THE TRUSTEES of the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway appointed David Gray as the new director of the centre yesterday.
A marine biologist, he is currently Dean of Faculty at the University of Derby in Buxton, England. He has an honours degree from the School of Ocean Sciences at the University College of North Wales, Bangor and a PhD from the department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, South Africa.
After lecturing at Rhodes University, Prof Gray took up a position at Hartpury College of the University of the West of England, where he subsequently was appointed deputy principal and dean of faculty. He moved to Derby in 2004 as head of the School of Culture and Lifestyle and was appointed dean of faculty in December 2006.
Prof Gray’s interests in marine biology include marine inter-tidal ecology, biological rhythms and body clocks, optimal foraging theory, and marine eco-physiology, while his professional interests include the operation and management of mixed economy educational institutions.
A married man with three daughters, Prof Gray plays a variety of musical instruments but is most active playing the tuba and is a member of the Glossop Old Brass Band – the north east England Champions.
Prof Gray said: “This is my dream job: it will give me the opportunity to marry my chosen discipline of marine biology with the academic leadership skills that I have acquired during my career to date.
“I believe that Shetland will be the perfect location to bring up our family. I grew up in Cornwall and feel that Shetland offers the same family-orientated lifestyle and community support that I enjoyed as a child. We also look forward to enjoying the islands’ fantastic wildlife and environment and greatly appreciate the low crime rate.
“Although I will not officially take up my position until December, I will be spending time in Shetland at the NAFC Marine Centre in advance to get to know the people and familiarise myself with the position so that I can hit the ground running in December.”
Interim director Tony Hawkins said: “We are very fortunate to have secured the services of Prof Gray. Having a director of his stature and experience will reinforce our position as a leading provider of training, research, and advice for the nautical, fisheries, engineering, aquaculture and food industries.
“The centre itself provides training and education to support the maritime industries which underpin the economy of Shetland. Under Prof Gray’s leadership it will continue to strengthen partnerships with local industries, schools, colleges and other research and training providers to meet Shetland’s needs in the most effective way.”
NAFC Marine Centre chairwoman Iris Hawkins said she was delighted with the new appointment.
“I am pleased that Prof Gray has the experience and understands the importance of education and training to local communities and local businesses.
“He will be able to help us ensure that our training programmes are well matched to local needs.
His research background in marine biology fits in with our own scientific programme which is tailored to the needs of the fishing and aquaculture industries.”