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Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland

Marine Planning & Governance Forum

Welcome to the MASTS Marine Planning & Governance Forum

This Forum is a centre for dialogue across the marine planning community and offers expertise, knowledge exchange and collaboration.
By addressing the complex and wide-ranging research needed to support marine planning activities in Scotland, the Forum draws diverse expertise from a variety of stakeholders.

Bird view of shoreline with rocks and sand
Forum News & Resources
Background & Objectives

The MASTS Marine Planning & Governance Forum was established in January 2013, to support dialogue across the marine planning community and to address the complex and wide-ranging research needed to support marine planning activities in Scotland. In 2018, Tim & Rachel took over from Lucy as co-convenors of the Forum. Their vision for the forum is that we collaboratively develop two goals. Firstly we will encourage research for planning and management- which will inform and provide an evidence base for various applied assessments and real-world questions. For MPG this will involve engaging those in other MASTS fora to support wider understanding of marine planning, management and regulatory processes. It will also involve engaging professional practitioners to understand their needs and requirements and highlight novel opportunities provided by science. 

Secondly we will foster research about marine planning and governance. This will draw together social scientists and interdisciplinary researchers across Scotland, especially those who evaluate and analyse marine planning, but also and other related topics, including but not limited to: the ecosystem approach, ecosystem services framework, good governance, development in maritime sectors and blue growth. There is a need to explore how MPG can best support this. This vision is premised upon on convictions about: the number of focussed but tractable and timely goals the Forum can achieve in the next two years; the current and potential make-up of the fora (which spans social scientists, natural scientists and those in government and professional practice at both national and regional scales); and convictions about the nature of good scholarship.

We invite others to get involved in forming the vision, and recognise that others in the forum might have broader goals and we are keen to facilitate these too. In Scotland, the National Marine Plan was published in March 2015, and work is now underway to develop Regional Marine Plans across the 11 Scottish Marine Regions in territorial waters. The MASTS Marine Planning & Governance Forum leads dialogue between the Government, marine planners, local authorities, stakeholders and the scientific community, to identify and address the knowledge gaps in implementing effective marine planning. Key activities include identification of strategic research needs for marine planning, development of research opportunities from Masters projects to long-term international funding calls, a web-based platform to understand and connect research capacity across MASTS, etc. With close involvement of Marine Scotland and current / future marine planners, the Forum aims to bring together the academic community to strategically develop applied and interdisciplinary research essential to enable evidence-based governance for sustainable management of our seas.

  • Interacting with the different communities which have an interest in Marine Planning.
  • Engaging with new partners and promoting collaboration across disciplines to further Marine Planning research.
  • Ensuring greater output and providing databases for those interested in Marine Planning.
  • Discussing and helping to deliver the best scientific knowledge available.
Forum Activities

Updates coming soon!

Bird view of ocean waves

Rachel Shucksmith
– University of the Highlands & Islands

Marine Spatial Planning Manager | Shetland UHI Marine Science and Technology Department

Interests: Applied marine research | Commercial experience| Process of effective management in marine & fisheries management | National & international projects

Coastaline with sand dunes and mountains

Sinead Sheridan
– NatureScot

Marine Planning Co-Ordinator

Interests: Marine Spatial Planning | Development of regional marine plans (Clyde Marine Planning Partnership)

Steering Group

Chris Cutts (NatureScot), Daniela Diz (Heriot-Watt University), Daniella Laing & Emma Hedley (Marine Directorate), Kate Gormley (University of Aberdeen), Lauren McWhinnie (Heriot-Watt University), Meriwether Wilson (University of Edinburgh), Neda Trifanova (University of Aberdeen), Reme Diaz (Marine Directorate), Tavis Potts (University of Aberdeen), Tim Stojanovic (University of St Andrews) and Vincent Onyango (University of Dundee).

Logos of MASTS Members MPG Forum
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.