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The Our Shared Ocean funding programme, specifically designed to build strategic research partnerships between Ireland and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), has launched a suite of competitive calls to support capacity building in eligible SIDS partner countries in the areas of oceans and climate action; inclusive and sustainable blue-economy and marine Policy; and ocean governance.

The multi-annual collaboration launched last year, funded by Irish Aid and administered by the Marine Institute, will provide €3.8 million over the next five years to facilitate partnerships on ocean-related issues.

Our Shared Ocean is part of Ireland’s response to the challenges facing many SIDS, recognising that our fellow islanders are on the front line of the impact of climate change and vulnerable in particular to sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

It also recognises the important role of SIDS in relation to global ocean governance and their capacity to develop innovative responses to these challenges.

The programme, the first of its kind by Ireland to engage strategically with developing island states, aims to leverage existing national marine research capabilities and expertise to empower the SIDS with the skills and opportunity to tackle local marine issues.

Following an extensive stakeholder consultation which included conversations with representatives and research scientists in over 20 countries from the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, the project team now invite joint research applications (Irish and SIDS partners) to develop MSc scholarships, research fellowships or project awards. Also on offer are travel and mobility grants to facilitate eligible SIDS student participation in international conferences and workshops.

Our Shared Ocean research topics reflect stakeholder feedback and are focussed on the most relevant challenges and opportunities facing our oceans today. These include, but are not limited to, blue carbon; coastal engineering; climate resilience; coastal and marine management; ocean economy; digital technology; and marine education and communication.

The grants are intended to provide research training opportunities for scientists in oceanography, marine engineering and related marine science, social science and humanities disciplines. The Our Shared Ocean Team can also discuss your research and how it addresses the challenges identified in the programme. Contact [email protected] or @OurSharedOcean on Twitter for more information.

Minister for International Development and Diaspora, Sean Fleming said: “Our Shared Ocean reflects Ireland’s commitment to deepening our partnership with Small Island Development States and ensuring we are championing responses to the issues they face. This important programme builds strategic research partnerships between Ireland and Small Island Developing States on issues related to oceans.”

Paul Connolly, chief executive of the Marine Institute added: "Without a shared understanding of the challenges facing the marine environment, there cannot be shared solutions.

“We are privileged to have spoken to inspiring scientists around the world, from multiple research disciplines, who are making a real difference to how we think about, use and manage our shared ocean space on a local and regional scale.

“We have listened to these critical ocean stakeholders, to become aware of the unique set of environmental and economic pressures these small islands face, but more importantly to hear their proposed solutions. We are confident our call topics match that ambition.”

Published in Marine Science