The Marine Biological Association (MBA) was established in 1884 and has a long and distinguished history as a learned society both in providing advice to Governments and in research.
The MBA applied for a Royal Charter because the award would:
a) provide recognition for its long and distinguished contribution to the discipline of Marine Biology;
b) enhance the standing of the MBA in working with other bodies and in its provision of independent expert advice to HM Government, the European Union, and other organisations;
c) promote the work and standing of MBA members;
d) recognise the importance of understanding the marine environment at a time when the need for evidence to inform conservation measures in the UK and elsewhere has never been more urgent.
The MBA has always played a key role in representing the marine biological community and the Charter formalises this role and helps increase the profile of marine biology and the marine environment.
It will still be called the Marine Biological Association. Being granted a Royal Charter does not automatically give an organisation the right to add ‘Royal’ to the title. It is worth noting however that the award of Charter does allow an organisation to approach the Privy Council and request the use of the word ‘Royal’ if that becomes appropriate in the future.
The new charter body will be offering a range of new membership categories including providing increased recognition for members by establishing new member categories that are validated and approved to use a post-nominal e.g. an MBA Fellows programme allowing use of the post-nominal FMBA. There will also be new categories aimed at broadening the membership base beyond those already professionally trained including a new category aimed at younger members. The Association has also used this opportunity to review its benefits package and introduce new benefits such as the new Marine Biologist magazine.
The Charter came into effect legally when the Great Seal was applied in September. The MBA has begun transitioning to the new charter body, a process that will be complete by April 1st 2014.