St Andrews given royal seal of approval

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A WORLD-LEADING Scottish research unit has won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its contribution to the governance and protection of the oceans.

The Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews is among the winners in the Diamond Jubilee Round of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education.

A total of 18 universities and three colleges were presented with prizes at a Diamond Jubilee Honours Ceremony attended by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace.

St Andrews, currently celebrating its 600th Anniversary, is the only Scottish university to receive a prize, which recognises excellence in higher education and research.

Based at the East Sands, St Andrews, the SMRU is part of the University’s School of Biology and Scottish Oceans Institute. It operates from the tropics to the poles and maintains a particular focus on the UK’s seas. Its academic staff and graduate team specialise in research on marine mammals - primarily seals, whales and dolphins – using innovative monitoring techniques.

The sea mammals which SMRU monitor provide a unique and sensitive early warning system to track and measure a range of factors concerned with the sustainability of human exploitation of the seas.

Principal, Professor Louise Richardson, said: “We are enormously proud of the staff of the Sea Mammal Research Unit and delighted that the quality and international significance of their research has been recognised by this prestigious award.

“SMRU is one of a number of examples of Scottish universities leading the world. In our 600th year it is deeply gratifying for St Andrews to receive this honour.”