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Bigelow Laboratory's Shimmield recognized for contributions to oceanography

Recipient of Society for Underwater Technology's President's Award

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences


IMAGE: Graham Shimmield, executive director of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, was unable to accept SUT's President's Award in person because he was 3,000 meters below the equatorial Pacifc Ocean's surface... view more

Credit: Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Graham Shimmield, executive director of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, was recognized by his international peers as the recipient of the Society for Underwater Technology's President's Award 2014, given annually to a member of the international ocean community who advances understanding of the underwater environment.

The Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) is a multidisciplinary society that brings together organizations and individuals with a common interest in underwater technology, ocean science and offshore engineering. Founded in 1966, SUT has members from more than 40 countries, including engineers, scientists, and other professionals and students working in these areas.

"Graham has indeed been a good friend of SUT over the years, helping to bridge the space between science, industry and academia, " said Gwyn Griffiths, SUT president.

The award was announced at SUT's annual meeting in December in London, while Shimmield was in the middle of the eastern equatorial Pacific on the research vessel Atlantis, having just finished a dive aboard the human submersible Alvin to the ocean bottom, 3,000 meters or 1.9 miles below the surface. Once the award makes its way across the Atlantic, it will be displayed in Shimmield's office at Bigelow Laboratory.

Shimmield graduated from the University of Durham in Geology in 1981, and received a Ph.D. in Marine Geochemistry from the University of Edinburgh in 1985. He was appointed as Edinburgh's Lecturer in Chemical Oceanography in 1984, and promoted to Reader in 1995. In 1996, he became Director of the Scottish Association of Marine Science and the Natural Environment Research Council-funded Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory near Oban, a post he held for 12 years. In 2000, Shimmield was awarded the title of Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Society of Biology, and has published over 65 scientific peer-reviewed articles. In 2008, he crossed the Atlantic to lead Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, where he continues his international scientific leadership.

Shimmield has served on many scientific committees, including the Natural Environment Research Council Science Strategy Board, Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, European Federation of Marine Science and Technology Societies (as president), UK International Polar Year, European Census of Marine Life (as chair). He also has had significant involvement in marine biotechnology as the Managing Director of the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology, and Chairman of the Board of GlycoMar Ltd, a small biotech start-up.

Shimmield currently serves as Chair of the INSITE (INfluence of man-made Structures In the Ecosystem) Independent Scientific Advisory Board, an industry-sponsored project with the goal of providing independent scientific, evidence-based information needed to improve understanding of the impact of man-made structures on the North Sea ecosystem. In Maine, he has served on the boards of the Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board, Maine Space Grant, and Maine Sea Grant, and advisory boards for Maine Maritime Academy and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. In November 2011, MaineBiz named Shimmield as one of ten

"Nexters" helping to shape the future of Maine's economy. In February 2013, Shimmield was elected to the Board of Trustees for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


SUT aims to promote understanding of the underwater environment and encourages cross-fertilization and dissemination of ideas, experience and information among those involved in academic research, applied research and technology, and industry and government. It supports the development of techniques and tools to explore, study, and sustainably use ocean resources, while ensuring high standards in marine science and technology are maintained.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, an independent not-for-profit research institution on the coast of Maine, conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography to large-scale ocean processes that affect the global environment. Recognized as a leader in Maine's emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory's research, education, and technology transfer programs are spurring significant economic growth in the state.

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