Understanding the marine environment for a sustainable ocean economy | Research Festival 2020

This event took place on Wednesday 22 January 2020.

The pressures on our environment have never been greater, and connecting scientific understanding, ocean business and stewardship has never been more important.

In preparation for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and against a backdrop of significant forecasted increases in exploitation of ocean resources, the University of Plymouth Marine Institute is hosting this day-long event to bring together academics, industry and policymakers for a dialogue on the challenges facing the ocean economy, and the collaborative opportunities available to overcome them.

The University’s marine research is world leading, and informs adaptation to changing seas and climate, alongside the sustainable exploitation of food, energy and mineral resources. Such expertise is of immense value to industry, policy and academic stakeholders; informing and de-risking the operation of ocean related business.  

Our researchers, and partners in the city, will share how Plymouth takes a whole-systems approach towards a sustainable ocean economy, from deep sea conservation to coastal defences to public perceptions. 

The workshop will showcase our expertise from understanding long-term environmental change to harnessing the oceans resources; innovative ocean data capture, to expert analysis of fundamental ocean processes.

It will also present the opportunity to participate in shaping the research strategy for the UK’s first National Marine Park in Plymouth Sound.

Morning programme

09:00 | Arrival and networking

09:15 | Welcome by Professor Richard Thompson

09:30 | Keynote: 'Technological innovation and data capture for a sustainable ocean economy' by Dr Barrie Stevens, Senior Advisor to the OECD Ocean Economy Group and former head of the OECD International Futures Programme

10:00 | Quick-fire talks:

  • 'Coastal resilience in a changing climate' by Dr Mark Davidson, Associate Professor in Coastal Processes
  • 'Separating signals of environmental impact from natural variation: Plymouth's unique long-term ocean monitoring' by Dr Clare Ostle, Research Fellow in Marine Biogeochemistry at Marine Biological Association
  • 'Storm waves and winds bring destruction alongside the promise of renewable energy' by Professor Alison Raby, Professor in Environmental Fluid Dynamics
  • 'Ocean noise: the unseen disturbance of ocean exploitation' by Dr Clare Embling, Lecturer in Marine Ecology
  • 'Marine protected areas: safeguarding marine environments from shallow seas to deep oceans' by Dr Emma Sheehan, Senior Research Fellow
  • 'Can aquaculture deliver sustainable protein to our growing population?' by Dr Daniel Merrifield, Associate Professor in Fish Health and Nutrition
Comfort break
  • 'Plymouth, a centre for the development and optimisation of future marine technology' by Dr James Fishwick, Head of Smart Sound Plymouth and Head of Technology and Operations for the Western Channel Observatory at Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • 'EmbryoPhenomics: Automated measuring of environmental sensitivity during early life stages of marine organisms' by Dr Oliver Tills, Teaching and Research Assistant - Marine Biology
  • 'Plymouth: a centre for navigation, autonomy and maritime cyber security' by Dr Richard Pemberton, Lecturer in Mechanical and Marine Engineering Design
  • 'Oceans and wellbeing: the human dimension is critical to underpin sustainability' by Professor Sabine Pahl, Professor of Applied Social Psychology

12:00 | Lunch

Afternoon programme

13:00 | Keynote: 'Joining the dots is fundamental to a sustainable future: A systems approach' by Daniel McGonigle, Head of Systems Research Programme at the Chief Scientific Adviser's Office of DEFRA

13:30 | Successful academic and industry partnerships - what does good look like? by Kevin Forshaw, Director of Industrial and Strategic Partnerships

14:00 | Panel discussion: Priorities for the sustainable growth of our ocean economy featuring the speakers of the day

14:30 | Breakouts

Please note that these sessions will run in parallel. There will be opportunity to participate in two sessions in the time available, with a sign-up form on arrival registration.

  • University facility tour of the Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport (COAST) Laboratory
  • How your marine business could benefit from electron microscopy, with Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre
  • Funding for business support drop-in sessions with Kevin Forshaw, Director of Industrial and Strategic Partnerships
15:00 | National Marine Park research strategy (optional)

This meeting will focus on the research opportunities and challenges presented by the launch of the UK's first National Marine Park in Plymouth, and how the city and the region may co-ordinate scientific activity for maximum impact and in alignment to the overall intention and objective of the initiative. We invite all attendees of the day to contribute if they wish. 

Our University speakers

Marine Institute

Marine Institute 

The University’s Marine Institute is the first and largest such institute in the UK. 

We provide the external portal to our extensive pool of world-leading experts and state-of-the-art facilities, enabling us to understand the relationship between the way we live, the seas that surround us and the development of sustainable policy solutions. 

We are integrating our multidisciplinary expertise in marine and maritime research, education and innovation to train new scientists, engineers, policy-makers, artists, technicians and business managers of the future. 

Find out more about the institute and our research, education and facilities