New £20m drive to protect world’s oceans led by University of Strathclyde

A Scottish university is spearheading a £20 million programme aimed at tackling the current threats to the world’s oceans.

The University of Strathclyde is leading the One Ocean Hub, which aims to transform the global response to urgent environmental challenges such as plastic pollution, acidification and over-fishing.

The project involves more than 50 partner organisations around the world, including research centres, development organisations and UN agencies.

Several other Scottish-based institutions – including Glasgow School of Art, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh – are also involved in the five-year programme, funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The University of Strathclyde said the hub will bring together the various competing interests and agendas of the individuals, communities and organisations that rely on the oceans to produce a sustainable approach to conservation.

One priority will be to ensure that the experiences of those most-reliant upon the seas, and those disproportionately affected by the failure to protect them, are recognised.

Programme leader Professor Elisa Morgera, director of Strathclyde’s Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, said: “Millions of people all over the world are entirely reliant upon the ocean for food, jobs and transport yet over-exploitation, competing uses, pollution and climate change are pushing ocean ecosystems towards a tipping point.

“The One Ocean Hub will bridge the current disconnects across law, science and society to empower local communities, woman and the young – who are particularly impacted by decision-making – to co-develop research and solutions.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the university, said: “This is a hugely important research programme that seeks to tackle one of the biggest challenges of our time.”

The One Ocean Hub is one of 12 new global research hubs being supported by £200 million from the GCRF.

Among them is a £20 million project being led by the University of Edinburgh, which seeks to limit risk of natural disasters.

The research will be based in four cities around the world – Nairobi, Quito, Istanbul and Kathmandu.

UK Science and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said: “We have a strong history of partnering with other countries – over 50% of UK authored research involves collaborations with international partners.

“The projects being announced reinforce our commitment to enhance the UK’s excellence in innovation at home and around the world, driving high-skilled jobs, economic growth and productivity as part of the modern industrial strategy.”