SAMS news room

Marine expert recognised for contribution to university

Friday 9 August 2013 - A leading oceanographer has been recognised for his contribution to the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

William Austin, an expert in marine geoscience, has been awarded an honorary professorship by UHI for his work at SAMS that has spanned the past 20-years.

Professor Austin, a reader at the University of St Andrews’ School of Geography and Geosciences, has collaborated with SAMS researchers on many projects including studies of modern processes in Scottish fjords (sea lochs), the development of new palaeoclimate archives and work in the Arctic.

The award also recognises Professor Austin’s illustrious career. Since graduating with a PhD in marine geology in 1991, he has held prestigious research fellowships from the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, attracted more than £1m of research funding, contributed to and authored over 100 academic publications including book chapters and journal articles, and has spoken on marine topics at numerous international conferences. He has also taught and supervised many research students and is the current chair of the Geological Society of London’s marine studies group.

Professor Austin, who grew up on the Welsh island of Anglesey but now lives in Anstruther, Fife, said he was honoured to have received this professorship and is excited about the opportunities the award will bring.

"I feel genuinely excited about developing new research projects, building new collaborations and sharing my wealth of experience," he said.

"I plan to dedicate a significant amount of my energy to enhancing the international research and teaching profile of SAMS at the unique Dunstaffnage-based facilities. As a member of the Scottish Funding Council’s Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland [MASTS] partnership, the opportunity to strengthen research links in marine sciences between St Andrews and SAMS is very welcome at this time.”

UHI principal and vice-chancellor, James Fraser, commented: “This award formalises long-standing collaboration between UHI, SAMS and Professor Austin. We are pleased to have worked with such a respected academic and feel this professorship is a fitting way to mark his dedication to marine geoscience and contribution to the university. We look forward to developing further collaborations with Professor Austin.”

SAMS director Professor Laurence Mee added: “Professor Austin is a very experienced and innovative scientist who has dedicated a major part of his career to postgraduate training and enhancing cooperation between like-minded Scottish institutions through his leadership of the SAGES [Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society] Graduate School. He has been a long-term collaborator with the UHI through SAMS; this honour is well deserved and we look forward to even closer cooperation in the future.”

For more information on this story contact UHI Communications officer Susan Szymborski by email or
Tel: 01463 279210

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