Kostas Stavrianakis
Image by: Euan Stewart, CCB Student on placement in the Research Strategy & Policy department

Dr Kostas Stavrianakis: a profile

By Lucy Young, Creative & Cultural Business Student on placement in the Research Strategy & Policy department - 28 July 2022

A profile of Dr Kostas Stavrianakis- recent PhD graduate, now researcher at RGU. We discussed his research interests, and his involvement with the EU Carbon Capture project ConsenCUS.

Academic research: a tricky business to get into, and an even harder one to succeed in. Robert Gordon University recognises this and wants not only to shout louder about the academic research that we are involved in, but to celebrate the researchers that we have here at the university. One of which being Dr Kostas Stavrianakis, recent PhD graduate of Indiana Bloomington University-turned-research fellow at RGU.  

Like most meetings held during a global pandemic, we joined a video call with Dr Stavrianakis.

Dr Stavrianakis is originally from Greece and completed his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Kingston University London in 2003. Following this he came to Aberdeen and completed a postgraduate in Ecology in 2004, before working in various positions until completing his PhD programme from 2017 to 2021. Now, he is a member of the team at RGU and is working on a huge European Union funded project called ConsenCUS. 

As a social scientist, Dr Stavrianakis is using his unique background in natural sciences to conduct promising research about our changing climate. ConsenCUS, the project that he is currently involved in, is looking into Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS). Dr Stavrianakis explains it best himself: 

“[ConsenCUS] is looking at carbon capture utilization and storage technologies and these allow us to take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, that's the capture part. Then there’s utilization; Is there different mechanism through which we can utilize carbon capturing, such as a food stock?” 

The project employs researchers from around the world and many scientific disciplines- including social sciences, which is where Dr Stavrianakis’s expertise is key. Perspectives such as his are truly so important because a social scientist will look at climate change from a drastically different lens than an engineer, for example. On this he said: 

“There's also the social aspect [of ConsenCUS], which is what we're doing at RGU. This is looks at how different communities conceptualize CCUS and how they understand and perceive [these] technologies. It's sensible and it's vital that we know what the people understand those technologies and if they will accept them. There's no purpose of investing in developing new technologies if their communities will not use them.” 

The research that Dr Stavrianakis is conducting for ConsenCUS relates to his previous research into climate change and environmental behaviours. He says it’s an excellent basis for building a strong portfolio in this area, not just as a researcher but as a person too. It also helps his students: 

“I don't want to be focused on just one aspect of sustainability, or one aspect of climate change. I prefer to work around many different aspects, looking at it also from a teaching perspective, because if I have a broader understanding of an issue then I can help my students more.”  

“Although, that's just my personality” he emphasised, “If I do the same thing all the time, I get bored.”  

It is thanks to researchers at RGU, like Dr Kostas Stavrianakis, that we are coming on leaps and bounds in finding solutions to climate change. We are eager to see where this passion for his subject area takes him, and to hear the results of ConsenCUS in a few years’ time. 

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