ACU Blue Charter Fellowships


The Commonwealth Blue Charter affirms our collective commitment to preserving and nurturing the world's oceans. Part of this includes tackling marine pollution – specifically the issue of marine plastics, which are drastically affecting the health of our oceans, marine life, and the Blue Economy.

Turtle - Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash 450px

As part of the Marine Plastics Research & Innovation Framework, the ACU is launching a new fellowship programme that will provide 35 academic fellows with 2-3 month placements at ACU member universities across the Commonwealth, as well as in industry.

These fellowships will support world-class research and innovation in marine plastics, and help fulfil the objectives of the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework.

Research and research translation areas will cover the broad area of marine plastics, including:

  • preventing plastics from getting into the sea
  • developing alternatives to plastics
  • the potential for cleaning up the seas
  • sustainable design
  • plastics waste management
  • green chemistry, including degradable polymers
  • the effects of plastics on aquatic life
  • education around plastics use and consumer behaviour
  • sociological and media approaches to plastics

Please note applications for these fellowships closed on Wednesday 7 November. 


Applicants must be PhD students or post-PhD research staff at ACU member institutions in any Commonwealth country.

Applications from early career researchers (ECRs) are particularly welcomed. Early career is defined as current PhD students, researchers up to 10 years post-PhD, and also researchers who are returning to academic work following a career break.

Applicants from any discipline will be considered, as long as they can demonstrate how their work relates to the topic.

The fellowship must take place at an ACU member institution, or in industry , outside the fellow's country of residence.

Fellows are expected to be highly skilled and motivated researchers whose proposed research topic is innovative, timely, and likely to lead to wider impact beyond the academic community.

Applicants must submit proof that the host institution is happy to host their fellowship as part of the application process.

How to apply

Applications closed on Wednesday 7 November. All successful and non-successful applicants will be notified by the end of November. 


Fellows who are ECRs will be assigned a specialist mentor at a third-party institution, which is not their home or host institution, who will provide support and advice during the fellowship.

Successful fellows' contact details will be shared with their assigned mentor for this purpose. 

Host institutions

Fellowships can be hosted by any ACU member institution, or in industry, in any Commonwealth country outside the applicant's country of residence.


The fellowships will last between two and three months, and must take place between 27 December 2018 and 31 March 2019.

Value of fellowships

Fellows will receive a grant of up to £8000 GBP to cover travel, accommodation, sustenance, travel insurance, vaccinations and visa costs.

All fellows will also receive a research grant of £2000 GBP for research costs – this can include conference participation – associated with the fellowship.


Fellows will be required to submit a written report within a month of the end of their fellowship, respond to a follow-up survey 12 months later,and take part in one ACU-led interview during the period of their fellowship. They will also have the opportunity to participate in the ACU Fellows' alumni scheme.


For any queries about the fellowships, please contact