Station essential

The University Marine Biological Station Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, is a key component of the biological teaching and research capability of Scotland.

The University Marine Biological Station Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, is a key component of the biological teaching and research capability of Scotland.

As lecturers and researchers who rely on the Millport station to teach our undergraduate and postgraduate students, we are deeply concerned at the announcement from the University of London and the Higher Education Funding Council for England that the future of the Millport station is under threat.

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We urge academic and political leaders to work towards securing its future as an inspiring centre for marine science in Scotland.

The First Minister, answering questions in parliament at Holyrood on 20 December, was poorly briefed when he mistakenly asserted that the station “is not actually used by any Scottish university at present”, and thus that closure was not a significant matter for Scottish educational concern.

In fact, field courses run at the station are a core part of the Biology programmes of the Universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Glasgow, the West of Scotland, Stirling and Edinburgh Napier. Many thousands of Scottish students have attended and been inspired by the facilities of the station. We are convinced of its value in transforming theoretical ideas into practical science experience.

The station caters for more than a thousand students each year, more than any other marine fieldwork centre in the UK, including secondary and primary school groups from across Scotland.

While it is a unique UK-wide resource, more than half the students attending in 2012 were from Scottish institutions.

Loss of the Millport station would result in irreparable damage to the educational infrastructure of Scotland, reduce the diversity and reach of educational experience available to students, and diminish our ability to produce the leading scientists and opinion-formers of tomorrow. We urge rapid and effective action to ensure its survival.

(Prof) Mark Blaxter, (Prof) Tom Little, (Prof) Graham Stone, (Prof) Andrew Rambaut, (Dr) Per Smiseth, (Dr) Nick Colegrave

The University of 
Edinburgh

(Prof) James Mair, (Prof) Teresa Fernandes, (Prof) Martin Wilkinson, (Dr) Joanne Porter, (Prof) J Murray Roberts, (Dr) Alastair Lyndon, (Dr) Colin Moore, (Dr) Daniel 
Harries, (Dr) Mark 
Hartl

Heriot-Watt University

(Dr) Isabel Coombs, (Dr) David Bailey, (Dr) Dominick McCafferty, (Dr) Mary F Tatner, (Dr) Ashley Le Vin, (Dr) Richard Burchmore

The University of Glasgow

(Prof) Roddy Williamson, (Dr) Katherine Sloman, (Dr)Paul Tatner, (Dr) Richard Thacker

The University of the West of Scotland

(Prof) Brian Austin, (Dr)Darren Green, (Dr) Andrew Davie, (Dr) Bruce McAdam, (Prof) Lindsay Ross, (Dr) Kim Jauncey

The University of Stirling

(Prof) Mark Darlison, (Prof) Mark Huxham, (Dr)Linda Gilpin, (Dr) Rob Briers, (Dr) Alison Craig, (Dr) Karen Diele, (Dr) Jason Gilchrist, (Dr) Paul Ward, (Dr)Sonia Rueckert, (Dr) Gary Hutchison

Edinburgh Napier University