Top ranked aquaculture course for elite students

The Scottish Association for Marine Science is looking to produce the aquaculture industry leaders of the future as it invites applications for its new, world-class Joint Masters Degree course.

The specialised degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society (ACES), which has just taken on its first cohort of students, is part of the European Union’s ambitious Erasmus+ programme (previously known as Erasmus mundus), making it one of Europe’s highest ranked academic programmes.

The two-year course aims to attract talented international students with a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), as well as mature students with relevant experience, in one of the fields of environmental or social sciences and will be run in partnership with the universities of Crete and Nantes and the United Nations University Institute of Water, Environment and Health (UNU INWEH), Canada.

Fully-funded scholarships are available for ACES, which has been specifically designed alongside industry to address major scientific, technological and social obstacles facing the sustainable development of the global aquaculture industry.

Italian student Francesco Boatta is part of the first ACES cohort, which has begun studies at SAMS, near Oban. He said: “My application to the ACES Joint Master Degree was motivated by the perfect match I found between the programme and the interests arisen during my academic career. I saw it also as a great opportunity to develop my professional skills, to achieve an applied knowledge of aquaculture industry and its relation with society and to broaden my expertise in different fields across Europe.

“I firmly believe that this Masters Degree will provide me the opportunity to establish an international professional network, the privilege to learn directly from several academic and private sector experts and the tools to reach a highly-specialised professional competence, permitting me to be an active part in sustainable aquaculture development.”

Successful applicants spend semester one at SAMS, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), before going on to study finfish aquaculture in Greece and shellfish aquaculture in France. The students will then complete research projects at one of the three centres in semester four, before returning to Oban for the final student conference.

Dr Lois Calder, SAMS UHI’s head of education, said: “We are delighted to be co-ordinating this exciting programme and welcoming the first ACES students. The ACES Masters Degree is a fantastic opportunity for any student wishing to flourish in the aquaculture industry and we look forward to receiving applications now for the course beginning in August 2016.

“We have strong relationships with the aquaculture industry, which will help to build student networks and support personal and professional development of the very particular skill set they will need for the future.”

David Jarrad, Director of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain, said: “As a trade association, representing large and small aquaculture businesses UK-wide, we are often asked for sources of practical training and I believe this Joint Masters Programme will provide the opportunity to learn a broad range of skills relevant to the industry. The ACES programme will also address a pressing need in the European aquaculture sector for a mix of expert practical skill with high level scientific knowledge.”



Contact details

Euan Paterson


T: 01631 559342 Mobile: +44 (0) 7768 507342

Twitter: @ScotMarineInst


Notes to editors:

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), based at Dunstaffnage, near Oban, is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organisation, dedicated to delivering marine science for a healthy and sustainable marine environment through research, education and engagement with society. It is a charitable organisation (009206).

ACES involves partners across the globe, including the universities of Nantes and Crete, United Nations University Institute of Water, Environment and Health (UNU INWEH) and the Huinay Research Station in Chile.

The ACES programme has been co-funded by the Erasmus Plus programme of the European Union, which awarded SAMS and its partners funding of just over €2 million to provide 41 fully funded scholarships.

Based in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, UHI is made up of a partnership of 13 independent colleges and research institutions, educating 40,000 students.