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Westhill man, Dr Stewart Rhind, has been named as one of two men who lost their lives in a road crash on the A90 they travelled back from a meeting in Stirling last Friday.

Earlier this week, the James Hutton Institute released a statement confirming that two of their employees - Dr Rhind (61) and Dr Julian Dawson (42) - had died in the collision near Fordoun and described them both as “valued and respected colleagues who will be sorely missed.”

The two scientists were both passengers in a silver Vauxhall Astra estate travelling north on the A90 when it was in collision with a Saab 9-3 shortly after 4pm. Three fire crews rushed to the scene along with four ambulances, two rapid response units and two air ambulances and the dual carriageway was closed in both directions for more than eight hours to allow inspectors to examine the scene.

The 58-year-old driver of the Astra - who was also an employee of the James Hutton Institute - was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with an apparent spinal injury but had been released from hospital by Tuesday. The 39-year-old driver of the Saab was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee with wrist injuries.

Dr Rhind, 61, lived in Westhill with his June and had two daughters, Joanna and Sarah.

He worked globally and had latterly collaborated with scientific teams in the US and Australia on animal research issues. His latest field of study had been endocrine disrupters, which showed the fertility of sheep was affected on pasture treated with human sludge.

Dr Rhind was awarded a doctor of science and published numerous scientific papers on his research.

The 61-year-old is said to have been passionate about his research work, his family, fishing, the natural world and bridge.

He joined the Hill Farming Research Organisation, a predecessor of the James Hutton Institute, in 1979 and worked at the Institute ever since.

A spokesperson for the James Hutton Institute said: During his years with us Stewart had conducted a wide range of research including nutrition and reproduction in sheep and cattle, cashmere production in goats, behaviour and welfare of red deer and the effects of endocrine disrupting compounds. He was also the postgraduate student liaison officer for the Aberdeen site.

“Julian completed his PhD at the University of Aberdeen in 2000. He briefly worked at the Macaulay Land Use Research institute in the early 1990s and returned to work with us in 2010. Julian’s research interests encompassed biogeochemical and hydrological processes within riverine catchment systems.

“The third member of staff involved in the accident has been released from hospital and we wish him a speedy recovery.

“We are continuing to offer whatever support we can to the families.”

Grampian Police comnfirmed on Tuesday the names of the names of the two men and said that both families did not want any media contact and had requested to be left to grieve in peace.

Police are still appealing to any motorists who were in the area in the moments leading up to the accident to come forward.