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Educating the next ocean leaders

The next-generation ocean leaders will lead the shift towards a more sustainable future. Here is a lumpsucker that is used as a cleaning fish in the aquaculture industry. Photo: Jon Terje Hellgren Hansen
By Linea Bancel|Published 15 February 2022|Category: News

UiT Norway’s Arctic University will start an experience-based master’s – Ocean Leadership, in the autumn of 2022, aimed at leaders working in the sector. The new master’s program is a result of a collaboration between REV Ocean and cluster member Hub Ocean Foundation in early 2020.

The Ocean Leadership program aims to strengthen strategic competencies for leading the development and implementation of integrative sustainability solutions for the ocean, writes UiT on their webpage.

– The program is broadly targeted towards established and emerging leaders in any marine and maritime sector who are interested in helping to lead the shift towards more sustainable ocean futures, says Fern Wickson, professor at the Norwegian School of Fisheries at UiT Norway’s Arctic University to Energy Valley.

Vigdis Hvaal, Head of Communications, Hub ocean.

Making a real difference

Ocean Leadership is the result of a collaboration agreement entered into between REV Ocean and Hub Ocean Foundation in early 2020. As part of this collaboration, the participants in the master’s program will be ensured good conditions to be able to make a real difference.

– C4IR Ocean (Hub Ocean) wants to contribute to research and development and our main tool for this is our Ocean Data Platform.
We look forward to working further on how ODP can be used in the master’s program. The Ocean Data Platform will be an important tool for future “Ocean leaders” to make science-based decisions for ocean management. We have an ambition to globally launch ODP for general availability this summer, says Vigdis Hvaal, Head of Communications, Hub Ocean Fundation.

Ocean Data Platform will be launched in the summer of 2022 and through big data and machine learning, researchers will have new and unique opportunities to investigate biological processes and find new local and global connections. This can have great significance for the future understanding of the climate crisis and will enable us to understand and make decisions based on a holistic knowledge base, by integrating and visualizing data.

Leading the way to a sustainable future

The master’s program seeks to build awareness of the interconnected challenges currently facing the ocean and enhance participants’ capacities for collaboration, integration, and transformation so that they are well placed to help lead the shift towards more sustainable futures.

– The program is broadly targeted towards established and emerging leaders in any marine and maritime sector who are interested in helping to lead the shift towards more sustainable ocean futures, says Wickson

Applicants need to have 5 years of work experience and at least 2 years of experience working as a leader.

Digitalizing the ocean activities

Fern Wickson, professor at the Norwegian School of Fisheries at UiT Norway’s Arctic University.

– The initial idea for the program arose during a trip on the research vessel Helmer Hanssen in which several high-level university administrators, researchers, and industry representatives were present, says Wickson.

Through their conversations and interactions, they identified a clear need for transdisciplinary collaborative solutions to address the sustainability challenges facing the ocean.

– That is, they saw that it was important to be able to work across different sectors and disciplines to effectively address complex problems such as climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, and inequity.

To advance collaborative sustainability solutions, it was also seen as necessary to effectively engage with the digital transformations taking place all around us and to consider how digitalization could be used productively to improve ocean activities.

Connecting expertise

In addition to its clear commitment to sustainability, UiT was identified as having several unique areas of expertise that could be brought together to help advance good governance of the ocean in the face of global challenges.

This included expertise in fisheries management and governance, the law of the sea, ocean and information technologies, the management of risk and societal safety, blue innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership, Fern explains.

– It was therefore decided that a new interfaculty program should be established to bring these areas of expertise together and create a program to support life-long learning for professionals working in marine and maritime sectors, which through providing up to date knowledge and skills from across different domains, would help equip them to lead the shift towards more sustainable ocean futures.

Sharing knowledge and experience

– This is an experience-based master’s program that is taken part-time over a period of three years, says Wickson.

In the first two years, the participants complete courses that are specific to the Ocean Leadership program while the third year is dedicated to writing a master’s thesis.

The courses will be conducted in a hybrid model. This means that each semester will include a combination of face-to-face sessions, online modules, and digital discussion seminars.

– The participants will come together for one week towards the beginning and one week towards the end of the semester to learn, share knowledge and experience, practice skills, and integrate knowledge across domains.

The program starts in autumn 2022 and the application deadline is March 1st