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Job vacancies @SAMS

Our people are at the heart of what we do. Our amazing team of passionate, skilled and creative individuals are working together towards our shared vision of an Ocean In Balance. And we get to do this living on the glorious west coast of Scotland!

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organisation and pioneering charity, delivering marine science for a productive and sustainably managed marine environment through innovative research, education, and engagement with society.  

Join us for a career in marine science, so - together - we can make a difference.


Current Vacancies

Seaweed Farm Manager (D07/24.CA) - closing date: 14th June 2024

Facilities Operative Support Work Placement (D03/24.IM) - closing date: 14th June 2024

Aquarium Project Technician (D05/24.AM) - closing date: 25th June 2024

Research Contract Administrator (D12/24.JB) - closing date: 28th June 2024

Head of Enterprise and Commercial Services (D11/24.MS) - closing date: 30th June 2024


How to apply

Applicants should apply by sending a CV and covering letter to recruitment@sams.ac.uk quoting the Job Reference number by the appropriate closing date.

For more information please email recruitment@sams.ac.uk or call 01631 559000.  

Our employees are the heart of our business. Recruiting and retaining the right people is the key to our success. Rewarding our employees is therefore an important component of our employment package and we have a wide range of benefits on offer to staff. These can enhance your personal and professional development, your health and well-being and your finances. Additionally, SAMS encourages and recognises excellence among staff through various recognition and reward arrangements. We constantly develop and expand the benefits and offers for our colleagues. 

SAMS offers a generous salary and pension as well as employee benefits package.  We also have supportive policies to assist absence, family and other leave types. 


Employee benefits

Training and development courses to assist you with your career development – leadership, coaching and mentoring. 

Flexible working arrangements 

Purchase of additional annual leave – up to 20 days per annum 

Access to shopping discounts as well as local shop and leisure discounted memberships 

Cycle to work scheme 

Purchase of technology  

Payroll Giving  

Salary Sacrifice – pensions 

Access to wellbeing portals which provide support for mental health, nutrition and fitness and GP referral scheme 

Occupational health support 

Welfare support on site 

Sabbatical scheme 

SAMS Group wants to meet the aims and commitments set out in its Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity and Dignity & Respect policies. This includes not discriminating under the Equality Act 2010 and building an accurate picture of the make-up of our recruitment and workforce in encouraging equality and diversity.

We collect equal opportunities monitoring data on applicants and staff to monitor our progress in promoting equality and to inform any changes that may be needed to our policies, practices and services as well as for any statutory monitoring purposes required. 

All information will be treated in accordance with the UK GDPR regulations and our GDPR policy and the data used for statistical monitoring will be anonymised and published in a way that does not allow individuals to be identified. 

Your equal opportunities information will not form part of any selection process and will not be disclosed to the selection panel.

The organisation needs your help and co-operation to enable it to do this but filling in the form below is voluntary.


Our Vision  

We strive to be a world-class marine science organisation that underpins regional, national and international policy, and societal action to secure healthy and sustainable oceans. As part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, we also play an important role in the cultural life of our region and in educating the next generation. 


Our Values  

Our values underpin all that we do and include respect, responsiveness, commitment, relevance, excellence and independence 

Our outlook is collaborative – we work with partners in academia, business, government, regulatory bodies, voluntary organisations nationally and internationally. We are diverse in our science, our people and the challenges we tackle; we are global in perspective, operations, networks and relevance; and creative in our research, education, commercial contracts, communication and internal processes.  

Check out our 2020-2025 strategy

SAMS Annual Report 2021

Oban is a great place to live, study, work and visit.  

There’s more to Oban that you might think. A small coastal university town with around 8,500 people, Oban has a thriving tourist industry, particularly in the summer months. Its growing student population and its position as a rural hub in the Scottish west Highlands means the town provides more facilities and services than its size would suggest. 

Oban is connected via trains and buses to the main Scottish population centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh (both of which have international airports). A small airport at nearby Connel and the busy ferry port connect the town to many of the diverse Hebridean islands, which is why some people call this town the Gateway to the Isles.  

The town has a hospital, a high school, numerous primary schools, nurseries, a police station, a full-time fire station, a modern leisure centre, a choice of large supermarkets (including Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, M&S), a book shop, public library and many other shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. With its seaside location and unique access to the freshest of seafood, Oban is known as the seafood capital of Scotland with several seafood restaurants, fishmongers and seafood ‘shacks’ around the town.  

Oban is steeped in history and culture. The town is home to the world-famous Oban whisky distillery and the native Gaelic language is well represented through a dedicated civic centre and community choral singing and traditional music. The newly renovated Rockfield Centre is a new cultural hub in town offering a range of arts and heritage events, workshops and activities. You’ll often stumble across a ‘session’ of local musicians playing traditional Scottish music in various pubs too. The View is a new venue, bar and function room with a stunning waterfront terrace overlooking Oban harbour across to the Isle of Kerrera. It offers ceilidhs, live music, club nights and a programme of events and functions. 

The town hall (Corran Halls) hosts touring and local cultural performances, festivals, fairs and conferences. There is also a busy two-screen modern cinema screening a variety of films and events for all ages every week. Mossfield stadium hosts the traditional sport of shinty, as well as the annual Argyllshire Gathering, Oban’s Highland Games event, every year and has previously been home to Oban Live outdoor music concert.  

The stunning scenery offers access to many outdoor pursuits, from sailing, sea kayaking, diving, wild swimming and stand-up paddle boarding to rock-climbing and “Munro-bagging” which is climbing Scotland’s highest mountain ranges. Oban’s sandy beaches such as Ganavan, which is connected to Dunbeg near SAMS by a cycle path, and Tralee can be enjoyed year-round. But there are many more hidden beaches, rocky shores and coves to explore too!  

Just an hour’s drive north is Fort William where you will find the UK’s tallest mountain Ben Nevis and Nevis Range Mountain Resort, a family friendly destination offering skiing and snowsports, mountain gondola rides, tree adventure activities and excellent mountain biking. Fort William currently hosts the Mountain Bike World Cup every year. And just 45 minutes north from Oban you will find the Ice Factor climbing centre, the world’s biggest indoor ice climbing wall as well as indoor rock-climbing walls with 135+ routes.

Less than an hour south is Kilmartin Glen, with ca 350 Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments and with Kilmartin Museum interpreting and conserving both the archaeological and the natural heritage of the area (re-opening 2023).

Lay member to the Finance Sub-Committee of the Board of Trustees


Useful links

Love Oban 

Wild About Argyll  

What to do in and around Oban – SAMS Student Blog  

Argyll and Bute Council  

Wee Walk Oban  


Read the what colleagues who joined us only recently have to say about relocating to and working at SAMS.


Dr Tim Szewczyk: Ecological Modeller

The staff at SAMS worked hard to make my family’s international move to Oban smooth, from beginning the visa application process to finding housing and childcare. Once I arrived, my colleagues helped me get acquainted with the projects I joined and introduced me to the ecosystems I would be working in. I’m currently working on ecological and statistical models related to kelp population dynamics, sea lice dispersal, harmful algal bloom prediction, and fish health. I find myself motivated and refreshed by the degree of direct applicability in the research at SAMS and impressed by the extent of local and international partnerships with private, governmental, and academic organizations. The atmosphere at SAMS is extremely positive and collaborative, and I appreciate the effort put into leveraging disparate skills and knowledge to produce more insightful, comprehensive, and relevant research.  More...


Dr Laura Ferguson: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Marine Social Science

I’m a marine social science PDRA at SAMS and I work on a range of projects with social science elements.I am currently working on aquaculture and marine renewable energy projects.  I also have a background in protected areas, cultural heritage and tourism.  What I enjoy most about working at SAMS is the variety in my role.  This gives me the opportunity to prove myself across a range of different aspects of academia and is extending my knowledge across a variety of marine industries.  I love having the opportunity to challenge myself through contributing in so many areas.  I joined SAMS in June 2021, during the requirement for home working.  I have enjoyed meeting my co-workers online and some in person when I have been in for teaching, and look forward to meeting everyone else in person soon.  Everyone has been very friendly, which has helped me settle in despite the unusual circumstances of starting out with remote working.  I think SAMS has a good working culture that fosters strong working relationships and collaboration.  More...


Stewart McAllister: Maintenance, Grounds and Supports Assistant

Aged 21 I joined SAMS in August 2021 as part of the facilities team, in the trades support assistant role which I got through the government kickstart scheme. So far I’ve learned a wide variety of skills such as general building and ground maintenance, electrical fitting and wiring, joinery skills, fencing, and a whole lot more. We are working towards multiple projects, such as refurbishing the old directorate with the goal to turn it into the new Seaweed Academy.  It’s been very enjoyable so far and it was easy for me to fit into the team due to the supportive nature of my colleagues and everyone else at SAMS. Having a job with good variety and a wide range of learning opportunities was what I wanted and that’s why this job appealed to me so much. Following a successful 6-month probation period I’ve recently started working full time in facilities and I’m loving it, every day presents a new challenge and another chance to further my knowledge and practical skills. 


Shannon Lafferty: Marine Support Scientist  

Most of my time is spent working on the Toxic Phytoplankton Monitoring Programme. This regulatory monitoring programme is conducted by SAMS under contract by Food Standards Scotland. We process water samples from up to 40 different classified shellfish growing sites in Scottish waters and analyse them using light microscopy to identify and enumerate 7 toxic phytoplankton species.  

I enjoy my role at SAMS as it allows me to experience a wide range of technical skills and take on new responsibilities which make me a useful, well-rounded member of the Technical Pool. I studied my undergraduate degree at SAMS from 2015 to 2019 and I was quickly drawn into the world of phytoplankton. I am extremely lucky to be able to work and continue to study in the field.  

Since starting my studies to working as a Support Scientist full-time, SAMS has always felt like a second home. There are so many different research areas to get involved in as well as great opportunities to grow your skills repertoire. Described as the University on the Beach, you can’t go far wrong. Shake off the stress with a quick dip or walk around the castle grounds and come back to start an exciting, innovative project. I feel very fulfilled in my role at SAMS and I can’t wait to see what personal developments and career growth I can make in coming year.  More...


Amy Gibb: Talent Aquisition and HR Administrator

After graduating in June 2021, I was desperate to commit full-time to a role related to my Human Resource Management degree. I started with SAMS in October 2021 as Talent Acquisition & HR Administrator as a maternity cover for 12 months. From my first day, the level of support and encouragement I’ve received from other colleagues has been amazing, even whilst working remotely due to COVID-19. I’m able to put my knowledge from my degree to use every day whilst also learning new skills as I go along. Due to my contract coming to an end in October 2022, SAMS is keen to help me learn as much as I can during these 12 months to give me the best start to my career in HR as possible; I couldn’t have asked for a better team to have joined. 


Cat Ravenhill: Administrative Assistant in SAMS Enterprise

I joined SAMS Enterprise in September 2021 through the Kickstart scheme, on a 6-month contract. I have had a great experience, especially due to the supportive and friendly office environment where, from day one, I felt like I was fully part of the team. Whilst working at SAMS Enterprise, I have learned so many new skills whilst being able to, and encouraged to, develop existing skills. My Kickstart contract comes to an end at the start of March, and I am excited to have the opportunity to extend my employment here at SAMS Enterprise, as it really is the best workplace that I could have hoped to work in. 

What makes SAMS so special?