Millport remains open

Jeanine Raw

The University Marine Biological Station at Millport is to remain open, following a £3.5 million redevelopment deal with the Field Studies Council (FSC).

As of January 1st, 2014, all physical assets of the station, including land, facilities and buildings and assets will be transferred to the FSC, a charitable organisation which specialises in environmental studies and education.

The deal was struck in June following months of correspondence between the Station, the FSC and Ayrshire Council. It had been threatened with closure since 2012, but many had raised concerns about the effects this would have on the island of Great Cumbrae and the availability of environmental education facilities in west Scotland.

The Station is used by undergraduates and postgraduates at Glasgow University, as well as 30 other international education institutes for training in marine biology fieldwork. The station will be open to students as normal and facilities for third and fourth year students will run without interruption in the coming year.

Craig Bisset, an infection biology graduate who spent time at UMBSM for a marine microbiology fieldwork course commented: “It’s fantastic news that the Station is staying open. With this, it will continue to strive and be an interactive learning environment for students of the future. I enjoyed my time as an undergraduate there.”

It was considered likely the Station would have to close due to lack of vital funding. The University of London, who have owned the station since the 1970s, lost the £400,000 grant necessary to support it.

A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said “We are pleased that the Millport facility is to continue.”