Local advocates Corlett Bolton have announced that a project submitted by Dr Fiona Gell has been named as the recipient of the ‘Corlett Bolton Award’, a £5,000 grant aimed at supporting a research project to be undertaken with the intention of enhancing knowledge and understanding of the Isle of Man’s environment, culture, history, or society.

Dr Gell’s project, ‘A natural history of Manx seas: Visualising the past to provide a vision for a sustainable future’, will help support understanding of the vital role that healthy seas and oceans play in helping to curb climate change. Such insight will help ensure that the Island’s marine environment is protected and restored to support the essential benefits that the Island can derive from the sea, from seafood to recreation and wellbeing.

Sally Bolton, Director, Corlett Bolton said:

‘Along with my fellow Director, Nadine Roberts, we would like to thank all those who took the time to submit an application. We both assessed the submissions and the calibre of all of them was highly impressive, which made our job in making a decision a very difficult one.

‘Overall, we chose Dr Fiona Gell’s project as it promises to reinforce the positive outcomes that derive from protecting our environment, something which is particularly important with our Island’s status as an island biosphere nation.

‘After 30 years in practice we continue to seek new ways in which we can give back to the Isle of Man’s community. We expanded our service offering recently with the opening of a new office in Ramsey meaning Corlett Bolton now offers the largest network of advocate offices in the Island, reinforcing our commitment to providing easily accessible services to anyone in need of legal support.

‘We would also like to express our huge gratitude to University College Isle of Man’s (UCM) Research Ethics and Governance Committee, which provided expert governance and oversight on the applications.’

For UCM, Gail Corrin, UCM’s Higher Education Manager, commented:

‘We are delighted to have worked with Corlett Bolton in the awarding of this research award. UCM is keen to facilitate valuable and well-designed research. Research is incredibly important, not just in educational settings. As it is for individuals, so to for communities and government, curious and informed minds will be the source of a sustainable and thriving future.’

Dr Gell added:

‘A healthy marine environment is essential to help tackle climate change, protect biodiversity, support sustainable food production and to build a resilient future. The Corlett Bolton Award will give me a unique opportunity to delve into the past of some of the Isle of Man’s most cherished marine species and habitats to understand how they’ve changed over time and how they can be effectively protected and restored to benefit us all.  

‘I’m very grateful to Corlett Bolton and UCM for this opportunity and I look forward to sharing my findings to support marine conservation, climate action and a wider understanding of our fascinating and life-sustaining world beneath the waves.'