Royal Charter

On the 15th May 2013, the Marine Biological Association (MBA) was granted a Royal Charter at the Court at Buckingham Palace in recognition of its long and eminent history, and its status within the field of marine biology.

What does the Royal Charter mean?

The Royal Charter is a prestigious instrument granted by The Queen on the advice of the Privy Council and is the oldest form of incorporation in the UK. Our Royal Charter establishes the Marine Biological Association as the representative body for the discipline of marine biology.

Our promise

With our Royal Charter status, we commit to maintain professional standards in the discipline of marine biology. We speak on behalf of the marine biological community on marine related issues to government and other stakeholders, and represent the voice of marine biology.

The MBA was gratefully supported in its application by a large number of organisations from government departments and agencies to professional societies and academic institutes.

Royal Patrons

The MBA has been honoured with five Royal Patrons. In 2024 King Charles III became our fifth Royal Patron.

”The grant of a Royal Charter is a privilege that acknowledges the highest level of recognition from our peers. We are incredibly proud to have been bestowed this honour as the professional body for marine biology.”

– Professor Willie Wilson, Chief Executive

Our Governance

The Association, MBA President and Council are responsible to the Privy Council for ensuring that business is conducted in accordance with the object and powers as expressed in the Royal Charter. Its governance structure and practices are described in the bylaws supported by a set of regulations. We are also registered as a charity and regulated by the Charity Commission.

The MBA is governed by its members through a distinguished Council who also function as the Board of Trustees. The Board is chaired by the MBA President and supported by three trustee sub-committees; Membership and Engagement, Research, and Finance, Audit and Risk.

Governance downloads


We are governed by our members through a distinguished group of leading scientists and public figures called the Board of Trustees. Trustees (which include the MBA President, Vice-presidents and Council Members) are responsible for managing and administering the finances and assets of the MBA and oversee the MBA’s day-to-day activities.

Can we help?

If you have an enquiry about any aspect of the Marine Biological Association, please drop us a line below. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

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