Dr Arne Körtzinger, a marine chemist at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel and a professor at Kiel University as well as Dr Jörn Schmidt, a fisheries biologist at Kiel University and adjunct in the Marine Affairs Programme at Dalhousie University, now share the UNESCO Chair for Integrated Marine Sciences following appointment by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Therefore, Kiel retains one of only twelve UNESCO Chair in Germany. The UNESCO awards these chairs to strengthen international relationships and promote young scientists in emerging and developing countries. Kiel University has held a UNESCO Chair in marine sciences since 1997.
Marine Sciences in Kiel have held a top position in the world for many years. Thanks to expeditions on all world oceans, global research projects and cooperation with international partners, scientists at the GEOMAR and at Kiel University as part of the marine research focus Kiel Marine Sciences (KMS), benefit from a strong network. This also applies to the two new UNESCO Chair. Prof. Arne Körtzinger and Dr Jörn Schmidt have already been committed to joint research projects and the promotion of young scientists in West Africa for several years now, particularly in Cape Verde, Senegal and Nigeria, where they are cooperating with Universities and scientific institutions.
Prof. Arne Körtzinger is the scientific director of the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo (OSCM) on the Cape Verde island São Vicente. The OSCM is an international research and logistics station, that is jointly operated by GEOMAR and the Cape Verdean Institut for Fisheries Development INDP since 2017. The OSCM is not only a starting point for expeditions but is also an international meeting place for young scientists from Cape Verde and the West African region. “We run workshops for master’s students here and tie young researchers from the region into our projects. To be awarded the UNESCO Chair shows that our work on site is appreciated and facilitates building long term cooperation,” states Prof. Arne Körtzinger of GEOMAR, who will be continuing his research in West Africa as part of the new research project, REEBUS, which will be investigating upwelling areas off the coast of West Africa. He will also be organising courses for master’s students with Dr Jörn Schmidt as part of the BMBF programme WASCAL.
Dr Jörn Schmidt addresses issues such as socio-ecological systems and concepts of sustainability of the ocean, fisheries management and science communication. The fisheries biologist, who has been conducting interdisciplinary research at the Kiel Universities Department of Economics in recent years, develops concepts for practical management consulting and works with various maritime stakeholders in his research. In doing so, he not only considers the effects of global change and the changes in local ecosystems in his research, but also includes political and socio-economic conditions - indispensable if one wants to move from an overfished state to a sustainable and economically efficient fisheries. Collaboration with researchers, fishermen and local political actors is an important foundation in this case. "With the UNESCO Chair I would like to strengthen the cooperation between research and society, in Germany as well as in my research areas off West Africa and also in South America, especially in Brazil and Peru, where I have two research projects just started this year. In doing so, we explicitly consider the sustainability goals of the United Nations," states Dr Jörn Schmidt. "We want to set up dialogue forums in which junior researchers develop common solutions with established scientists and actors from politics and society. Teaching concepts on social entrepreneurship will also play an important role in this."
The UNESCO Chair of Integrated Marine Sciences will initially be granted until 2021 and can then be extended for four years upon request.
www.kms.uni-kiel.de (Kiel Marine Science, Kiel University)
www.geomar.de (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel)
www.oscm.cv (Ocean Science Centre Mindelo)