Scotland's marine future science

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Islands and Land Reform, Mairi Gougeon at the launch of Scotland’s Marine Science and Innovation Strategy

New Strategy Emphasises Science and Innovation

Scotland’s Government has given its commitment to unlocking the full potential of its marine environment and believes it can take a significant step forward with the release of the Marine Science and Innovation Strategy.

Aligned with the Blue Economy Vision to 2045, the strategy underscores the pivotal role of science and innovation in informing sustainable marine management decisions.

The blueprint, recently unveiled by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Islands and Land Reform, Mairi Gougeon, is poised to leverage cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence, holographic cameras, drones, submersibles, and non-destructive environmental DNA (eDNA). This tech-driven approach aims to model and comprehend Scotland’s marine environment with a focus on fostering economic growth, preserving the environment, and benefiting coastal and island communities.

On the release of the Strategy Gougeon said:

“Over a century of science, data and evidence has already shaped our understanding of Scotland’s seas and rivers. Our commitment to science and innovation is not just for exploration but to make a tangible and positive impact for the marine environment, our economy and our cultural heritage.

“This ambitious new strategy will give us further evidence to respond to biodiversity loss and the impact of climate change, and to make the most of the opportunities our marine and freshwater environments have for our communities.”

Gougeon highlighted the strategy’s dual purpose: not only to explore Scotland’s seas but to actively contribute to positive impacts on the marine environment, the economy, and cultural heritage. With a rich history of over a century of scientific exploration, the strategy reaffirms Scotland’s commitment to harnessing the potential of marine and freshwater environments.

The strategy’s launch coincided with the formal opening of the Helen Ogilvie Hub at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen. Named after one of the laboratory’s pioneering female scientists from 1911, Helen Ogilvie, who studied plankton in Scottish waters, the hub serves as a symbolic nod to Scotland’s legacy in marine science.

Key points from the strategy include mapping Scotland’s marine and freshwater science and innovation capabilities, fostering diversity and inclusion with a new Scientist-in-Charge pathway, and reinforcing the commitment to impactful research outputs that support sustainable management of marine and river ecosystems.

As the Scottish Government charts a course toward a more resilient and innovative marine future, the strategy’s unveiling marks a significant milestone in harnessing the potential of Scotland’s marine resources for the benefit of its communities and the wider environment.

 

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