Submitted by cms1u08 on

Having not met in person since 2019 due to the Covid pandemic, the CLASS team convened at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban for the 2023 Annual Science Meeting (with a hybrid option for those who couldn't travel). With a varied agenda, from presentations and poster sessions highlighting the best of CLASS research to workshops discussing plans for the integration and synthesis of CLASS research during the final year and sessions planning the follow-on programme to CLASS, it was a busy few days. 


The meeting was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the CLASS programme, present some informal prizes with slightly different criteria to the usual ‘best presentation’ and ‘best poster’ type awards. Prizes were given for the observing programme that submitted the most data, best ECR fellowship, new technology with the most outputs and most well cited paper amongst others. 

All CLASS research is carried out by teams of people working within and across our partner centres, and our magnificent group of CLASS Acts Winners in May 2023 represent the excellence achieved by their teams.  

First up to receive a design-classic homemade certificate and a bag of Scottish tablet, was Clare Ostle of the MBA, winner for "CLASS-led Paper with the Highest Number of Citations" for her 2019 paper on the rise in ocean plastics evidenced from a 60-year time series.

Clare Ostle

Our second Winner was Mike Clare from NOC, representing the CLASS team who contributed to the "CLASS Paper with the Highest Number of Citations" for Kane et al 2020 on Seafloor microplastic hotspots controlled by deep-sea circulation. This paper has a very high citation rate and also attracted much media attention leading to the highest altmetic score in the CLASS bibliography (thanks to Clive Neil, NOC, for extracting the data from to discover that information).

You can find all the CLASS papers in a bibliography updated every month by NOC's Carla Sands here. In there you will find many papers that have won the "Web of Science Gold Cup" which means they are a highly cited paper that has received enough citations to place it in the top 1% of its specialist academic field. The CLASS researchers who also received honourable mentions for their very highly rated papers in terms of citations and altmetrics are: Vas Kitidis, PML, representing the CLASS author team for Friedlingstein et al, 2020, Global Carbon Budget 2020Stuart Cunningham, SAMS, representing the CLASS author team for Lozier et al, 2019, A sea change in our view of overturning in the subpolar North Atlanticand Katsia Pabortsava, NOC, representing the CLASS author team for Pabortsava et al, 2020, High concentrations of plastic hidden beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

With the help of Helen Snaith and Richenda Houseago-Stokes of BODC, we next applauded Winners Andy Rees, PML as "Most Helpful Principal Investigator" (my favourite category of all!), and Sue Hartman, NOC as provider of "Most Data Sets Submitted to BODC". Honourable mentions were for three people who have contributed the "Highest Quality Metadata" to accompany their data submissions: Glen Tarran, PML, Yvonne Firing, NOC and Sam Jones of SAMS.  Well done to all of you!

Next we moved onto the special category of papers using the CLASS models and model runs. With such a wide reach of these important research tools, we had a lot to choose from! In the end we selected two wonderful Winners. First up was Sarah Wakelin, NOC, representing the CLASS author team for the "Most cited coastal and shelf seas modelling paper", by Graham et al 2018. AMM15: a new high-resolution NEMO configuration for operational simulation of the European north-west shelf. Next we congratulated Andrew Coward of NOC representing the CLASS team who have, over many years, developed ORCA12, the 1/12 global NEMO model, which is now the "Most-used CLASS Global Model".

Special congratulations are due to one of the many promising early career researchers that CLASS supports. Théo Picard who is a PhD student at Université de Bretagne Occidentale, France, was Winner of the "Highest scoring CLASS ECR Fellowship Application" for his project on "Can we link the surface origin of biological particles to deep ocean particle flux at PAP?". We took the opportunity to say a huge thank you to Stephen Dye of CEFAS and UEA, and Stuart Cunningham of SAMS, for the time they have devoted to reviewing all the CLASS ECR Fellowship applications.

A hearty round of applause was heard when we announced that Jen Thomas, NOC was Winner for "Outstanding Project Management". Jen has been absolutely crucial in keeping the programme on course, on budget, and our progress clearly documented and reported to NERC. Jen deserves many thanks for her excellent work!

Our 'last but not least' Winners were the Lab on a Chip pH sensor team who were Winners of "CLASS Technology Innovation that has Yielded the Most Outputs" . The award was collected in Oban by Allison Schaap on behalf of the team that includes Socratis Loucaides, Stathys Papadimitriou, and Martin Arundell, all of NOC. Within CLASS this new sensor has generated a technology description paper, many science and application papers, well over 10 conferences presentation, been taken on at least five cruises, and the sensor has been licenced and is now commercially available. What an achievement! 

We made full use of the opportunity for people from across the CLASS programme to meet together for the first time since before the covid pandemic began. We had some very interesting discussions which have stimulated some new thinking for the final year of CLASS and for the new National Capability programme that will come after it. Our mini-prize-giving raised some smiles and gave us a moment to pause and celebrate the amazing achievements and impacts of the programme so far. Many thanks to Mark Inall and the whole SAMS team for hosting us in Oban, providing us with wonderful weather and excellent meeting facilities. Thank you especially to Richard Dale who kept us all smoothly connected through the IT facilities.