Scottish Government sets out blueprint for marine science

Mairi Gougeon at the launch of the Scottish Government's Marine Science and Innovation Strategy

The Scottish Government has published its Marine Science and Innovation Strategy highlighting the crucial role of science and innovation in realising the full potential of the marine environment.

The Strategy – part of the Blue Economy Vision to 2045 – is intended as a blueprint for the Scottish Government to utilise the best available science, evidence and data for making informed marine management decisions that benefit the economy, environment and society, including coastal and island communities.

It also includes a commitment for innovation through using the latest technology, such as artificial intelligence, including holographic cameras, drones and submersibles, and non-destructive environmental DNA (eDNA), to model and understand Scotland’s marine environment.

The Strategy was presented to science, data, analysis and engineering stakeholders at the formal opening of the Helen Ogilvie Hub at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen. The hub is named after one of the laboratory’s first female scientists, who was appointed in 1911 and studied plankton in Scottish waters and their role in the marine food chain.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Islands and Land Reform Mairi 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.”

Marine Science and Innovation Strategy (Scottish Goverment)

The paper sets out the “mission” for the strategy as: “…to provide the scientific evidence and data for policies, regulatory and statutory duties that contribute to the delivery of long-term benefits to nature and the people of Scotland. We will provide science leadership across Scotland by entering into dynamic partnerships with collaborators from across Scotland, and internationally. By effectively and efficiently delivering this mission our aspiration is that our science, impactful research and data ensures that the marine and freshwater environment is healthy and vibrant and in balance with thriving business and communities.”

The Helen Ogilvie Hub opening event also featured a speech from Professor Selina Stead, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor for the Marine Management Organisation and Executive Dean of Environment at the University of Leeds.

Professor Selina Stead, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor for the Marine Management Organisation

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