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Continuing Professional Development


Continuing Professional Development Courses
We will only be running a limited number of short courses during 2016-2017 as we concentrate on developing a number of new MSc level programs.




Continuing Professional Development

Science changes on a daily basis.  New findings create new thinking, and sharing those findings accelerates scientific thought.

With our planet facing some of its most significant challenges to date, and in the midst of a global recession, it has never been more important to continue your learning and keep up to date with the latest thinking. 

As a leading Marine Science Institute, SAMS appreciates the importance of knowledge transfer and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).  Our growing programme of short courses provide you with access to leading international scientists and cater for a diverse range of people interested in the sustainable management and conservation of our marine environment.

Located in one of the richest marine environments in the UK; Continuing Professional Development Courses are typically held at SAMS near Oban, on the beautiful West coast of Scotland.  They can also be delivered at your venue if you have a group wishing to be trained simultaneously.

Further information

Dr Clive Fox coordinates our Continuing Professional Development Portfolio and can be contacted by phone on +44 (0)1631 559423.


Previous Courses

Read about previous courses

GIS and Georeferencing, Nov 2013

These two courses both proved popular once again, with students attending from across the UK.  Lovro Valcic returned to share his enthusiasm for Google Maps and the production of live, interactive maps, whilst Dr Tim O'Higgins introduced delegates to the use of Arc GIS TM for scientific research, methods of communication using maps and using tools to generate publishable maps.    The Geoferencing Course will run again in October 2014.

Marine Invasive Species Workshop, Sep 2013

Searching for Invasive SpeciesThe search was on once again for marine invasive species at our local marina in Oban, as part of our annual Marine Invasive Species Workshop.

Great news - and terrible news - the intrepid team found a new invasive species which wasn't there last year.  A new sea squirt has travelled north and, judging by the numbers found, it's making itself quite at home on the West Coast of Scotland.


"Great fun. Great tutors. Great colleagues." (PP, Bournemouth University)

With new EU Regulations due to be issued shortly relating to non native species, Liz and Chris will be running the workshop at SAMS again next year.  Who knows what we might find.

If you're interested in biosecurity issues, or want to know how to identify invasive species - or perhaps just want the chance to sample the marina and search for beasties, as in the photo above, visit or to reserve your place on the next course.

ECOPATH with ECOSIM Course, Sep 2013

SAMS welcomed students from as far afield as the USA, Norway, Nigeria and Belgium to this course; our first stand-alone Ecosystem Based Management Course.  Delegates represented the private, public and academic sectors and thoroughly enjoyed themselves learning about the ECOPATH, ECOSIM and ECOSPACE Models at SAMS.

"I really want to thank SAMS for organising such training. It was impacting! I will make use of it in my chosen field." (Dr Abdul, Nigeria)

A small number of places have been made available in January 2015 on our undergraduate and Masters module.  Please visit the course outline for further details. 

Algae Courses, June / July 2013

SAMS popular algae research courses ran again in 2013 and we welcomed delegates from around the world to our Algaculture for Biotechnology, Molecular Methods for Algae Research and Cryopreservation Courses.

Algae Research in Action

We received some great feedback, especially regarding the valuable time delegates can spend with our research-active scientists. For example:

"The help and attitude of the lab staff was fantastic - really friendly and understanding (and patient!)"

"Tutors were excellent. Research support scientists were invaluable."

Consequently, the courses will be run again in 2014 and we have already scheduled dates at the beginning of June.  You can follow the links above to reserve your place.

UAV Training Workshop, Apr 2013

In this new course, SAMS collaborated with a number of expert lecturers, including academics Dr Andras Sobester from the University of Southampton who specialises in aircraft design, Dr Rick Thomas who's developing a gas sampling device for a UAV helicopter platform at the University of Birmingham and Andy Vick from the UK Astronomy Technology Centre.  The private sector was represented by Nigel King; owner of QuestUAV a manufacturer of fixed wing unmanned aircraft and Paddy Davies from Horizon Aerial Photography, which specialises in UAV systems for data acquisition.  Case studies of the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in research settings were provided by Susan Stevens from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Dr Phil Anderson Head of SAMS Technology Development Group.

"It was a great course. Really broad and enjoyable." (CB, SMRU Ltd)

The course was well attended and, leading on from the MASTS ASM Conference, facilitated the expansion of an RPA user-network to promote robotics in scientific research.  It is hoped this network will form a national Knowledge Exchange hub for this exciting new technology and for the growing knowledge-base to expand the use of RPAs in marine research.  Please contact us if you would be interested in joining and keeping abreast of this exciting new technology for research.

This course ran again successfully in April 2014 and is scheduled to be repeated in April 2015.  Find out more here

Research Data Management & How to Use Excel, Apr 2013

Lovro Valcic returned from Croatia to run these two complementary IT courses.  His style was popular with students once again, with comments including:

"It was an excellent course and I got a lot out of it"

"Lovro is an enthusiastic teacher who, amazingly, makes Excel an interesting subject!"

"Enthusiastic tutor. Lovro brings life to the subject!"

As a result, we hope to run the courses again next year.  Lovro will be back with us in the autumn for a Georeferencing Course.

Ecosystem Based Management using Ecopath with Ecosim, Feb 2013

In her most popular course to date; Dr Sheila Heymans was overwhelmed with the demand for this Ecopath course.  Delegates covered Ecopath theory and practical sessions, as well as the use of Ecosim and Ecospace; making best use of the experience of our tutors in this software. 

GIS and Georeferencing, Oct 2012

These two courses both proved extremely popular once again, with students attending from Universities and public sector environmental agencies from across the UK.  Dr Tim O'Higgins introduced delegates to the use of Arc GIS TM for scientific research, methods of communication using maps and using tools to generate publishable maps.  Lovro Valcic provided an introduction to Google Maps and then covered the production of live, interactive maps before allowing delegates time working on their own map projects and benefiting from his knowledge and experience. 

Marine Invasive Species Identification Workshop, Oct 2012

Once again, this course proved popular and was fully booked.  Delegates learnt about the impacts of invasive species and spent time getting their hands wet at the Marina.  The samples obtained were then identified in the modern teaching labs at SAMS and students were able to classify any that were non-native. 

Algaculture for Biotechnology and Molecular Methods for Algae Research Courses, Sep 2012

These two courses were run back to back and both were fully booked.  We welcomed delegates from around the world and the Algae Research course was wholly booked by international students.  Our delegates were taught by a team of research-active scientists with considerable expertise in their field, including researchers from the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP); one of the world's largest collections of algae.

The courses will run again in June 2013, with Algaculture for Biotechnology taking place on the 17th and 18th June and Molecular Methods for Algae Research on the 19th and 20th.  The courses will be followed by a Cryopreservation course in July and our new Algal Biotechnology Masters Programme begins in September.

Marine Invasive Species Identification Workshop, Aug 2012

Over 35 delegates attended two highly successful half-day workshops on the identification of Marine Invasive Species in the Clyde, hosted by the Firth of Clyde Forum. Delegates learnt how to identify the most common marine and estuarine invasive species in UK waters, including the highly invasive Carpet Sea Squirt Didemnum vexillum, the killer shrimp Dikerogammarus villosus and the slipper limpet Crepidula fornicata and what you should to do if you think you've found one of these species.

Invasice Species Workshop

The workshops highlighted the clear need for increased awareness regarding invasive species in UK waters, particularly in light of the new regulations for notifying invasive non-native species in the recent Wildlife and Natural Environment Scotland (WANE) Act 2011. SAMS will be hosting a 2-day course in this subject in October 2012 for people wanting more in-depth identification knowledge.  We're also happy to discuss tailoring the half-day course to specific industries.  If you think your business would benefit from this course, please contact Dr Liz Cook

Introduction to Ecosystem Modelling using Ecopath and Ecosim, Feb 2012

Another very successful course on ecosystem modelling was run recently by Dr Sheila Heymans. The course introduced the modelling tools ECOPATH and ECOSIM to delegates from UK, Ireland and Israel. The course included introductory lectures but was mostly hands-on with delegates learning how to set up data, balance models and review the outputs from the packages. An exciting development is that Dr Heymans has been asked to provide training in ecosystem modelling of low trophic level fish by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Introduction to molecular methods for algal research, Sep 2011

A Continuing Professional Development course introducing molecular methods used in algal research was taught recently at SAMS. Scientists and PhD students from the UK, Norway and France attended the 2 day course. The course was designed to give the participants the guiding principles and know-how to start to incorporate molecular research into their algal research. Course content included lectures on the principles of DNA extraction and the PCR, DNA cloning and sequencing, and quantitative PCR. Two practical sessions applied this theoretical knowledge: (i) extracting and PCR amplifying algal DNA, and (ii) an introduction to bioinformatics, working with DNA electropherograms, sequence assembly and tree construction. This was the first time this course has been run, and feedback was encouraging. 

Marine Invasive Species Identification Workshop, Sep 2011

Identifying Marine AliensDelegates from DARDNI (Fisheries Inspectorate Northern Ireland) and AEPM Ltd. recently attended a course on Marine Aliens. Delegates learned about how to identify the most common invasive species in UK waters, including the highly invasive Carpet Sea Squirt Didemnum vexillum and what to do if you think you've found one of these species. There is a clear need for improved education on marine aliens in Scottish and European marine industries and agencies. In response SAMS will be developing a half-day course which can be delivered at various sites around Scotland to enable this CPD training to a wider audience.

If you think that your business would benefit from this course, please contact Dr Liz Cook

Displaying georeferenced scientific data using Google Maps, Aug 2011

GoogleMapping_Aug2011_Downscaled.jpgDelegates from NOCs, the Environment Agency and The Dorset Wildlife Trust recently attended a course on presenting scientific data using Google Maps. Delegates learned how to design interactive online maps using the Google Maps Javascript API v3, whilst learning more about the core building blocks (HTML, JavaScript, Google Map API) needed to bring Google Maps to life. Delegates were also able to work on their own projects which included mapping of sediment cores and associated meta-data, mapping of high-resolution bathymetry and underwater images, as well as mapping of various river restoration related datasets. There is a clear need for computing and IT courses aimed at technical and scientific clients and SAMS has developed several new courses in this area in the near future. 

Long term conservation of marine microbial resources, Feb 2011

LongTermConservationMarineMicroorganisms_Feb2011 (1).JPG

LongTermConservationMarineMicroorganisms_Feb2011 (7).JPG

This course covered both theoretical aspects of cryopreservation and lyophilization, as well as their application to conserve microbial resources including: bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa. The event attracted delegates from a wide range of backgrounds including: biotechnologists, those working in Biological Resource Centres and scientists from fundamental and applied research environments. Delegates came from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Norway, South Korea Spain, the UK and

the USA, reflecting the global importance of this area of science. The course comprised a mix of lectures and practical sessions, with tutors from SAMS and the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) and input from specialist equipment manufacturers (Planer plc and Linkam Scientific Instruments Ltd). Topics covered included: Cryopreservation theory and application; Freeze-drying (lyophilization) theory and preparation; Health and Safety implications in cryopreservation; Ownership, Intellectual Property and microbial diversity as well as Data management and Quality Assurance. 

Identification of harmful phytoplankton, Jan 2011



The presence of harmful phytoplankton is a major issue for shellfish growers. The shellfish filter phytoplankton from the water and, if harmful strains are present, the shellfish can accumulate toxins in their flesh. In the EU waters in which shellfish are grown are regularly tested for the presence of harmful phytoplankton. In the UK this is co-ordinated by the Food Standards Agency and in Scotland SAMS undertakes analysis of the water samples.

This training course was run for parts of the industry interested in undertaking their own additional monitoring of phytoplankton in shellfish growing waters. The course explained what we know of the conditions leading to blooms of harmful phytoplankton, introduced the main groups of harmful algae and provided practical training in microscopic analysis and how to recognise and count the phytoplankton themselves.

This course is running again in February 2014 -

Trainees practising identification of harmful phytoplankton

Marine Planning - the Policy Background, Jan 2011



Delegates from the Crown Estate, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation as well as  academia came together for a two-day course on the policy background to Marine Planning. The course comprised a mix of talks, discussions and group exercises covering the international, European and UK policy behind the emerging field of marine planning. Practical exercises included developing conceptual maps of the legislative framework, group discussions and role playing the planning process.

The course included talks on the current state of progress with marine planning in the UK and Scotland.

Working on conceptual maps to help navigate complex policy legislation

Discussing the current state of UK Marine Planning with Dr Tim Stojanovic of St. Andrews University

Culturing Algae For Biotechnology, Sep 2010

Culturing Algae for BiotechnologyA very successful course on culturing algae for use in biotechnology was run in Sept (2010) by the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa. The event attracted delegates from countries including the UK, Ireland, Spain, Holland and Israel; reflecting the intense global interest in this area of science.

The course comprised a mix of lectures and practical sessions. Topics included algal biodiversity, photosynthesis and its implications for cultures in artificial light, culturing methods and health and safety in culture labs, genomics and the use of algae for biofuel production.  The Algaculture course is now fully booked again in September 2012.Dr John Day with delegates

As this course provided a broad introduction to the subject, some of the delegates expressed interest in receiving more intensive training in specialised areas e.g. identification of algae and molecular analysis of algae. As a result, SAMS has developed a further Continuing Professional Development course in molecular research and analysis.


What delegates on our short-courses say about their experience...
Feedback on our short courses is given anonymously and selected comments are given below:


"The help and attitude of the lab staff was fantastic - really friendly and understanding (and patient!)"

"Tutors were excellent. Research support scientists were invaluable."


 Delegates on SAMS 'Algaculture and Algae Research' Courses 2013

"It was a great course. Really broad and enjoyable."

Delegate from SMRU Ltd on our UAV Training Workshop, 2013

"It was an excellent course and I got a lot out of it"

"Lovro is an enthusiastic teacher who, amazingly, makes Excel an interesting subject!"

"Enthusiastic tutor. Lovro brings life to the subject!"


Delegates on SAMS Research Data Management and How to Use Excel Courses, 2013

"The trainers were excellent at addressing my individual issues which are now resolved and will speed up my survey planning."

 Delegate on SAMS 'GIS Mapping' course 2012

"This course was excellent for an absolute beginner. The course exceeded my expectations, I found the level just right and we covered everything I needed, interesting, engaging and great to get personalised help.  Thanks very much - the course has been excellent."

 Delegate on 'Managing Scientific Databases' course 2011

"The content was perfect as an introduction to presenting georeferenced datasets in Google Maps.  The combination of theory and exercises helped to build foundations of the knowledge taught.  This will be of great benefit when I come to apply these techniques on my datasets."

                                 Delegate on 'Georeferencing Scientific Data from Google Maps' course 24-25 Aug 2011


"One of the best courses I have attended - helped me consolidate my understanding of the policy background to marine planning."

 Delegate on 'Marine Planning: The Policy Background' course Jan 2011

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Education Department
Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK
T: +44 (0) 1631 559 000
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