The ocean is essential for nearly all processes of life on Earth and underpins livelihoods, food security and cultural traditions for communities around the world. However, the accumulation of marine plastics pollution increasingly threatens fragile underwater ecosystems and has become one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.
In response, countries across the Commonwealth collectively signed the Commonwealth Blue Charter in 2018 to affirm their shared commitment to tackling ocean-related challenges and preserving threatened marine ecosystems.
Research and international collaboration have a vital role to play in driving the success of the Blue Charter at large. To boost cutting-edge research on marine plastics pollution and reduction, between 2018-2021 the UK Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Waitrose & Partners provided funding for two phases of the ACU Blue Charter Fellowships Programme, supporting a total of 48 outstanding talents in the field to produce research, build knowledge exchange skills, and translate their knowledge into action.
Fellows' research outcomes are aligned with the following thematic areas:
The Blue Charter Fellowships programme forms part of the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research & Innovation Framework -- a global hub which aims to share scientific and technical expertise to tackle marine plastics pollution.
The programme is now closed.
The urgency and scope of the problem is immense, but there is reason to be hopeful as innovative and collaborative solutions, such as those enabled by the Blue Charter Fellowships, are being developed."
- Ms Freya Croft, Waitrose Blue Charter Fellow 2019/20