New initiative for sustainable management of UK’s marine resources

A consortium of universities, industry, government and NGOs are joining forces for a major new initiative aimed at sustainably managing the UK’s coasts and seas.

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources (SuMMeR CDT) aims to deliver the next generation of researchers, solution providers and practitioners who will sustainably manage our marine resources.

Supported by £2.2million in funding from the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, the centre will train almost 50 interdisciplinary PhD students over the next seven years.

Based at locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, they will focus on subjects ranging from marine and social sciences to law, health, education and economics.

Together they will cover existing and emerging topics of local, national and global importance, from enabling biodiversity gains and delivering net zero, to enhancing coastal protection and supporting coastal communities, and from pioneering marine technology to fostering a sustainable marine economy.

The SuMMeR CDT is being coordinated by some of the UK’s foremost marine universities. Led by the University of Plymouth, its core hosting partners include the universities of Bangor, Heriot-Watt and Exeter, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Marine Biological Association.

The universities will in turn work with collaborative partners at the Zoological Society of London, the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH), and the universities of Portsmouth and the West of England.

The initiative is also being supported by more than 45 associate partners from research, industry, government and third sectors, giving students the opportunity to understand current marine resource management issues from multiple perspectives.

Melanie Austen, professor of ocean society at the University of Plymouth and director of the SuMMeR CDT, comments: “As global populations continue to rise, a huge range of increasing demands are being placed on our coasts and seas. People are turning more to the ocean as a potential source of food and energy, and to support human health and wellbeing. However, there is a delicate balance to be struck so that we harness the power of the ocean without affecting its contribution to the health of societies and the planet as a whole. That can only be achieved by looking at the issues from all angles, and the students and collaborations involved in the SuMMeR CDT will play a crucial role in driving that approach forward.”

The first cohort of 16 students aligned to the SuMMeR CDT will start their courses in the autumn of 2022.

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