Millport marine research station reopens
Centre’s future secured under management of Field Studies Council Scotland.
Millport’s Marine Biological Research Station is reopening under the management of the newly created Field Studies Council Scotland following partnership investment of more than £4 million.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell returned to the station for its official opening. The celebration also marked the creation of Field Studies Council Scotland which will now manage the centre, together with FSC’s existing centre in Perthshire, allowing pupils, students and researchers to carry on their invaluable work studying marine science.
The station, now known as FSC Millport, had been threatened with closure in 2012 when previous owners the University of London announced it was withdrawing funding.
Mr Russell said: “I am delighted to be able to return to Millport once again and meet the staff and students in such positive circumstances. Since the announcement of the closure in 2012, all of the partners – The Field Studies Council, North Ayrshire Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council – have worked tirelessly with us to ensure that this invaluable educational and research facility was not lost.
“Generations of school and university students have been taught at this facility and it is heartening that this excellent work will continue so that many more people can experience the residential classes and unique outdoor activities provided here.”
Field Studies Council is a leading provider of science, geography and cross curricular learning for all ages and has delivered open access courses in the western and northern islands of Scotland for 20 years.
Over the next five years FSC Millport will undergo a comprehensive programme of development and refurbishment to re-establish itself as the UK’s premiere marine teaching location.
Robert Lucas, FSC Chief Executive Officer, said:
“The investment in Millport ensures a new and sustainable future for the centre, building on its international reputation for marine science field teaching. We will be using all of our experience to provide exciting outdoor learning opportunities for people of all ages. The centre is also ideally located to act as a base for research on the Clyde Basin, and later this year will be hosting a research seminar.
“Today marks an important step for FSC in cementing our commitment to research and education in Scotland and maximising passion and understanding of the biodiversity and landscape.”
The funding is made up of £1.5m from North Ayrshire Council, £1m from the Scottish Government – including the Scottish Funding Council and £700,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise – with the remainder from a number of charitable trusts, academic organisations and private donations.
Field Studies Council (FSC) is an environmental education charity committed to helping people, discover, explore, understand and be inspired by the natural world. Its network of centres provides day and residential courses for all ages from young children to retired adults from schools and communities throughout the UK. It also reaches many others through its publications and community-based programmes. www.field-studies-council.org
FSC works with 16 Scottish university departments and more than 40 UK-wide institutions, including the centre at Millport.