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After recruiting the critical mass of experts, developing infrastructure and conducting a performance audit, Universiti Malaysia Sabah decided to upgrade this research unit in the year 2000 to the status of a fully-fledged Centre of Excellence and named it ‘Borneo Marine Research Institute’.

Since then the Institute has made progressive strides in research and development in various areas within the scope of its theme which is ‘Conservation and Sustainable Development of Marine Resources’. Universiti Malaysia Sabah initiated research in marine science and aquaculture by establishing a specialized research unit in the year 1995, in the first phase of its development. This reflected the priority given by the University to these subjects in response to the needs of the state of Sabah and the country, and their growing importance in a global perspective.

Selection of this theme was motivated by the need for innovative and relevant research oriented towards preservation of marine ecosystem for the services it provides and for undertaking advance research on topics in sustainable aquaculture. BMRI has significantly contributed to the development of human resources in these fields, provided the benefit of its expertise to many agencies and implemented several programs of direct relevance to the society in addition to generating new knowledge and technology.