Media Release: Leading Argyll researchers recognised by university


THREE researchers at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) UHI have been recognised for their contribution to the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Professors Angela Hatton, Keith Davidson and Kenneth Black have been awarded personal chairs (professorships) by the institution. Personal chairs are one of the highest professional accolades in academia. The university has also awarded the eminent Cambridge-based oceanographer, Michael Meredith, an honorary professorship.

Professor Angela Hatton (44) from Taynuilt is a senior lecturer and researcher at SAMS UHI, a partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands. She specialises in investigating marine biogases and was nominated for her ground-breaking work on the role micro-organisms play in the production and removal of environmentally important gases.

Her research has attracted £2.3 million of funding over the last 13 years and could have important implications for our understanding of the complexity of marine systems and the role they play in earth’s climate.

Professor Hatton’s personal chair also recognises her wider contributions to the university where she lectures on the marine science BSc and supervises research students.

Professor Keith Davidson (46) is head of SAMS UHI’s microbial and molecular biology department. Specialising in marine algae, the Taynuilt-based academic was nominated for his research into harmful phytoplankton and their potential to impact human health.

The work helps to prevent illness and guard against the loss of commercially produced shellfish and finfish. Professor Davidson has attracted over £14 million of funding and published more than 50 journal articles.

He is a fellow of the Society of Biology and a member of the council of the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae. He has worked at SAMS UHI since 1998 and was the first programme leader of the university’s marine science BSc.

Professor Kenneth Black (49) from Argyll, a principal investigator in marine ecology, has worked at SAMS UHI for 22 years. His personal chair recognises the role he has played in developing SAMS UHI’s and the university’s reputation in aquaculture-environment interactions.

Professor Black has published 59 journal papers, contributed to numerous books, received over 50 research grants and supervised 12 PhD students.

The university has also made polar ocean expert, Michael Meredith, an honorary Professor. The professorship recognises his 13-year career at British Antarctic Survey, a Cambridge-based organisation which carries out much of Britain’s scientific research on the Antarctic continent.

Professor Meredith’s work has made an important contribution to our understanding of polar region waters, particularly circulation around the Antarctic. The eminent scientist says he will “dedicate a significant part of his time to working with SAMS UHI and the university on common research endeavours and is committed to enhancing the research profile of the Highlands and Islands”.

University of the Highlands and Islands principal and vice-chancellor, James Fraser, said: “These awards are a fitting way to recognise Professor Hatton’s, Professor Black’s, Professor Davidson’s and Professor Meredith’s commitment to the advancement of scientific knowledge through research. Their dedication and contribution to our knowledge of the marine environment is an inspiration to others.”

SAMS UHI director, Professor Laurence Mee, added: “This is a major accolade for four extraordinary scientists whose work has been cited by more than 5500 people across the world and who cover a huge range of marine science and its applications.

“The scope of their work ranges from generating fundamental knowledge of planetary processes to optimising the potential of aquaculture in an environmentally sustainable manner. SAMS is proud of its world class scientists and their role in making UHI a distinctive university that contributes to the economic and social development in the region.”

To find out more about the University of the Highlands and Islands and its courses, visit


Notes to editors:

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a partnership of thirteen further and higher education colleges, specialist colleges and research institutions, distributed throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. They are bound together through constitutional, management and academic structures, and coordinated through an executive office.

There are currently over 7,000 students studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with the university.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is the only university based in the Highlands and Islands. Its purpose is to have a transformational impact on the development and prospects for the region, its people and its communities.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a limited company registered in Scotland No. 148203. Scottish charity No. SC022228. Registered office: 12B, Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5SQ.

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