About the Scottish Association for Marine Science

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is Scotland's premier independent marine science organisation generating new knowledge for the benefit of the marine environment and society since 1884.

Alongside our research activities we have world class taught and research-based education programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels – mostly through our partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands. We also operate a commercial subsidiary. All this activity is delivered by c 150 dedicated staff from our base in Oban on the west coast of Scotland.

What do we do? We study how the marine environment works, how and why it is changing and how we could use and conserve it better. Then we communicate and promote what we find for the public good. Our research is grouped into three key themes:

  • Blue Economy (aquaculture, marine biotechnology, ocean energy, fisheries)
  • Ocean Processes (ocean currents, ecosystem function, Arctic seas, biogeochemistry)
  • Changing Coasts (climate change, marine conservation, society & the sea, industrial impacts)

Why do we do it? To have healthy and productive seas and oceans that support life on Earth and continue to provide us with resources. Also to better understand our planet and our place on it.

How do we do it?  Our budget of c £11M is made up to 70% from research grants and contracts, 10% from education and 20% from our commercial work. The new understanding we generate is shared with society, policy makers, business and the next generation so that it can become useful and improve practices.

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