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Strathclyde leading £20 million programme aimed at tackling threats to the world
Strathclyde leading £20 million programme aimed at tackling threats to the world’s oceans

22 January 2019

From plastic pollution to rising sea levels and acidification to over-fishing, the threats facing our oceans are well-known.
Now the University of Strathclyde is to lead an ambitious £20 million programme – the UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub – aimed at transforming the global response to these urgent challenges.
The Hub will bring together the competing interests and agendas of the individuals, communities and organisations that rely on our oceans to realise a vision of an integrated and sustainable approach to conservation and sustainable use.
A key priority will be to ensure the knowledge, experiences and rights of those most-reliant upon the oceans, and disproportionately affected by our failure to protect them, are recognised. 
The team will set out to uncover the less tangible values of the ocean, and the hidden ‘trade-offs’ in ocean decision-making.
The goal is to ensure decision-making at multiple levels (local to international) is based on evidence of risks and opportunities among competing ocean uses.
The five-year programme is being funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund and will involve more than 50 partners, including world-leading research centres, development organisations, community representatives, governments and multiple UN agencies. 
Programme lead, Professor Elisa Morgera, Director of the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance with the Law School, said: “Millions of people all over the world are entirely reliant upon the ocean for food, jobs and transport yet over-exploitation, competing uses, pollution and climate change are pushing ocean ecosystems towards a tipping point. 
“The One Ocean Hub will bridge the current disconnects across law, science and society to empower local communities, woman and the young – who are particularly impacted by decision-making – to co-develop research and solutions. 

“The aim is to predict, harness and share equitably environmental, socioeconomic and cultural benefits from ocean conservation and sustainable use. 

“The Hub will also identify hidden trade-offs between more easily monetized fishing or mining activities and less-understood values of the ocean's deep cultural role, function in the carbon cycle, and potential in medical innovation.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde said: “This is a hugely-important research programme that seeks to tackle one of the biggest challenges of our time.

“I’m delighted and proud that the University of Strathclyde is leading this consortium. We have a proven track record of collaboration with partners from across multiple sectors to make a positive impact on global communities, and also helping to progress the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Science and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore, said: “The UK has a reputation for globally influential research and innovation, and is at the centre of a web of global collaboration – showing that science has no borders.

“We have a strong history of partnering with other countries – over 50% of UK authored research involves collaborations with international partners.

“The projects being announced today reinforce our commitment to enhance the UK’s excellence in innovation at home and around the world, driving high-skilled jobs, economic growth and productivity as part of the modern Industrial Strategy.”

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI Champion for International and Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), said: “The sheer scale and ambition of these Hubs is what makes them so exciting. They enable us to deliver a coordinated global response with UK researchers working in partnership with researchers, governments, NGOs, community groups and international agencies across developing countries. 

“Each Hub has the potential to transform the quality of life for multitudes throughout the world and safeguard our planet for future generations.”

Within the initial five years of the programme, the team hopes to advance an integrated and inclusive approach to ocean management at a national level in South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, Fiji and the Solomon Islands that enhances the resilience of marine ecosystems and of vulnerable groups.

Dr Ann Cheryl, Vice Dean Learning and Teaching, University of the South Pacific, said: “We are delighted to work collaboratively across disciplines with other committed organisations towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Hub will provide support in complex issues at national and regional level within a respectful partnership, and will help secure the health and wellbeing of the ocean and vulnerable communities for generations to come.”
Professor Morgera said: “Our aspiration is that decisions on the ocean will be informed by multiple values and knowledge systems and that the rights and worldviews of communities, women and youth will be recognised, valued and realised.”

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government in late 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. 

The One Ocean Hub will help to support the UK’s international commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans.


Further information:
Stuart Forsyth
Corporate Communications Manager
Media and Corporate Communications
University of Strathclyde

Tel: 44 (0) 141 548 4373
Mob: 07976 660 433
Twitter: @UniStrathNews

Notes to Editors
Co-Investigator Partner Organisations:
Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science 
Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Glasgow School of Art
Heriot-Watt University
French National Institute of Health and Medical Research
International Institute for Environment and Development
Maseno University
National Oceanography Centre
Nelson Mandela University
NERC British Geological Survey
Rhodes University
Scottish Association for Marine Science
University of Cape Coast
University of Cape Town
University of Edinburgh
University of Namibia
University of Plymouth
University of Southampton
University of Strathclyde
University of the South Pacific
University of the West Indies

Research Partner Organisations:
Birdlife International
Client Earth
Commonwealth Secretariat
Convention on Biological Diversity 
Del-York International Limited
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Federal Institute of Industrial Research
Fisheries & Marine Resources - Namibia
Fisheries Commission Accra
Indigenous and community conserved areas Consortium
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
African Women for Science and Engineering
Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development
Nigerian Environmental Society
Organization of American States
Research Institute for Marine Fisheries
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
South African Environmental Observation Network
South African Government
South African National Biodiversity Inst
TVC Communications
The Jackson Group
Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, United Nations (UNDOALOS)
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
University of Seychelles
West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

About UKRI
UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.
Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

The Global Challenges Research Fund supports cutting-edge research and innovation that addresses the global issues faced by developing countries. It harnesses the expertise of the UK’s world-leading researchers, focusing on: funding challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; strengthening capability for research, innovation and knowledge exchange; and providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research or on-the-ground need.
It is a £1.5 billion fund which forms part of the UK Government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment and is overseen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through nine delivery partners including UK Research and Innovation, the UK Academies, the UK Space Agency and other funding bodies.