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Professor Neil Gow FRS, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact) at the University of Exeter and PML’s Chief Executive, Professor Stephen de Mora. Credit: PML

Exeter and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory strengthen commitment to world-leading marine science research

Two of the South West’s leading environmental research organisations have strengthened their commitment to collaborating to address some of the key questions facing the sustainable future of the ocean.

Building on years of collaboration, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the University of Exeter (UoE) today (January 29th) have announced a renewed, reinvigorated relationship that also reinforces the South West region as a global leader in pioneering marine science.

Past links between the two institutions have brought great success, including a wealth of pioneering research across a range of significant topics and projects, culminating recently in two prestigious NERC awards alongside the University of Plymouth, for world-leading marine microplastics research.

The institutions are co-owners of the Single Cell Genomics facility at PML, managed by Professor Mike Allen, who holds positions at both organizations. The facility represents a significant advance in the molecular analysis of organisms from the environment, and features the world’s fastest High-Speed Atomic Force Microscope.

Alongside their own facilities on the University’s campuses in Exeter and Cornwall, students also benefit from field work opportunities, boat access on the RV Plymouth Quest, and lab supervision at PML.

The two institutes also collaborate in GW4+ studentships, with a number of PhD students jointly supervised by leading PML and Exeter scientists. The next research training trip on the Quest is taking place in early February, when Exeter students will work alongside scientists from PML to learn essential collection and identification skills. 

The continuing partnership will enable both PML and Exeter to remain at the forefront of multidisciplinary marine science, from marine ecology and biodiversity, to Earth observation and remote sensing, to environmental and climate modelling. 

Professor Neil Gow FRS, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact) at the University of Exeter said: “This significant, long-standing partnership between Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory has already made some significant advances in our understanding of how to improve the future sustainability of the world’s oceans and marine habitats.

“There is a natural synergy between Exeter and PML not only in the pioneering research that is being carried out, but also our vision for the growth of world-class science in the South West region.

“This collaboration between the two partners has already made an outstanding contribution in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, and we look forward to the partnership bringing even more benefits to regional, national and worldwide marine studies.”

PML’s Chief Executive, Professor Stephen de Mora, is exceptionally pleased with the way the partnership has developed over the last 5 years: “This has been an excellent collaboration which has brought our two organizations even closer together to share expertise, experience and facilities. We have worked together on a range of projects which are designed to address some of society’s most pressing challenges. I am delighted that we are now renewing the Memorandum of Understanding that will pave the way to even more world-class scientific discovery. Our combined reputations and the science we have jointly carried out, the young scientists we have nurtured and the input we have had to a better understanding of, and potential future solutions for global marine environmental problems, enhances the southwest of England’s place on the world stage of scientific endeavour.”

Date: 29 January 2019