The Minister for the Constitution, Chris Skidmore MP, has officially presented the University of Southampton with a Royal Warrant signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II which confers upon the university the title of Regius Professor of Ocean Sciences.
Regius Professorships are rare, prestigious honours and the title on this occasion was awarded to both mark the recent 90th Birthday of Her Majesty and in appreciation of the University of Southampton’s international leadership in Ocean Sciences and the maritime economy. Recent research published by the department has included studies of the extent of genetic differentiation among King Penguins, assessments of recent air-sea freshwater flux changes and examining the photosynthetic strategy of phytoplankton in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.
On awarding the prize, Mr Skidmore said: “It is my great pleasure to present the Royal Warrant establishing the Chair of the Regius Professorship of Ocean Sciences at the University of Southampton.
“The Royal Warrant is an historical document conferring Her Majesty The Queen’s official recognition of exceptionally high quality in research and teaching”
It is the second Regius Professorship to have been bestowed upon the university with the Computer Sciences department receiving the other in 2013. They are a bestowal of royal patronage unique to the British Isles with the first awarded in 1497 by the Scottish King James IV. This latest professorship now means that in England only Oxford and Cambridge Universities outrank Southampton for number of Regius Professorships held.
The university has now begun a global search for the scientist to be appointed Regius Professor in Ocean Sciences. In a statement, Professor Wilson, Chair of the Search Committee, said: “We seek a highly accomplished individual with an outstanding international track record in any area of ocean sciences”