Previous Opportunities


This position is now closed to applications.

We are looking for an exceptional individual to become the next Chair of the Governing Council.  Whether your background is academic, commercial, or third sector, you will be able to provide commercial and strategic leadership as SAMS moves forward in its mission to create and disseminate new knowledge about the marine environment and promote its importance and value.

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is a marine research organisation and learned society, founded in 1884, and based on the beautiful west coast of Scotland, near Oban, Argyll. One of the world’s oldest oceanographic institutions, we are now a modern business turning world class research into solutions for real problems which provide commercial income streams alongside traditional funding.

SAMS’ research spans the breadth of marine science, tackling the Grand Challenges facing the World today. We work on diverse interdisciplinary research questions, focusing on three major challenges:

  1. To discover the physical and biological processes that drive the marine environment
  2. To describe and quantify how coastal environments respond to ever-increasing pressures
  3. To develop a sustainable blue economy

We are committed to:

  • The creation of new knowledge about the marine environment through undertaking world leading and innovative research;
  • The dissemination of that knowledge, not only through inspirational formal educational programmes, with our principal partner, the University of the Highlands and Islands, but also the enhancement of societal awareness through our public engagement activities;
  • Using our knowledge to provide solutions for the ethical and sustainable use of marine resources, both in our local environment and internationally.

The spread of experience and skills that are sought for the Chair is broad. Individuals are sought who can contribute to several of the following areas:

  • Clear demonstration of the ability to operate at Board level, most likely through previous strategic/board-level experience;
  • Senior role in a university, research, commercial or entrepreneurial organisation; preferably but not necessarily in marine, environmental, or related sectors.
  • Experience of building effective funding and/or income-generating relationships. A record of achievement in marketing and/or philanthropic fundraising would be welcome.
  • Demonstration of a strong commitment to leading positive culture change.
  • An ability to work strategically and collaboratively at a senior level with excellent knowledge of corporate governance.
  • Significant organisational business acumen.
  • Ability to lead change successfully and positively influence individuals and organisations.
  • Strong networking skills preferably with a significant network

This position is unremunerated, although travel expenses will be reimbursed. The appointment will be for an initial three-year term, which may be extended for a further three-years. The minimum time commitment, including preparation for and participation in formal committee meetings, is approximately 18 days per annum. The majority of meetings are held in Oban, thus travel time will need to be added to this.  SAMS is a registered charity and Company Limited by Guarantee: the Chair will also be a Trustee of SAMS Charity and a Non-Executive Director of SAMS as a company.

For more information about SAMS and the role, please visit

For a confidential discussion please contact Donogh O’Brien at Aspen People on 0141 212 7555.

To apply, please complete the short form below and attach your CV, cover letter and Equality Monitoring Form. 

The Scottish Association for Marine Science has a positive attitude towards diversity.  We are committed to equality of opportunity amongst our staff and students: we aim to achieve balanced gender representation in our Governing Council membership.