Oceans are generally considered as highly valuable and their health and conservation status are seen as key priorities, however, marine wildlife and habitats are facing multiple anthropogenic threats. The need to conserve the ocean and sustain its resources is linked with a pressing need for a well-trained ocean science workforce. OceanTraining2023 will take place in this context, aiming to address the main issues regarding Ocean Education, a field of research that is relatively new and undeveloped.

The international community relies on good quality education for the protection and the sustainable use of the ocean. If we want to protect our oceans and seas, we must inform people at all levels of society (from children to policy makers). Many countries are already developing programmes on ocean education as identified by UNESCO in “A new blue curriculum: a toolkit for policy-makers”. 

Ocean education should not only involve scientific knowledge and awareness of contemporary issues; it should also promote traditional skills and knowledge of the ancient interactions between humankind and the ocean. New solutions may be found in, or inspired by, ancient methods. Hence, a multidisciplinary approach to both informal and formal education is needed. Innovative approaches and unique learning environments can be supported by the use of digital tools. 

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Dr. Ann Vanreusel, Ghent University

This session aims at bringing together educators and other stakeholders in International Ocean Education to share their vision and practices, including their use of digital tools. We are open to a broad range of presentations on this topic, for example:

  • Preparing our community of educators (academic and non academic) for a variety of audiences. 
  • Sharing best practices in the context of ocean education. 
  • Methods for evaluating existing programmes.

The EU has set strong targets for the Blue Economy but managing human activities in the marine environment presents unique challenges. The blue economy encompasses a wide range of interlinked established and emerging sectors and is the subject of numerous strategic policy and operational initiatives at local, regional, national and international levels. Transitioning to a sustainable blue economy requires investing in innovative training and education to prepare marine graduates with knowledge and skills across multiple disciplines. As stated by the European Marine Board in “Training the 21st Century Marine Professionals”, it is fundamental to rethink how Masters and PhD courses are implemented, with a view to producing graduates with knowledge and competences that are immediately applicable to employers across multiple marine sectors. 

Keynote speakers:
Lucía Fraga Lago, Centro Tecnologico del Mar (CETMAR)
Dr. Paula Kellet, European Marine Board (EMB)

Suggested topics for presentations within this session are aligned with the six strategic recommendations outlined by the EMB in their future science brief and include:

  • Modernisation of marine graduate training programmes.
  • Development of training content by engaging the wider marine community across academia, government (policy and funding) and industry.
  • Maximisation of recruitment of students and professionals to take interest in marine training and blue careers.
  • Relevant policy support initiatives to address the gap between marine graduate training and Blue Economy.
  • Higher Education for marine science and technology - structuring the landscape.
  • Establishment of long-term, flexible funding instruments at national and EU level to support innovative marine training.

Technological advancements and recent disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic boosted the use of Digital Learning Resources (DLR). This revolution, occurring across all levels of education, created novel, efficient, and engaging training opportunities. Digital tools broke the physical boundaries of traditional learning by creating a virtual international campus where teachers and students from all over the world are able to meet and share knowledge.

The growing interest of the scientific community in digital knowledge is mirrored by the number of publications per year on DLR development, which went from about 3,700 in 2019 to over 7,500 in 2021 (Web of Science); however, there is not a defined framework concerning digital learning in ocean science.An example of a blue digital educational cluster is the team behind the organisation of OceanTraining2023. They are a consortium of four EU universities (UGent, ATU, UNIVPM, SU) implementing an Erasmus project titled OceanTraining, with the aim to develop DLRs in the field of ocean science.

Keynote speaker: Dr. Cláudia DELGADO, UNESCO- Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

The main objectives of this session are to share achievements from different universities in developing online educational tools and in engaging students, and to discuss any weakness of adopted digital strategies. Within these objectives, suggested themes for presentations are:

  • Analysis of online platforms about DLRs in ocean science.
  • Examples of EU strategies and repositories for DLRs. 
  • Sharing of good practices in producing DLRs.
  • Sharing of successful strategies to motivate students to complete online courses. 
  • Standardisation of the design process to create DLRs.

Our world ocean, like the rest of our planet, is facing dramatic challenges and requires urgent action. To achieve sustainable development we must act coherently to tackle environmental, social and economic issues. Education for sustainable development (ESD) in ocean science creates opportunities for learners to acquire knowledge, skills, values and agency to confront marine related global challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, inequality and resource extraction. Educators play a key role in engaging ocean science learners in ESD topics. Through a combination of pedagogies, educational tools, communication strategies and multidisciplinary approaches a positive and supportive ESD learning environment can be fostered. Throughout this session participants will gain insights into ESD in ocean science.

Keynote speaker: Prof. Dr. Katja Enberg, University of Bergen

Suggested topics for presentations within this session are aligned with the five priority action areas outlined by UNESCO in their ESD for 2030 roadmap and include:

  • ESD in ocean science programme policies.
  • Creating learning environments for ocean science related ESD.
  • Empowering educators to deliver ESD ocean science lessons.
  • Preparing students to become agents for sustainable development in ocean science.
  • Taking ESD in ocean science outside of the classroom.

Oceans provide invaluable ecosystem services, a plethora of marine resources and act as climate regulators. Many coastal populations depend on them for their livelihood and prosperity. “Ocean Literacy” (OL) is key to understanding the ocean’s influence on us, and our influence on the ocean, and is crucial to conserve and sustainably use the ocean and its resources. 

One of the greatest challenges is enhancing public awareness and knowledge of the ocean, which is crucial to strengthen connection to the ocean, and increase motivation for behavioural change. Education programmes must respond to this by defining relevant learning objectives and by introducing ocean pedagogies that empower learners. Moreover, solutions to this challenge require the integration of society and multiple stakeholders. The aim of OL is to create an ocean-literate society able to make informed and responsible decisions on ocean resources and ocean sustainability. 

Keynote speaker: Francesca Santoro

Suggested topics for presentations are:

  • Initiatives that encourage wide participation in the future of OL, including engagement of individuals from different sectors of society. 
  • Mapping national priorities and policies in OL.
  • Building collaborations amongst governmental, educational, and private institutions to develop OL activities.
  • Successful stories of partnerships that have developed OL programmes and projects.