Prof Sir Steve Smith, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, hosted one of the University’s alumni events in London when he heard Pen Hadow (holder of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University), speak about his vision for the 90 North Foundation. Just three weeks later Sir Steve set up a meeting for Hadow with his senior management team to agree how they could provide research support. It was agreed a number of research posts, including a professorial chair, doctorates (PhDs) and Masters of Research, would be offered to the Foundation up to 40% below the full economic cost to the University, if the Foundation could secure the balance for each post.
It was Sir Steve’s leadership that proved critical. On realising the University’s vision to build its marine research capability to solve real world issues was closely aligned with the 90 North Foundation’s vision to undertake research to build the case for conservation of the Central Arctic Ocean, he inspired the start of our collaboration. His successor, Prof Lisa Roberts, wrote of her support of the collaboration as recently as July 2022.
The University’s marine research faculty is currently ranked 9th in the world, and has its sights set on further improving this ranking.