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Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland

What we Do

Welcome to MASTS Research

MASTS Research Forums and Working Groups form the major scientific driving force of the MASTS community, covering a variety of topics. MASTS members are invited to join and contribute, using Forums and Working Groups as valuable platforms for co-ordination and collaboration.

MASTS Logo, a seahorse

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC), together with the original MASTS member institutions, invested approximately £75M between 2009-2016 in developing MASTS. MASTS (Phase I) was launched on 4th November 2009 in Edinburgh. 

MASTS had the ambition to become an integral and important part of the national framework of excellence in marine science in Scotland and was awarded an additional five years of funding for MASTS Phase II. Modest funding is received from the SFC, but the majority of MASTS funding is now provided by contributions from its Member organisations. We continue to work hard to become self-supporting as an independent entity beyond the SFC funding period. In 2023, MASTS enters phase III.

This pooling of marine research talent has a constituency of more than 700 researchers with the management of resources consisting of over £66 million annually. 

MASTS supports this high level strategy by promoting and delivering science and training of the highest standard to better understand the marine environment. MASTS actively seeks to encourage productive dialogue and understanding between scientists, other marine experts and interested parties in all sectors, including those responsible for policy development and regulation.

The MASTS research agenda is driven by scientific excellence and contributes to the vision of ‘clean, healthy, safe, biologically diverse marine and coastal environments, managed to meet the long-term needs of people and nature’.

Research within MASTS is organised under three broad research themes:

  1. Dynamics and properties of marine systems: This theme embraces the fundamental physical attributes and dynamics of marine systems. It also includes technological developments that allow improved interpretation of marine systems.
  2. Productive seas: This is a key area of MASTS activity with major scientific challenges encompassing the balance of exploitation against the resilience and capacity of natural systems to supply resources against a backdrop of increasing demand and climate change.
  3. Marine biodiversity, function and services: The link between the diversity, distribution in space and time, and resilience of marine organisms is central to this theme, as well as the role of marine biodiversity in supporting ecosystem function and services.


These Research Themes are the largest and most inclusive groupings which reflect the Scottish Marine strategy and Scottish Government objectives in promoting clean, healthy, diverse and productive seas. Underneath each Theme, there are groupings called Research Forums, which are intended to be outward looking and to include all MASTS members who have an interest in those areas.

Forums are the main delivery mechanism for MASTS science. Although Forums are associated with a Research Theme, they may cut across other Themes. Forums can be established to address specific areas of research as they emerge but to receive funding and other MASTS support, they must be approved by the MASTS Executive Committee and operate within prescribed guidelines. Each Forum is led by a Convenor and has an annual networking budget. 

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.