ACU Blue Charter Fellowships: developing solutions to marine plastics pollution

ACU Blue Charter Fellowships: developing solutions to marine plastics pollution

Published on 05 December 2018

Talented researchers will be travelling to ACU member universities and research institutions across the Commonwealth to develop solutions to marine plastics pollution, thanks to ACU Blue Charter Fellowships.

Supporting multilateral academic mobility, the selected fellows will be undertaking a truly diverse array of research projects, including:

  • The University of Adelaide, Australia, and University of the South Pacific (USP), Fiji, are using the fellowship scheme to exchange PhD students, thus deepening their research links. PhD candidates supervised by Professor Bronwyn Gillanders at Adelaide and Dr Marta Ferreira at USP will be exchanging places for three months. Both fellows' PhD research focuses on the contamination of marine life by microplastics.

  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana will be hosting Yi Zhang a PhD candidate from McGill University in Canada. Yi will be collaborating with KNUST researchers on an innovative project that aims to create an alternative to single-use plastic packaging by developing cost-effective edible packaging, using food waste from the Ghanaian agricultural sector.

  • Dr Dativa Joseph Shilla from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, will be hosted by Professor Mohammad Shoeb at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they will be working together to map plastic routes from land to sea.

  • Steve Allen from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, UK, will be hosted by the Sustainable Seas Trust in South Africa. He will collaborate with Dr Tony Ribbink on the development and testing of low-cost, environmental plastics pollution monitoring to quantify how much river plastic pollution is entering the South African marine environment.

Fellows were selected following a rigorous selection process, overseen by a panel of experts from across the Commonwealth – highlighting the collaborative approach of this programme.

The ACU would like to thank the selection panel for their contributions, find out more about them below:

A full list of the successful fellows and their research projects will be published in the New Year, once the fellows are in place at their host institutions.

Alison Swaddling, Adviser on Ocean Governance at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said 'It's exciting to have awarded so many ACU Blue Charter fellowships to such an outstanding group of scholars, who are working to tackle marine plastic pollution. Collaboration is key to solving global issues and the fellowships are vital to connect Commonwealth universities to the actions being undertaken through the Commonwealth Blue Charter. We hope to continue the fellowships on other Blue Charter Action Group topics in the future'.

More information

ACU Blue Charter Fellowships are funded by the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

This programme helps fulfil the aims of the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework and supports the work of the Commonwealth Blue Charter, by harnessing the collective knowledge and expertise of ACU member universities and supporting world-class research and innovation into marine plastics pollution.

For all further enquiries, please email