Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland

Annual Science Meeting

5 - 7 December 2023

Technology & Innovation Centre, 99 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1RD

Scotland’s blue economy includes the marine, coastal and the inter-linked freshwater environment of Scotland, the different marine and maritime sectors it supports, and the people connected to it. It also encapsulates the legislation, policies, programmes and international commitments that determine its management, as well as the under-pinning scientific research that provides data and information for evidence-informed policy development and is used to evaluate our success.

Our twelfth annual conference discussed how to support the Blue Economy Vision for Scotland. The MASTS Annual Science Meeting is a cross-disciplinary event that brings together members of the marine science community, with the aim of promoting and communicating research excellence and forging new scientific collaborations. After hosting the ASM online for the past two years, we came back to being in-persona again!.

The first two days brought together expert plenary speakers and contributed talks, panel sessions and e-posters outlining the latest research and management practices that address key topics related to marine science and management in the face of global climate change. Alongside our general science sessions, the event included special topic sessions, and plenty of opportunities to network. The third day was devoted to workshops.

MASTS welcomed the following keynote speakers:

  • Mairi Gougeon (Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands) “A Blue Economy Vision for Scotland”
  • Professor Dickon Howell (Director, Howell Marine Consulting & Visiting Professor of Practice, Newcastle University) “INSITE and ECOWind “Creating impact in marine policy”
  • Lewis Coenen-Rowe (Creative Carbon Scotland) “Expanding Your Impact: The Benefit of Art-Science Collaborations”
Session Information - Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th


All abstracts that were presented have been combined here.

Individual session abstracts and information is below. 

There will be 7 general science sessions across the first two days of the conference. Abstracts can be accessed below for each session.

Papers were offered in any field of study applied to the usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques in the marine environment, including, but not exclusively, machine learning, computer vision, probabilistic modelling, single and multi-objective optimisation etc.

Read the abstracts here

Chair: Dr Rory Murray.

Talks are 15 minutes each and after them there will be a panel Q&A session, plus an informal discussion on key knowledge gaps in both research and application of new evidence. The information in this session will help explore future research needs under Scottish Government’s ScotMER programme.

Abstracts here

Abstracts were invited for 2 or 5 minute speed presentations or eposters. Submissions were could be in any field of study related to marine policy, management and governance, including, but not exclusively, fish, fisheries, marine mammal science, blue carbon, predictive modelling etc. Presentations from ECRs are particularly encouraged, and can focus on any stage of development from inception to results (including presentations from 1st and 2nd year PhD students still developing research ideas). As part of this session, there will also be a panel discussion after the presentations.

Access abstracts here

Papers were in the field of study related to multiple aquatic stressors, including, but not exclusively, chemical pollutants, noise, climate change, sewage, electrical fields, multi-variate analysis and modelling etc.

Access the abstracts here

Chair: Dr Lois Calder (Dean of Grad School)

Audience: All welcome!

We want all our postgraduate researchers to thrive and to make our community welcoming and supportive for people from diverse backgrounds.   We wish to invite postgraduates and supervisors interested in enhancing the culture of inclusion and belonging to attend this facilitated discussion.  This will be the first in a series of workshops around this topic for PGRs and supervisory staff, and our aims are to raise awareness and foster collective understanding, to establish a set of guiding principles to support diversity, equality and inclusion in our postgraduate research community, and to design some key interventions to deliver continuous development of an inclusive culture. We want to give a voice to all our community in cultivating and embedding a diverse and inclusive culture and hope that you will join us to share your opinions, ideas and experiences. 

At this year’s MASTS ASM, the MASTS Renewable Energy Forum is hosting a panel session on the opportunities and challenges for the marine space presented by Scotland and the UK’s plans transition to Net Zero.

2022 has felt eventful in the context of achieving Net Zero. The Scottish Government convened its second Just Transmission Commission to advise on and provide scrutiny for the Government’s ongoing Just Transition planning. Meanwhile, the outcomes of the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round were also announced this year, delivering the UK’s largest expansion in offshore renewable energy in the last decade. Tidal stream energy projects were also successful in 2022 as part of the UK Government’s Contracts for Difference scheme, with proposals to generate a further 40 MW of electricity. Undoubtedly these developments will have consequences (positive and negative) for the marine environment, and also for other users of the marine space, for communities, for supply chains, and for society.

This year’s developments in offshore renewable energy are also set against other national and global events, including the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, that have impacted energy prices, widening inequality. Similarly, the UK’s current financial situation is putting pressure on public sector budgets, including research.

This panel will discuss the part that the research community can play in the transition to net zero, how the dual challenges of the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis are considered, and the roles for climate adaptation, ecological enhancement, and technology innovation.

Panel Chair:

Prof. Ben Wilson: Associate Director for Science & Research, SAMS-UHI


Dr. Janelle Braithwaite: Senior Policy Officer – Marine Planning at Marine Scotland

Prof. Dickon Howell: Director and founder of Howell Marine Consulting and visiting Professor of Practice at Newcastle University.

Prof. Tavis Potts: Personal Chair, Dean for Environmental Sustainability, University of Aberdeen

Andrew Macdonald: Director of Offshore Wind Development and Operations, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.


ePosters were delivered during the conference. The abstracts for each session can be accessed here: ePoster session 1ePoster session 2ePoster session 3, ePoster session 4ePoster session 5

Workshop information

Organised by Colin Moffatt and John Baxter about SMA2020.

In 2020, the Scottish Marine Assessment (SMA2020) provided a clear set of conclusions, recommendations and suggested action. SMA2020 highlighted the challenges for the Scottish marine community to:

  • Improve the predications of climate change impacts
  • Assess cumulative pressures
  • Improve the understanding of natural capital and ecosystem services
  • Ensure that account if taken of the bigger marine environmental picture
  • Improve the availability of data
  • Undertake sustained monitoring and investigative research to explain change
  • Maximise the benefit of our scientific monitoring.

Objective of the workshop

Having presented the evidence and developed a set of next steps based on that evidence, there is a need to energise the process to ensure that evidence-based decisions on how to manage human activities impacting on the seas around Scotland are made.  SMA2020 also provided the evidence to ‘update’ Scotland’s National Marine Plan. 

In this context, it is intended that there is a short document prepared based on the discussions which MASTS can then take to e.g. Scottish Ministers.  The document will be based around the answers to the six workshop questions and will represent the views of the MASTS community as to what action should be taken.  

Organised by Jenni Kakkonen & Bernadette Moloughney.

Understanding vectors and pathways for introduction and spread of invasive non-native species (INNS), and improved biosecurity and routine monitoring is essential for safeguarding of marine environmental habitats in Scotland. The extent of coastline and range of varying activities relying on the marine environment in Scotland is large and without collaboration, effective monitoring, reporting, data and knowledge sharing it would remain challenging. This workshop is aiming to enhance our understanding of marine INNS monitoring activities across Scotland and promote collaboration which would lead to improved biosecurity for invasive non-native species in Scotland. The workshop will also identify monitoring and data gaps and how best to address these by bringing together scientist, stakeholders and government. Expected Outcomes/Outputs:

  • Improved understanding of marine INNS monitoring activities across Scotland, identification of available data sets and ensuring monitoring is covering all known INNS vectors and pathways.
  • To provide a platform for bringing people together and promoting good biosecurity and INNS reporting.
  • Raising awareness between different stakeholder groups of pathways by which INNS can spread and how to mitigate these risks.
  • Based on identified knowledge or monitoring gaps, develop a series of future pathway focused workshops.

Agenda and bios for the day here

Custodianship of Marine Life: Ecosystems Impact of Anthropogenic Activity in the ‘Blue Space’. What does ‘Good’ look like and How do we Explain it to Others? Topics covered in this workshop include Environmental Social Governance, Data as a Currency, and The Energy Transition – Are we really transitioning

PDFs of the talks:

Talk 1, Talk 2, Talk 3, Talk 4, Talk 5, Talk 6, Talk 7, Talk 8, Talk 9, Talk 10, Talk 11, Talk 12

Notes from the workshop here

Our first workshop of the day will help you to reflect on your skills, attributes and capabilities, and use this knowledge to sell yourself to different sectors, thinking about interviews, and writing CVs, cover letters, grants and internship applications. During the morning there will be lots of opportunities to discuss and share ideas and turn these into your own ‘personal statement’, which is a very important aspect of selling yourself across different platforms, including grant applications

Science and research are deeply creative sectors where new knowledge is created through observation and experimental testing. In our second workshop, we will examine idea generation and the creative process, both alone and in collaboration, looking at tools available, what works best for you, and how to translate your thoughts into a grant proposal for research, travel, conferences and more. From dreaming to doing…

want to be an Exhibitor at the conference?

The facilities of the Technology & Innovation Centre are available to exhibitors during the MASTS ASM. Exhibitors will be in the main conference lobby and are expected to stay for the duration of the conference. To have a stand at the conference please fill out this form and send to Emma Defew.

ASM Organising Committee

The 2022 MASTS ASM was organised by Dr Emma Defew (MASTS Programme Coordinator) & Hannah Ladd-Jones (MASTS Engagement)

If you would like to get involved or have a query, please drop us an email.

You can stay up to date by following us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Access Statement

The event will take place in a variety of rooms in the Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC). A full access guide for the TIC is here. Including information regarding accessible toilet locations, lifts and outside access. Directly from the TIC “Events in the Technology & Innovation Centre: an A–Z Guide

The event’s reception and posters will be in the main conference lobby on the ground floor at the TIC. Seating is available around the lobby, although this is limited and we ask that this is prioritised for disabled attendees. There are plenty of quiet areas around the TIC. Dietary requirements will be catered for.


Technology & Innovation Centre, 
99 George Street, 
Glasgow, G1 1RD

+44 (0) 141 444 7000

If you have any questions, requests, or concerns about access at this event, please contact MASTS at [email protected].

Abstract Information (Deadline: Closed)
Abstract decisions for both ePosters and talks will be issued by early September. Abstracts for talks were invited for our general science sessions or one of our four special sessions. Talks will be followed by a live group Q&A session within which all the speakers will be panel members. All presenters are encouraged to not solely focus on past and current research but reflect on gaps of knowledge and future research directions. Talks should be accessible to other disciplines, by avoiding jargon and keeping technical details simple. Submission of the actual e-posters will be needed by Monday 24th October 2022.  We are delighted that IMarEST have kindly agreed to sponsor the student prizes for the 2022 ASM. Don’t forget to stay up to date on the ASM by following us on Twitter or LinkedIn! #MASTSasm2022

See what has featured in our previous 12 Annual Science Meetings here

Check out some of the images from the 2019 ASM on the slideshow below.

MASTS Resources

We’re working behind the scenes to bring you a suite of useful, and updateable, resources including: 

  • Find an expert
  • Find facilities & equipment
  • MASTS Publications


If you would like to be updated when the resources section is live please let us know.