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New Teaching Facility Opened In Scotland

Education & academia

SCOTLAND, UK - A six million euro teaching development has opened on the Scottish west coast.

The Duke of Gloucester braved challenging winter weather conditions earlier in the week to open an inspiring new teaching facility on the Scottish west coast. The six million Euro development brings state-of-the-art facilities to the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), a partner of the UHI Millennium Institute. The building will be named after Sheina Marshall, one of Scotland’s leading female marine scientists who worked at the Scottish Marine Biological Association (forerunner of the Scottish Association for Marine Science) for over 50 years.

The building was funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (£2.382M), the European Regional Development Fund (£2.265M) and the Scottish Funding Council (£1.424M).

The existing world-class marine institute at SAMS was completed in 2004 and houses approximately 140 staff, but was custom-built for research.

SAMS director Professor Laurence Mee said: “to accommodate the rapidly growing number of students studying marine science courses, we needed this new facility. It provides undergraduate and postgraduate students, and professionals on tailored professional development courses, with the space to learn.”

“Scotland's seas provide a major potential for developing a stronger marine-based economy. We have much of the necessary knowledge and there is willingness to engage but there is a significant skills gap. We hope to attract up to 800 people to our courses by the middle of the decade. This outstanding new teaching facility is a critical step in implementing this strategy.”

Whilst Oban sits beneath a pool of blue sky, transport links to the south and east are severely disrupted by early winter snow. The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Michael Russell, has been forced to send his apology, saying: “The new Sheina Marshall Building will allow SAMS to become a major education provider of marine science and will provide benefits for the local area, the marine science sector and Scotland as a whole. Scottish Higher education is famous throughout the world. For more than 500 years Scotland has had a strong and successful education tradition. Today we are building on this.”

Paul Griffen, Divisional Construction Director for Barr Construction who delivered the building, said: “SAMS has positioned itself as one of the UK’s leading marine research organisations. In order to remain a leader in its sector it was vital it had a first-class centre to accommodate its extensive research and teaching work.

“After almost 12 months of construction work we are delighted to have successfully delivered a state-of-the-art facility with excellent green credentials. We are sure the new centre will not only benefit SAMS, but also the local community and economy.”