Opening of Scottish Oceans Institute

Tuesday 10 March 2009

A new institute which will help to lead research of Scotland’s oceans, assess the effects of climate change, monitor marine life and advise Government policy will open today. (Tuesday, 10th March)

The Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI) will be launched by University of St Andrews’ Principal Dr Louise Richardson, at a ceremony at the East Sands in St Andrews this morning.

The new institute, which will bring together over 300 staff from across the University of St Andrews, was officially established in January 2009 to promote interdisciplinary marine research.

SOI will lead Scottish research of the ecology and evolution of marine life, biodiversity, fisheries, climate change, the environmental effects of renewable energy, oil and gas, shipping and related industrial processes.

It will also examine new and more effective ways of managing human behaviour and activity that will contribute to the maintenance of sustained productivity in the oceans.

The Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr Louise Richardson, will unveil a new sign at the entrance to the Institute on the East Sands, St Andrews.

Dr Richardson said, “St Andrews has a long tradition of excellence in marine science that stretches back over 120 years. The creation of the Scottish Oceans Institute opens a new chapter in the development of marine science at St Andrews and in Scotland.

“The SOI will be linked closely with other marine scientists around Scotland in a way that will ensure that Scotland remains a major contributor to the exploration of global oceans.”

The creation of SOI is a response to the increasing significance of the oceans to the wealth and wellbeing of Scotland. It will help to underpin UK and Scottish Government Policy and offshore industry with sound advice about the seas around Scotland, especially at a time when Marine Bills are being introduced to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

Professor Ian Boyd, Director of the SOI, explained, “SOI will promote a unique combination of pure and applied research to build effective links between researchers and those who need the new information and ideas that come from the research. SOI will be structured to change quickly in its research focus to meet the needs of policy-makers, industry and the public.”

The SOI is a multidisciplinary centre involving the Schools of Biology, Geology & Geosciences and the School of Mathematics & Statistics. SOI builds upon the international success of the Gatty Marine Institute, the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), and Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM), all of which will be participating in SOI.

Professor David Paterson is Head of the School of Biology that is contributing most of the staff to the new institute.  He commented, “This initiative presents new opportunities for researchers to work more effectively together to address current issues in marine science and will also promote the development of the next generation of highly qualified marine scientists.”

The researchers’ interests extend from the study of deep oceans to coastal systems and from the people who use and interact with the sea to those researching the past, present and future biological and physical processes that make the oceans function.



The opening ceremony of the SOI will take place from 11am – 12noon on Tuesday, 10th March.

Professor Ian Boyd is available for interview on mobile: 0788 1760 799 or e-mail: [email protected]

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: [email protected]
Ref: SOI 10/03/09
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