South West a growing marine ‘powerhouse’ as Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory celebrate honorary appointments

Marine ecosystem

The decade-long partnership between the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory went from strength to strength this year, with a bumper number of staff from both institutions receiving honorary appointments.

The partnership allows for and facilitates collaborative work on research topics including marine plastics, ocean carbon, geoengineering and Earth observation to supporting the next generation of marine scientists.

Four University of Exeter staff have been appointed Visiting Fellows at PML, with the aim of facilitating collaboration and new ideas. They are:

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellowships, which help to support Early Career Researchers, were awarded to:

Honorary Professorships

They join existing University of Exeter staff with PML fellowships:

This year also saw a number of University of Exeter Honorary Professorships for PML staff either conferred or continued. These voluntary arrangements allow esteemed individuals from other institutions and businesses to cooperate with academic staff at the University of Exeter.

Honorary Associate Professorships

Professor Brendan Godley, Theme Lead for Exeter Marine and Director of Exeter’s Graduate School of Environment and Sustainability, celebrated the strength of the links between the institutions as evidence of the South West’s status as a “powerhouse for marine research and education.”
“I am delighted to have been awarded a Fellowship at Plymouth Marine Laboratory and look forward to helping to facilitate ever strong relationships between PML colleagues and staff and students at the University,” said Professor Godley.

“The strength of these linkages further underlines that, along with Plymouth University and the Marine Biological Association, the southwest of England represent a globally significant powerhouse for marine research and education. This was clearly evidenced by the prominent roles played by our scientists at the recent UN Climate Change Conference.”

Speaking about the value of the awards and ongoing collaborations between organisations, Professor Steve Widdicombe, Director of Science at PML, said:

“Honorary positions and fellowships help staff develop stronger collaborations with other organisations and scientists and these positions help recognise a long and productive relationship between the University of Exeter and PML.”

Other comments about the Professorships and Fellowships

Professor Jamie Shutler, Professor of Earth Observation and Climate at the University of Exeter, said: “I was honoured to be invited to become a fellow of the world leading Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and I’m looking forward to collaborating on some new areas of research.”
Professor Hywel Williams, Professor of Environmental Data Science at the University of Exeter, said: “I am really pleased to be a PML Honorary Fellow. In my work at University of Exeter and leading the Joint Centre of Excellence in Environmental Intelligence, I often talk to PML researchers about how data science and AI can be used in marine sciences. A number of new collaborations and PhD studentships are starting to emerge from these interactions and I can see lots of opportunities to grow in this area over the next few years.”

Dr Sarah Nelms, Lecturer at the University of Exeter, said: “Having done my PhD at PML, under the excellent supervision of Professor Pennie Lindeque, alongside supervisors Professors Brendan Godley and Tamara Galloway at the University of Exeter, I saw first-hand how the collaboration between the two organisations benefits both postgraduate students and research. Now, as a lecturer at Exeter, I very much value the opportunity to maintain a close working relationship with colleagues at PML through my visiting researcher fellowship. We are able to continue working as a team to generate new ideas and drive our research forwards.”
Dr Zara Botterell, Research Associate at the University of Exeter, said: “The PML postdoctoral fellowship has allowed me to maintain contact with my network, helped to publish papers from my PhD, and has also led to further exciting collaborations post-PhD.”
Dr Bob Brewin, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Exeter & UKRI Future Leader Fellow, said: “My honorary position has allowed me to continue to work closely scientists at PML, many of whom at the forefront of satellite and autonomous ocean monitoring.”Professor Pennie Lindeque, Head of Science for Marine Ecology and Biodiversity at PML, said: “This will be my fifth year of holding an honorary Professorship with the University of Exeter, and I’m extremely grateful for the position. From my experience the Honorary Professorship has allowed me to continue to develop excellent collaboration with colleagues at the University at a greater depth than may otherwise have been possible. The collaboration with colleagues ranges across areas from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at Penryn to Biosciences at Streatham, and a more recent collaboration with colleagues from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. I’m immensely proud of the awards we have jointly won and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated working on joint research projects, but for me, perhaps the most rewarding activity is the joint supervision and mentoring of PhD students over the years. Being part of the career path of these amazing individuals has been thoroughly inspiring, they’re bound for great things.”

Professor Helen Findlay, Biological Oceanographer at PML, said: “I am privileged to have been awarded this Honorary Professorship at University of Exeter. I have been working with colleagues from the University for over a decade, and this position consolidates that collaboration. I am excited about the opportunities for enhancing links with the University of Exeter and personally grateful for the additional recognition this position affords, particularly when representing our institutions at high level meetings such as the UNFCCC COPs.”

Professor Ana Queirós, Marine and Climate Change Ecologist at PML, said: “As a collaborator of the University for best of part of 10 years, I have been honoured to receive this honorary Professorship. It has given me the impetus to collaborate more closely, through a new research award, with colleagues in the Department of Geography, in the areas of climate change and ocean planning. I am also in the process of developing a new PhD project with colleagues in the Biosciences Department, to capitalise on synergies around the areas of marine conservation and blue carbon, and the excellent tradition of high calibre students at Exeter, highlighted by a recent joint master student who went on to pursue a PhD in a distinguished American University. All an all, it has been a delight to join the University team, and to be able to fly Exeter flag within high level research contributions to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change.”

Professor Matthew Palmer, Head of Science for Digital Innovation & Marine Autonomy at PML, said: “This is a great way to demonstrate the close working relationships between PML and University of Exeter teams working together with cutting edge environmental digital science skills and technologies, and it’s a personal honour to have this partnership recognised in this way.”