitable representation at the leadership table.

If you are interested in following my leadership journey with Homeward Bound you can join me here at breaking the ice ceiling. Meanwhile, I wish SCCS a Happy 15th Birthday and look forward to many more years of SCCS leading the way to a better future.

Clare Bond

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