• Members of the SAMS board from 2016 just outside the SAMS main building on the shore
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    WANTED: new talent for our Governing Council

Chair and Trustees (Non-Executive Directors)

Are you fascinated by the marine world?  Do you come from a commercial, financial or legal background and are interested in stretching your boundaries?  Would you like to use your academic background and strategic leadership to improve knowledge of the marine environment and promote its importance and value?  If any of these apply to you, you might be just the person we are looking for!

About SAMS

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is a marine research organisation and learned society, founded in 1884, and is one of the world’s oldest oceanographic institutions. Based on the west coast of Scotland, near Oban, Argyll, SAMS is a registered charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. 

We are committed to:

  • >The creation of new knowledge about the marine environment through undertaking world leading and innovative research
  • >The dissemination of that knowledge, not only through inspirational formal educational programmes with our partner, the University of the Highlands and Islands, but also the enhancement of societal awareness through our public engagement activities
  • >Using our knowledge to provide solutions for the ethical and sustainable use of marine resources, both in our local environment and internationally

SAMS research spans the breadth of marine science, tackling the grand challenges facing the world today.  We work on diverse interdisciplinary research questions, focusing on three major challenges:

  • >To discover the physical and biological processes that drive the marine environment
  • >To describe and quantify how coastal environments respond to ever-increasing pressures
  • >To develop a sustainable blue economy

Governance restructuring

Following a restructuring of our governance there are up to five opportunities to join the Governing Council, commencing during the summer and autumn 2018.  SAMS wishes to see a broadening of the skills represented on the Governing Council, including, but not limited to:

  • >International experience in marine or environmental sectors
  • >Financial or business management experience
  • >Societal engagement
  • >Corporate legal expertise
  • >Philanthropic giving and fundraising

The spread of experience and skills that are sought for the Governing Council is broad. Individuals are sought who can contribute to at least one of the following areas:

  • >Clear demonstration of the ability to operate at Board level, most likely through previous strategic/board-level experience; preferably previous experience in a Non-Executive Director role
  • >Senior role in a university, research, commercial or entrepreneurial organisation; preferably in marine, environmental, or related sectors
  • >Experience of building effective funding and/or income-generating relationships.  A record of achievement in marketing and/or philanthropic fundraising would be welcome
  • >Demonstration of a strong commitment to equality and diversity, preferably with experience of leading positive culture change
  • >An ability to work strategically and collaboratively at a senior level with knowledge of excellent corporate governance
  • >Significant organisational business acumen
  • >Ability to lead change successfully and positively influence individuals and organisations
  • >Strong networking skills preferably with a significant commercial network

These positions are unremunerated, although travel expenses will be reimbursed. 

Appointments will be for an initial three-year term that may be extended for a further three-years. 

The minimum time commitment, including preparation for and participation in formal committee meetings, is approximately 10 days per annum.  The majority of meetings are held in Oban, thus travel time will need to be added to this.

How to apply

The deadline for applications for Trustee applications is 15 June 2018.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview in Oban during June 2018.  Alternative arrangement can be discussed.

More information about SAMS, including governance and the current composition of the Governing Council can be found here.

Application is by covering letter and short CV to be sent to sams.secretary@sams.ac.uk (T: 01631 559272) from whom further information can also be obtained.

Equality and diversity

SAMS has a positive attitude towards diversity.  We are committed to equality of opportunity amongst our staff and students: we aim to achieve balanced gender representation in our Governing Council membership.

VACANCY: Trustees / Non-Executive Directors (up to five)

Reporting to

Chair, Scottish Association for Marine Science

Main purpose of role

Participate fully in the activities of the Governing Council and Sub-Committees to ensure that the organisation meets its commitment to partners and stakeholders.

Main duties

Act impartially, in the best interest of SAMS

Participate in meetings, ensuring that decisions are reached in an orderly, timely and democratic manner

Be aware of and fulfil governance responsibilities and conduct Governing Council business effectively and efficiently

Approve the strategic direction of the charity and take significant decisions relevant to the achievement of stated objectives

Hold the Executive to account, ensuring that SAMS is managed effectively, ensuring solvency, safeguarding assets and adherence to good employment practices

Ensure compliance with EU and UK legal requirements including employment, H&S, intellectual property and information rights laws (eg GDPR)

Ensure compliance with company laws by ensuring internal control systems are in place, risks are managed, and powers are delegated appropriately

Engagement with partners and stakeholders on behalf of SAMS


These positions are unremunerated although reasonable travel expenses will be paid.

Appointments will be for an initial three-year term that may be extended for one further three-year term.  The minimum time commitment, including preparation for and participation in formal committee meetings, is approximately 10 days per annum, not including travel time.  Most meetings are held at the SAMS laboratories near Oban.

Specific areas of experience or expertise that are particularly welcome

Having worked internationally in marine / environment sectors

Financial or business management experience

Societal engagement

Corporate legal expertise

Experience of philanthropic fundraising campaigns

Governmental (national/international) experience

Further details of essential and desired attributes of SAMS Trustees can be downloaded here: SAMS Trustees Attributes 2018.