New marine lab to be built in St Andrews

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The University of St Andrews is to build a new £10 million marine laboratory.

The new laboratory will replace the Gatty Marine Facility at East Sands.

In a press release, the University said that the new marine biology research facility “will help cement Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in oceanic research and species protection,” while also describing the current facility as “outdated.”

St Andrews has commissioned designs for a new 2,256 square metre research building and a ‘smart’ aquarium that will be the most technologically advanced in the UK.

The new facility will provide a global hub for marine research focused on conservation and understanding the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans.

It will be the permanent base of the Scottish Oceans Institute which includes the world leading Sea Mammal Research Unit, and the executive office of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS).

The modern marine biological research being undertaken at St Andrews exploits advances in remote sensing, DNA technology, microscopy and analytical capabilities that rely on a new kind of aquarium.

The building will also incorporate a Public Outreach Centre, taking advantage of its location on the Fife Coastal Path.

Professor Garry Taylor, Acting Principal at St Andrews, said, “The rebuilding of the Gatty is a high priority in our strategic plan. Marine research has taken place here for over 100 years, but its potential has now substantially outgrown the reality of its present facilities.

“By investing in a new state of the art facility, we are investing in the highest quality of international marine research and the reputation of St Andrews and Scotland as leaders and pioneers in this increasingly important branch of science.”

The marine research carried out at St Andrews was rated to have the highest impact of all marine research in the UK in the last Research Excellence Framework assessment published in 2014.

The University will apply for planning permission for the development early this year.

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