Graham Shimmield graduated from the University of Durham in Geology in 1981, and received a Ph.D. in Marine Geochemistry from the University of Edinburgh in 1985. He was appointed to a tenured faculty position as Lecturer in Chemical Oceanography in 1984, and promoted to Reader in 1995. In 1996, he moved institution becoming the combined Director of Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) and the NERC-funded Institute, within the Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory (DML), a post he held for 12 years. From 1997-2008 he helped create the new University of the Highlands and Islands, chairing the research programme. Currently, he holds the position of Executive Director and President of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, USA, since March 2008.
Graham's particular interest is in marine geochemistry, which includes the fundamental studies of geochemical processes operating in ancient oceans through identifying indicators of ocean and climate change (palaeoceanography), the biogeochemical cycling of modern oceans using naturally-occurring radioisotopes, and examining human impacts and contamination in coastal and deep seas. From 1995-8 he served on the international scientific steering committee of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, and several major UK and European science programmes, Whilst at SAMS, Graham developed the Northern Seas programme, establishing the institution’s reputation in Arctic oceanography and was a member of the UK International Polar Year Committee. He was Chairman of the European Census of Marine Life Program, the regional contribution to the international CoML program, from 2004-8.
Graham has served on many strategic European national and international committees, including the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Science Strategy Board. He has been President and vice-president of the European Federation of Marine Science and Technology Societies (EFMS). He has had significant involvement in marine biotechnology as the Managing Director of the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology, and Chairman of the Board of GlycoMar Ltd, a small biotech start-up. Currently, Graham is a Chairman of the joint industry Scientific Advisory Board examining the challenges of decommissioning oil and gas installation in the North Sea.
In 2000, Graham was awarded the title of Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1998), and the Society of Biology (1999). He has published over 65 scientific peer-reviewed articles.
Since arriving in Maine, Graham is serving on the boards of the Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board, Maine Space Grant and Maine Sea Grant, and advisory boards for Maine Maritime Academy and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. In February 2013 he was elected to the Board of Trustees for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. In November 2011, Graham was named by MaineBiz as one of ten “Nexters” helping to shape the future of Maine’s economy.