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University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

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Centre for Mountain Studies & Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research

The Centre for Mountain Studies conducts interdisciplinary research on upland and mountain landscapes. Core research themes include integrated land use, upland culture, communities and land, and sustainable tourism. We focus on research that has applications in evidence-based practice and policy and also deliver education and knowledge exchange activities.

Working with CMS, the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research (, established in 2012, is one of Scotland’s leading tourism research centres, with a huge network of overseas colleagues, clients and collaborators and an impressive portfolio of activity.  Working predominantly in an industry-facing capacity, the Centre is currently involved in eight EU-funded initiatives, co-financed through the ERASMUS+, ERDF, JPI and INTERREG programmes.  We work closely with the School of Adventure Studies (  on a number of these initiatives, and place great value on the research-teaching linkages.

The Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research is based here, at the foot of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, and on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Most of the Centre’s initiatives seek to enable the diversification of business activity over the medium term through the expansion of product lines or facilitating business clustering, for example.  Other initiatives are centred on extending businesses’ marketing reach to new global markets or new consumers, usually taking advantages of the greater scale that can be achieved through collaborative promotional campaigns. 

A relatively untapped segment in Scotland is being explored in a new project (  Co-financed by the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme it seeks to develop and promote scientific tourism products through a new web platform and promoted under a new trans-national brand.  Over the last decades Arctic and peri-Arctic regions have seen an increasing number of visitors, and the project partners in Finland, Iceland and Greenland believe that this demand for new scientific tourism experiences will grow and contribute to the recovery of the tourism sector.

More relevant to CULTIVATE, another initiative seeks to enable businesses to capitalise on the great wealth of engaging stories that characterise Highland and Islands heritage.  The Coast that Shaped the World ( is a large-scale community-led project that will gather maritime stories from 20 destinations across the west coast of Scotland – stories that convey how our maritime cultural and natural heritage helped to shape the world.  Co-financed by Scottish Natural Heritage’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund and CalMac, an interactive website and app and a programme of innovative digital exhibitions will attract people to the less-visited areas of the west coast. 

These projects have shared goals, of working with local SMEs, communities and other stakeholders to enable them to diversify their business or enter new market segments.  This could be through the acquisition of new skills, the development of new products, identifying new routes to market, facilitating collaborative working, or the creation of new digital tourism streams. Through the use of these platforms, the Centre is able to harness its collective strengths and develop new pathways to have meaningful impact for businesses across the Highlands and Islands.

Meet the team involved in the project


Rosalind Bryce

Director, Centre for Mountain Studies - UHI

Rosalind Bryce is the Director of the Centre for Mountain Studies. Her research is strongly interdisciplinary, and spans the natural, social and cultural elements of landscape management. She has particular interests in integrated upland management and understanding the cultural dimensions that shape landscapes and their communities.

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Steve Taylor

Director, Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research - UHI

Dr Steve Taylor is the director of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research, situated in Fort William, Scotland ( His principal role involves working with international partners on the development and implementation of trans-national tourism projects – the centre is currently involved in marine, cultural heritage and  adventure tourism projects co-funded through the JPI, ERDF, ERASMUS+ and INTERREG programmes.  A keen mountain biker, hiker and skier, Steve’s scholarly output has most recently been on the slow adventure marketing concept and cultural heritage tourism.


Zoe Russell

Research Associate - UHI

Zoe is an interdisciplinary researcher with a focus on people and place. She is has recently submitted for a PhD at the University of Stirling based on a study of the Wester Ross UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. She is passionate about cultural heritage and sustainability in the Highlands and Islands and on research methods that involve working with communities.

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