Millport marine researchers start redundancy talks

REDUNDANCY consultations have started at Scotland’s threatened marine research laboratory as efforts to find new funding to save it from closure continue.

Staff at the University Marine Biology Station at Millport (UMBSM) on the Isle of Cumbrae were “devastated” as the University of London began the formal consultation process this week.

Around 30 science and administration jobs are at risk after the Higher Education Funding Council for England withdrew £400,000 in annual funding from the University of London to pay for the station.

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One member of staff at Millport, who did not want to be named, told the Scotsman today: “We are devastated. It’s not just the loss of the station but the effect that will have on the fragile island economy here.

“We have a lot of support from the local community and there are lots of things going on to try to save the station so there is still hope.”

A petition calling on ministers to save the marine research base, which is used by Scottish universities, has attracted more than 10,000 signatures so far.

A University of London spokeswoman said it “continued to welcome any suggestions from interested parties to help secure a long term viable future for UMBSM, either as an academic facility or in some other capacity.

“It is available for discussions at short notice wherever appropriate with local, regional and national Scottish interests.”

The university board of trustees will take a final vote on whether or not to close the station when the redundancy consultation ends next month.

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