SAMS news room

Government appointment for oceans expert

In his new role, Prof Mark Inall will support the work of the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland, Professor Sheila Rowan
In his new role, Prof Mark Inall will support the work of the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland, Professor Sheila Rowan

A researcher from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban has been appointed to the Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC), the expert panel that informs Scottish Government policy.

Prof Mark Inall, a physical oceanographer, will join the SSAC from January 1. He has been appointed as one of five new council members from varied scientific disciplines.

The SSAC supports the work of the Chief Scientific Adviser Scotland, Professor Sheila Rowan, the Chief Scientist (Health), Professor David Crossman, and the Chief Scientific Adviser for Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Professor Andrew Millar, all of whom are also ex-officio members of the SSAC.

The new members will serve for three years, until 31 December 2021.

Prof Inall, who is also Director of the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience Environment and Society (SAGES), said: “Scotland has a global reputation as a geoscience research powerhouse, contributing significantly to the understanding of our natural environment: oceans, land, atmosphere and ice - all elements that are now challenged by our own actions. The Scottish Government has shown global leadership in working towards solutions to tackle these global challenges.

“It is a privilege to join Scotland's highest science advisory body, and my focus will be to listen to my scientific peers and provide best evidence on environmental sciences. In this endeavour I feel supported by SAMS, a world-class marine research laboratory, and by research pools SAGES and MASTS (Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland).

“Research pooling is a unique feature of the Scottish landscape, allowing us to speak and act with a common purpose.”

Prof Inall moved to SAMS in 1998 and has established an ocean turbulence measurement facility at the institute, as part of the Scottish Marine Robotics Facility based at SAMS.

Science Minister Richard Lochhead welcomed the appointments, adding: “The SSAC plays a vital role in ensuring ministers have access to the very best scientific advice to help inform all policy areas.

“Members of the SSAC are continuing our great history of science and innovation and I look forward to meeting the new and existing members to discuss how the SSAC can add value to our work.”

The four other new SSAC members are:

 Dr Caroline Cantley, Executive Director, Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering;

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak DBE FRSE, Regius Professor of Medicine and Vice Principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow;

Professor Wayne Powell FLSW FRSE, Principal and Chief Executive, Scotland’s Rural College;

Professor John Underhill FRSE, Chief Scientist at Heriot-Watt University.

The next meeting of the SSAC will be on 23 January, 2019.