Scottish Associate for Marine Science UHI (SAMS)

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About the employer

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is an independent, not-for-profit, marine research institute based near Oban on the west coast of Scotland.

SAMS is a registered company (SC009292) and a charitable organisation (009206). It is a partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS), and the United Nations University (UNU).

Founded in 1884, SAMS is Scotland’s oldest oceanographic institution and is governed as a learned society.

SAMS delivers marine research and education that aim to improve our understanding and sustainable use of the marine environment. We are an international marine research institute working on multi-disciplinary research themes that investigate marine renewable energy, Arctic Seas, dynamic ocean processes and people and the sea. We also provide a multitude of services to business through SAMS Research Services Ltd. We provide innovative higher education degrees and short training courses. To deliver our research and education activities we are supported by outstanding facilities, capabilities and infrastructure.

Our estate is called the Scottish Marine Institute and is made up of the following components

  • John Murray Building: our research hub including the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology, the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa, research aquaria, and a multitude of labs and conference/meeting rooms
  • Sheina Marshall Building: this new building is dedicated to education and incorporates the Ocean Explorer Centre, our visitor and outreach facility
  • Deep-sea lander development centre
  • Diving building hosting the National Facility for Scientific Diving
  • Pontoon and research vessels

We currently employ more than 160 staff. Our annual income of around £11M comes from a diverse range of funders, including the UK Natural Environment Research Council, the Scottish Funding Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, other government agencies, and the European Commission.

The Learned Society

The Scottish Association for Marine Science is a learned society with around 300 members for whom we organise a number of activities.

Mission statement

The SAMS mission is to deliver world-class marine science that supports society with innovative solutions to developing a sustainable relationship with the marine environment.

We deliver this mission through research, education, services to business, learned society activities and public engagement initiatives.


SAMS is ruled by an independent Council, chaired by the President, which is supported by a Board of Council (made up of a sub-group of Council members) and a number of committees (made of of Board members, some external contributors and senior employees). SAMS Council members are the non-executive directors of the Company.

Council members and the President are elected at the Annual General Meeting by the Association's membership. Council appoints the Director, who is accountable to Council. The Board has an advisory function for Council. SAMS business is conducted in accordance with the Articles and the Memorandum of Association.

A programme advisory board of international subject experts annually reviews the quality of our research.

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