A decade after first embarking on groundbreaking marine research, the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI) has a new place to call home.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the new SOI building on Monday, a facility overlooking East Sands Beach, founded on the site of the older Gatty Marine Laboratory.
In a speech commemorating the occasion, Sturgeon said, “St Andrews has an excellent reputation for world class research and developing inter-national collaborations.
“The Scottish Oceans Institute very much helps reinforce that reputation and its work on marine science will help ensure that our marine environment continues to be well managed while sharing learning and best practice.”
The new £16.5 million building, which features a cutting-edge aquarium, facilities for research and teaching, and a visitor centre, will host university staff and visiting professors studying a variety of fields related to marine science, serving as a hub for a global network of academic inquiry.
The new building will host the University’s world-class marine science program, including dozens of researchers pursuing research related to marine ecology, the effects of climate change on oceanic environments and more.
The Institute focuses on interdisciplinary research, incorporating leading research cutting across multiple scientific disciplines.
A University spokesperson said, “Research interests range from the deep oceans to the coasts and from the people who use and interact with the sea to the biological and physical processes that make the oceans function.”
The building stands on the sit eof the Gatty Marine Laboratory, the University’s previous award-winning research centre founded in 1896. Since its inception, the marine science program grew to a world leader in fields like sea mammal research, evolutionary genomics, and more.
One of the program’s most well-known departments, the Sea Mammal Research Unit, moved to the university in 1996 from Cambridge, and the Scottish Oceans Institute was founded in 2009.
Professor Sally Mapstone, the University’s principal, said of the new centre, “The facilities at the new centre of excellence will further enhance St Andrews’ world standing in the field of marine sciences research and advanced teaching, and will provide wonderful opportunities too, for our local community and our visitors.”