Researchers from UCT are included in two of 12 international teams selected by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) to establish large interdisciplinary research hubs based at leading UK universities that address the world’s complex development challenges.
The research hubs are funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which was set up by the UK government to support research that tackles the challenges faced by developing countries. It offers five years of large-scale funding for initiatives that aim to make the world safer, healthier and more prosperous.
The two hubs UCT is involved in – the UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents Hub and the UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub – were chosen to be among the 12 successful applicants out of a pool of some 380.
UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub
The UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub, led by the University of Strathclyde, aims to transform our response to the multiple, urgent challenges that threaten the health of the world’s ocean and its contributions to human well-being.
Whereas current solutions are disconnected across sectors and levels, and from those people most affected by ocean degradation, the UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub aims to unify them.
“[The hub] seeks to generate new knowledge, facilitate the sharing of scientific data, best practices and approaches to enhance use, development, governance and benefit-sharing of our oceans.”
By bringing together a collaboration of more than 50 partners – including research centres, development organisations, community representatives, national and regional governments and multiple United Nations agencies – the UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub seeks to bridge disconnections in law, science and policy and to integrate governance frameworks to balance multiple ocean uses with conservation.
The hub strives to empower the communities, women and children most reliant upon the oceans to inform decisions based on multiple values and knowledge systems. It will investigate how to share fairly and equitably the environmental, socio-cultural and economic benefits of ocean conservation and sustainable use.
Five UCT researchers from three departments will be co-investigators on the hub: Dr Lynne Shannon from the Department of Biological Science, and Dr Philile Mbatha,Associate Professor Merle Sowman and Associate Professor Rachel Wynberg from the Department of Environmental & Geographical Science.
“The hub is a direct response to the call to create ‘knowledge hubs’ made at the 2017 United Nations Ocean Conference on Sustainable Development Goal 14: life below water,” says Sowman, head of the UCT environmental & geographical sciences department. “It seeks to generate new knowledge, facilitate the sharing of scientific data, best practices and approaches to enhance use, development, governance and benefit-sharing of our oceans.”
The hub will specifically address the challenges and opportunities of South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, Fiji and Solomon Islands to enhance the resilience of marine ecosystems and vulnerable groups dependent on coastal and resources. The hub’s knowledge will be shared at regional (South Pacific, Africa and Caribbean) and international levels.
Story: Staff Writer
Picture: Quimono, Pixabay
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