Finlo is in pole position for inaugural lecture

Finlo Cottier.

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A member of the Oban lifeboat crew is set to give his inaugural lecture at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) after being made a professor.

Finlo Cottier is a physical oceanographer for the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) at Dunstaffnage.

He was made a professor in April of 2019 by UHI and is one of the UK’s leading Arctic researchers. He joined UHI in 2001 and leads the university’s BSc Marine Science degree and his work has allowed students to go on to specialise in Arctic Studies, Oceanography and Robotics.

He has also already been awarded a professorship by the University in Tromsø in Norway, where he leads the international £2 million Arctic PRIZE project, which is studying how that region is impacted by climate change.

Prof Cottier, who grew up in Port St Mary on the Isle of Man, has been a member of the Oban RNLI crew since 2001, spending more than 500 hours on the lifeboat and has assisted with over 270 call-outs.

The Oban crew offered their support to their much-valued colleague. A spokesperson said: ‘Finlo continues to be an invaluable member of our team and we would like to extend our congratulations to him on his professorship, from all at Oban Lifeboat Station.’

Prof Cottier was one of the lifeboat crew who were presented with the RNLI’s Excellence in Volunteering Award last November.

Speaking about his forthcoming lecture, Professor Cottier said: ‘The polar regions are special places – geographically, scientifically and culturally.

‘Since starting a PhD at the Scott Polar Research Institute in 1995, I’ve had the privilege of working in the Arctic and the Antarctic with both a scientific and an educational role.

‘During this lecture, I’ll touch on some of the highlights of my time in the polar regions, things we’ve discovered, the opportunities still to be explored and, most importantly, the people I’ve shared these experiences with.’

Prof Cottier’s lecture, entitled ‘I’m going out, I may be some time’ – research and education in the polar regions, will take place at SAMS UHI at Dunbeg from 5.30pm on Wednesday March 25. Attendees can also join by video conference.

Professor Cottier will be available for audience questions and the lecture will be followed by tea and coffee.