The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), the University of St Andrews and UHI Millennium Institute (UHI) have agreed that they intend to develop the case for creating the new Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI) as a joint venture.
This joint venture would build on a new partnership to combine the marine research and teaching carried out at the SAMS Dunstaffnage Laboratory and the Gatty Marine Institute in St Andrews which also includes the Sea Mammal Research Unit.
The new institution would provide greater capacity for teaching the marine scientists of the future from undergraduate to post-graduate levels; it would build upon research excellence at both SAMS and St Andrews and strengthen the research base within UHI which contains SAMS as an affiliated institution; and it would help to ensure that marine science in Scotland is competitive on the world stage.
The institute would give Scotland capacity to address issues as diverse as predicting the effects of climate change and the sustainable exploitation of offshore resources.
The development would require an ambitious programme of capital investment to allow easy interchange of students and staff between Dunstaffnage and St Andrews.
Sir John Arbuthnott, President of SAMS, said “This is a massive opportunity to create an exciting new project that will sustain the long track record of SAMS as a learned society for promoting marine science. In the past five years SAMS has experienced rejuvenation and growth, especially with the opening of its new laboratory at Dunstaffnage near Oban, and we see this partnership as the next important step in this process”.
Dr Brian Lang, Principal of the University of St Andrews, said “We are delighted to be involved in developing this initiative. Marine Science is one of Scotland’s strengths and this partnership can only enhance Scotland’s global position in this area.”
Professor Bob Cormack, Principal of the UHI Millennium Institute, said “The future of higher education in the Highlands and Islands needs to be built upon local institutional structures such as the Dunstaffnage laboratory. SAMS is one of the jewels in the UHI crown. We see partnership with established universities like St Andrews as a major step towards building a strong reputation for UHI. The marine environment is especially important to the Highlands and Islands and we are committed to maintaining and expanding this subject as one of the central features of UHI.”
For further information please contact:
Professor Ian Boyd, University of St Andrews, T: 07881 760 799
Professor David Paterson, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, T: 01334 463 467
Professor Graham Shimmield, SAMS Director, T: 01631 559270 or 07768 271895