13 December 2021
Blue Communities Programme Director, Professor Melanie Austen, and lead scientist for the Blue Communities Malaysia team, Dr Hong Ching Goh, were invited to join Amanda Solloway MP (former Science Minister for the UK Government) to introduce the great work Blue Communities has been undertaking over the last 4 years.
 

As part of the ‘Good Development’ series, consisting of short informal conversations between the UK Science Minister and climate scientists and innovators, this was a wonderful opportunity for Prof. Austen and Dr Goh to talk about why the work of Blue Communities matters, what the impact has been, the likely legacies, and how all of our work contributes to UK and international climate ambitions.
 
The conversation began by summarising the extent, activities and aspirations of Blue Communities, highlighting the ‘nexus approach’ of investigating cross-cutting, high-level societal issues through the combined lens of different disciplines and stakeholders.
 
Prof. Austen said:  “As the programme has gone on, there has been a stronger realisation across the partnership of just how interactive all the sectors and disciplines are, and that this understanding is  so important if we’re actually going to help the communities that are so dependent on their marine environment to make better use of it in a more sustainable way.”
 
Discussion then went on to showcase some of the promising results and outputs that have been and are being developed in the programme. This included the use of satellite technology to monitor the quantity of small-scale aquaculture sites in partner waters and the research that is being undertaken to understand the cumulative impact of such activities.
 
Amanda Solloway then asked about sharing the research with potential beneficiaries, and how the international collaboration was of benefit to the Blue Communities participants and the communities with which they are working.
 
In response, Dr Goh commented: “One thing already happening in Tun Mustapha Park (Malaysia) is the empowering of youth and women; to empower them and to do the research as well as take care of their natural environment. It responds to the fundamental call for intergenerational sustainability and it is our responsibility to equip the future generations.”
 
“As a mid-career scientist, I really appreciated the mentorship that has been established through Blue Communities. It’s tremendous and at the same time it is so supportive. I have really benefited from this programme and the interdisciplinary nature across countries – it’s borderless.”
 
 
The ‘Good Development’ series is run by the Newton Fund and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the full 20 minute conversation can be watched here.

Other recent news highlights

Blue Communities Early Career Researchers launch photo competition

29 October 2021

The Blue Communities Early Career Researcher Network (BC ECRN) has initiated a photography...

2021 Annual Science Meeting is another great success

18 August 2021

Blue Communities held its Annual Science Meeting from 21st – 29th July and once again...

Safeguarding the future of marine and coastal economies whilst also protecting marine ecosystems

26 July 2021

Blue Communities researchers have been successful in securing a share of £9.2 million from...