iAtlantic places capacity building at the core of its mission: expanding technological capabilities and enhancing human capacities to acquire, analyse and interpret marine datasets, and to transfer that knowledge to the development of improved strategies for the sustainable management and use of marine resources.
Capacity building activities are an inherent component of all aspects of the iAtlantic work programme, designed to optimise the learning opportunities provided by the project’s many scientific activities. These range from opportunities for researchers to gain hands-on data collection skills on board the 30+ research expeditions planned during the project, to participation in a series of technical workshops, seminars and training sessions that span the range of disciplines in iAtlantic.
iAtlantic’s capacity building programme revolves around 5 key themes:
- Transfer of technologies, facilities and experimental techniques
- Researcher mobility (seagoing opportunities; researcher exchange)
- Analytical techniques, dataset manipulation and integration
- Policy and governance
- Transferable scientific skills
We welcome opportunities to explore synergies and opportunities for collaboration with other programmes and initiatives, and are actively seeking engagement with ocean stakeholders to enhance and broaden the capacity building activities that iAtlantic has to offer.
The iAtlantic Fellowship
Through its partner institutions, iAtlantic will recruit a significant cohort of early career researchers (PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, Masters students) who will collectively form the community of iAtlantic Fellows. The aim of the iAtlantic Fellowship Scheme is to create a strong community of next generation ocean scientists who have an appreciation of the need to tackle ocean issues at basin scale, and are equipped with the skills to do so. Our iAtlantic Fellows represent a broad diversity of nationalities and scientific disciplines – to meet them, please visit our iAtlantic Fellows page.
Hands-on training at sea
For marine scientists, there is no substitute for working on a research vessel to learn essential data collection and observing skills. iAtlantic’s expedition programme comprises 30+ research cruises to all corners of the Atlantic, mobilising a range of state-of-the-art research vessels and instrumentation. Two iAtlantic flagship demonstrator cruises in 2020 (iMirabilis) and 2021 (iCorsage) will prioritise capacity building activities, making use of transit time between study areas to train marine wildlife observers, as well as ensuring berths are available for PhD students during the science legs. Other iAtlantic expeditions will offer opportunities for young researchers to engage in hands-on data collection as part of a multidisciplinary, multinational, multitalented research team.
Workshops, training and mentoring
iAtlantic is committed to running a series of technical workshops and training events throughout the course of the project. These are specifically linked to core areas of iAtlantic science, and are intended to both support our researchers in the implementation of the project and provide new avenues of learning for those not directly involved in these aspects of our research. The programme of events will evolve as the project progresses, but will include the following topics:
- Machine learning / automated image analysis
- Ocean model analysis
- Coral husbandry and taxonomy
- Big Data
- Multibeam data processing and analysis
- Statistical approaches to timeseries data
- Spatial assessment of environmental data
- Ocean governance and science-policy interfaces
In addition, two regional capacity building workshops will take place in Cape Verdes and Brazil in the summer of 2021.
Individual interactions between scientists of differing backgrounds, experience and career stages can bring positive benefits to both sides of the partnership. iAtlantic seeks to establish mentoring partnerships between regions and across disciplines to facilitate knowledge sharing, maximise transfer of skills, nurture career development and broaden the opportunities for collaboration.
Translating new knowledge to ocean governance and policy development
It is essential that new scientific knowledge is channeled to the right fora for use in policy development and ocean governance. iAtlantic will critically assess the current ocean governance frameworks applicable to the management of human activities affecting Atlantic marine ecosystems under conditions of change, and identify opportunities for improving management approaches.
Engagement with a range of regional/sectoral stakeholders and international processes will ensure feedback from those processes into relevant iAtlantic work packages, explore how iAtlantic results will be used by different end-users, and where the different sectoral groups may be able to contribute knowledge, data and expertise to the project effort. A series of high-level stakeholder engagement events will be held during the project, at which results from iAtlantic will be presented, ideas exchanged, and relevant issues discussed.
Right: Negotiations on a new UN treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) in New York.
- Achieve high levels of awareness of iAtlantic activities and results across a wide variety of audiences, from the public to high-level policy fora;
- Engage with and support stakeholders and decision-makers at regional, national and international levels, across sectors and geographic boundaries;
- Build and enhance capacity in the relevant scientific, technological and policy-oriented skills and enable transfer of knowledge throughout the Atlantic;
- Contribute to development of adaptive ocean governance frameworks and facilitate solution-oriented project outcomes to support progress towards the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity;
- Monitor and manage the exploitation of project results and technologies.
iAtlantic’s work on capacity building, stakeholder engagement, outreach and exploitation is led by Dr Vikki Gunn at Seascape Consultants Ltd, supported by Dr Sebastian Unger at TMG ThinkTank.