Future of marine science facility

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The Scottish Government will work with partners on a detailed investigation of potential solutions to protect the jobs at the Millport marine science base.

This follows a productive meeting in Edinburgh, where key partners were updated on progress around the potential options and made a commitment to further work, ahead of the University of London court meeting on March 20 which may decide on closure of the base. If that decision is taken the closure would not take effect until late in 2013.

After the meeting, which he chaired, Education Secretary Michael Russell said:

“There is no doubt that the marine science facility in Millport plays a key role in the local economy, providing around 30 highly skilled jobs as well as attracting people to the island.

“It is crucial that everyone with an interest in the base works together to do everything possible to secure the jobs, following the threat of closure from the University of London. I am pleased that good progress has been made on a number of key options since the last meeting.

“Today we agreed to undertake a short, focused and outcome-orientated investigation of several options and these will be considered over the next few weeks. The group will meet again before the end of March.

“All partners, including North Ayrshire Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS), the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Marine Scotland and the base itself were positive about the future and determined to solve the problems that would arise if closure was the final decision of the University of London.”