Today, the Association and Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) are delighted to announce the expansion of the Ocean Country Partnership Program (OCPP) Scholarships to four new countries, following the successful South Pacific pilot last year.
Funded through the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund, the OCPP Scholarships have now opened for applications at selected universities in Ghana, India, Bangladesh and Belize for the forthcoming academic year.
Hosted by the University of Belize, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Berhampur University, India, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), India, the OCPP Scholarships will fund a range of Master’s degree courses in marine science, enabling scholars to undertake world-class research and innovation in their country of citizenship.
By supporting early career researchers who wish to develop a career in marine science, the aim of the scholarships is to support scientific research that will contribute to the conservation and sustainable management of marine resources and strengthen responses to marine environmental challenges.
The scholarships will also make a positive and tangible impact on the livelihoods of coastal communities that depend on healthy marine ecosystems. Furthermore, the programme will enable scholars to harness their on-the-ground knowledge, conduct vital research and help develop local solutions to local marine environmental issues.
Colin Riordan, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), said: This latest round of scholarships, launching in universities across Ghana, India, Bangladesh and Belize in the next academic year, will go a long way to support sustainable marine environments whilst also helping the next generation of marine scientists to develop their careers, skills and knowledge through Master’s study.’
The ACU has an impressive track record of delivering scholarship and fellowship schemes on a global scale and this initiative is a further chapter in that story. We look forward to continuing our work with the OCPP delivery partners and universities in coastal communities to protect ocean environments and support sustainable marine practices.’
Neil Hornby, Chief Executive of Cefas, said: ‘Cefas is delighted to be working with the ACU to support these additional Ocean Country Partnership Programme scholarships in Ghana, India, Bangladesh and Belize, building on the success of the first round of scholarships in the South Pacific. These scholarships contribute to an enhanced knowledge base in OCPP partner countries to tackle the key marine challenges of biodiversity loss, marine pollution and sustainable seafood. This initiative broadens Cefas’ support for students internationally, creating opportunities for them to develop their science and enabling much needed scientific research to take place in these countries.’
Professor Sushil Kumar, Director of Research, University of the South Pacific (USP), summarised his experience of hosting the OCPP Scholarships pilot programme: ‘The Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) has provided an excellent opportunity to the budding researchers from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and FIji, to pursue higher research Degree (Master’s and PhD) and develop skills and expertise to address the regional and global challenges in the areas of Marine Pollution, Marine Biodiversity, and sustainable seafood, supporting sustainable ocean practices. The USP currently has 13 early-mid career researchers registered in Master’s and PhD programmes under the pilot OCPP scholarship programme, with backgrounds in Marine and environmental management.
This partnership between USP and ACU and Cefas, has also provided an opportunity for USP academics to collaborate on different research projects and produce research output. The USP looks forward to having more students under this scholarship scheme, both from the region and internationally contributing to the capacity building in these areas of regional significance.’
The OCPP scholarship pilot programme in the South Pacific last year was the first collaboration between the ACU and Cefas following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May 2022, formalising our partnership on research capacity strengthening activities in the areas of environmental science.
The ACU has been appointed to administer the OCPP Scholarships on behalf of the Programme. The OCPP is delivered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Additional scholarships are also in the pipeline to launch in further locations in 2024.
- Applications for OCPP Scholarships in India, Bangladesh and Belize are now open till 20 November 2023. For more information including eligibility criteria, courses on offer and how to apply please visit this page
- Find out more about the Ocean Country Partnership Programme and Blue Planet Fund
About the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
The ACU is a network of universities across the Commonwealth with a shared commitment to building a better world through higher education.
Founded in 1913, it convenes and connects universities, individuals and partners to promote and advance higher education’s contribution to sustainable development, strengthen the capacity of universities, and create opportunities for people to access the knowledge and skills they need to make a positive difference to their communities, societies and nations.
Its aim is to create a strong and connected higher education community that works across borders and boundaries to build a fairer, more sustainable world.
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is a world leader in marine science and technology, providing innovative solutions for the aquatic environment, biodiversity and food security. Cefas is an Executive Agency of Defra and the UK’s most diverse centre for applied marine and freshwater science and research. For more information about Cefas visit www.cefas.co.uk and follow @CefasGovUK