The UK’s Minister for the Constitution, Chris Skidmore MP, has formally presented the University of Southampton with a Royal Warrant signed by Her Majesty the Queen, officially conferring Her Majesty’s recognition with the title of the Regius Professor of Ocean Sciences.
Regius Professorships are rare and prestigious awards. This award was bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of the University’s international leadership in ocean science and the maritime economy to mark her 90th birthday. Southampton also hosts the Regius Professors of Computer Science with both titles being entirely unique to the University.
After presenting the Royal Warrant the Minister was given a tour of the world-class facilities at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) on the University’s Waterfront Campus joined by Professor Rachel Mills, Dean of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and Professor Mark Spearing, the University’s Vice-President (Research and Enterprise).
Mr Skidmore said: “It is my great pleasure to present the Royal Warrant establishing the Chair of the Regius Professorship of Ocean Sciences at the University of Southampton. The Royal Warrant is an historical document conferring Her Majesty The Queen’s official recognition of exceptionally high quality in research and teaching.
“I am here to celebrate the achievements of the University of Southampton and the remarkable progress you have made in the field of Ocean Sciences including the 50th anniversary of the first appointment of a Professor of Physical Oceanography, and the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Southampton Oceanography Centre [now NOCS] by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh,” Mr Skidmore continued.
“Your multidisciplinary institutes, bringing together expertise across a range of fields, has yielded amazing results. From the coast to the deep sea, the work you’ve done has shone a light on the mysteries of the ocean – an ever more urgent task as the natural world changes at a rapid pace around us.”
Professor Rachel Mills, Dean of Natural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Southampton, said: “The award of the Regius Professorship of Ocean Sciences is recognition of the University of Southampton’s global status in ocean and earth science and the maritime economy. The National Oceanography Centre Southampton and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute represents a research and teaching environment with real critical mass that is based on core principles of outstanding scientific endeavour, education and training of the next generation of talent for the UK and beyond, and the application of research knowledge for societal and industrial benefit. All of these qualities are represented through this Regius Professorship.”
Forged through partnership between the University of Southampton and the Natural Environment Research Council, the National Oceanography Centre Southampton is located on the University’s Waterfront Campus and brings together over 500 researchers and support staff drawn from physics, chemistry, biology, geoscience and engineering in one purpose-built structure.
Based at NOCS, the University’s programme in Ocean and Earth Science is the UK’s top marine science programme and among the top few programmes in earth and environmental science by every measure (REF 2014).
The University of Southampton has now initiated a global search for the Regius Professor in Ocean Sciences. “We seek a highly accomplished individual with an outstanding international track record in any area of ocean sciences” said Professor Paul Wilson, Chair of the Search Committee, emphasizing the breadth and strength in depth of research at Southampton in the ocean and maritime sector.