ECOPs Blue Capacity Development (BlueCaD) Project

Table of Contents

Credit: Anita Kainrath / Ocean Image Bank / Mangrove Photography Awards

Background

This project provides capacity for Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) through training on generation, sharing and management of ocean data and information, for science and sustainable development. Through specialized courses related to ocean science, the project empowers ECOPs from diverse backgrounds with professional techniques of data collection, data management and information sharing. This approach helps in reducing barriers among underrepresented groups, and enhance innovation among ECOPs from various ocean basins.  The project activities respond directly to UN Ocean Decade challenges 7, 9 and 10 on providing capacity, skills and knowledge for enhanced ocean observation and conservation.   

Objectives of the project

Delivering ‘the ocean we want,’ requires development of new techniques and holistic approaches in studying the ocean in more details and on a larger scale. The overall goal of BlueCaD project seeks to support this process by empowering ECOPs with professional skills on ocean data and information management for sustainability. 

Specifically, the initiative seeks to:

  1. Train short courses on data collection techniques, data management and science communication using online and in-person modules. 
  2. Coordinate sharing of data and information related to ocean science among ECOPs.

Activities

These courses introduce ECOPs to ocean data processing, analysis and visualization in a more powerful way using open-source software and programming languages. Relevant oceanographic (physical, chemical and biological) and fisheries datasets are used in the training, making it easy to relate, understand and apply the course concepts.  The courses are a blend of online and in-person training depending on funds or the target group. The online sessions also include synchronous and asynchronous formats. 

The field courses involve training ECOPs on sampling techniques for various facets of oceanography and marine biodiversity, such as water quality and fish catch data recording. It also enhances inclusivity through working with ECOPs outside research and academia on simple techniques of ocean observation which might not involve complex scientific concepts. Overall, the approach ensures accuracy and usability of the collected data as well as replicability of the methods.

Sustainable decisions about ocean sustainability requires understanding the fundamental concepts about the ocean and its resources, and communicating them in a meaningful way. The modules here involve training on both scientific writing and science communication. The first component enables ECOPs to scientifically communicate their findings, targeting peer reviewed journals. The second component trains ECOPs on elucidation of their work to policy makers, communities, industries and the general public using summary reports, policy briefs and infographics. 

Main stakeholders and partners

1

Ocean Teacher Global Academy (OTGA) of the IOC UNESCOOur main partner is OTGA. The organization delivers customized training for ocean experts and professionals to increase national and regional capacity in coastal and marine sciences, services and management. It hosts the e-learning courses, and provide pedagogic and administrative support during implementation of the training activities. It also supports some of the on-site courses. 

2

Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine ResearchThe ECOPs at Alfred Wegener Institute support coordination of the project and the courses. The institution also provides qualified experts in data science to give training on data collection and analysis techniques. 

3

Stockholm University – ECOPs from Stockholm University also assist in the coordination of the project and the courses. The experts support courses in physical oceanography and data analysis. 

Past training activities

  1. Ocean Colour Remote Sensing and Data Analysis – 6th to 24th June 2022

This was an introductory course for African Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) leveraging the use of ocean colour remote sensing as a tool for marine environmental protection and conservation.

Learn more: Report_ECOP Africa-training on ocean colour data analysis 

Students’ presenting their individual projects during the wrap up of Remote Sensing course. Credit: Eligio Maure

     2. Ocean Data Analysis with R Programming for ECOPs in Africa

The course served as an introduction to R programming language and software environment (RStudio) for data exploration, cleaning, organizing, analysis and visualization.

   3. Ocean Data Analysis with R Programming for ECOPs in Asia

The course targeted ECOPs from Asia, and served as an introduction to R programming language and software environment (RStudio) for data ocean data analysis.

   4. Data Analysis with Python Programming for ECOPs in Central America

This course introduced learners to the Python programming language and software environment. 

Other activities

Participation in the UN Ocean Decade Conference

In April 2024, the activities of our project were highlighted at the UN Ocean Decade Conference when Gabriel Akoko Juma gave a presentation on, “Cross-boundary training and capacity development for ECOPs as a tool for sustainable ocean observation and data management.”

ECOPs also strongly participated in other events such as the DIGITAL TWIN of the Ocean and ECOPs satellite event where discussions sought to provide further opportunities to engage Early ECOPs in the DTO process.

Screenshot 2024-07-17 at 15.21.30
Presentation of the project activities during the UN Ocean Decade Conference. Credit: Anabel von Jackowski
Screenshot 2024-07-17 at 15.23.17
Open discussion during the satellite event. Credit: Digital Twins of the Ocean

Upcoming courses

Introduction to Oceanographic Survey Techniques and Data Management – This will be a blended course, with online and in-person components. The course is specifically targeting ECOPs from and/or based in the Mediterranean region (from Southern Europe, Northern Africa and Western Middle East). The in-person component will take place in Malta from 11th to 16th November 2024. Check out for the call for application on our website and newsletter. 

Project coordinators

Gabriel Akoko Juma, PhD Student

Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

Anabel von Jackowski, Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Stockholm

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