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Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) Scholarships extended to universities in Senegal and Mozambique

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) today announce the launch of up to 28 additional fully funded Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) Scholarships for students from Senegal and Mozambique.

Receiving funding through the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund, the scholarships are open to students from these destinations wishing to undertake a Master’s in their country of citizenship and develop a career in marine science.  

The OCPP Scholarships have now opened for applications at selected universities in Senegal and Mozambique for the forthcoming academic year, following a successful pilot programme in the South Pacific last year.  

Hosted by Universidade Eduardo Mondlane and Universidade Lúrio in Mozambique and Université Iba Der THIAM de Thiès, Senegal the OCPP Scholarships will fund a range of Master’s degree courses in marine science, enabling scholars to undertake world-class research and innovation in this area.

By supporting early career researchers who wish to develop a career in marine science, the scholarships will contribute to the conservation and sustainable management of marine resources and strengthen responses to marine environmental challenges.

The scholarships will also make a positive and tangible impact on the livelihoods of coastal communities that depend on healthy marine ecosystems, as scholars harness their on-the-ground knowledge, conduct vital research and help develop local solutions to local marine environmental issues.

Professor Colin Riordan CBE, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), said:

‘We are delighted to be further extending the OCPP Scholarships to universities in Mozambique and Senegal in the next academic year, bringing the OCPP Scholarships to more students across the Commonwealth and beyond than ever before.’ 

‘The ACU has an impressive track record of delivering scholarship and fellowship schemes on a global scale and this initiative is a further chapter in that story. We are proud to be supporting the next generation of marine scientists through the OCPP Scholarships to develop their careers, skills and knowledge, helping to ensure sustainable marine practices in coastal communities for future generations.’

Neil Hornby, Chief Executive of Cefas, said:

‘Cefas is delighted to be working with the ACU to support this next round of Ocean Country Partnership Programme scholarships in Mozambique and Senegal, adding to the other OCPP scholarships ACU have launched. These scholarships contribute to an enhanced knowledge base in OCPP partner countries to tackle the key marine challenges of biodiversity loss, marine pollution and sustainable seafood. This initiative broadens Cefas’ support for students internationally, creating opportunities for them to develop their science and enabling much needed scientific research to take place in these countries.’

Professor Sushil Kumar, Director of Research, University of the South Pacific (USP), summarised his experience of hosting the OCPP Scholarships pilot programme:

‘The Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) has provided an excellent opportunity to the budding researchers from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji, to pursue higher research Degree (Master’s and PhD) and develop skills and expertise to address the regional and global challenges in the areas of Marine Pollution, Marine Biodiversity, and sustainable seafood, supporting sustainable ocean practices.

The USP currently has 13 early-mid career researchers registered in Master’s and PhD programmes under the pilot OCPP scholarship programme, with backgrounds in Marine and environmental management. This partnership between USP and ACU and Cefas, has also provided an opportunity for USP academics to collaborate on different research projects and produce research output. The USP looks forward to having more students under this scholarship scheme, both from the region and internationally contributing to the capacity building in these areas of regional significance.’

This news follows the announcement earlier this year that the OCPP Scholarships have reopened for a second consecutive year in in the South Pacific (Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), and extended for the first time to Maldives, Ghana, India, Bangladesh and Belize

The OCPP scholarship pilot last year was the first collaboration between the ACU and Cefas following the signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May 2022, formalising their partnership on research capacity strengthening activities in the areas of environmental science. The ACU has been appointed to administer the OCPP Scholarships on behalf of the Programme. 

The OCPP is delivered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Applications for OCPP Scholarships Senegal and OCPP Scholarships Mozambique are now open and close 3 January 2024. 

For the latest information, including application deadlines, eligibility, courses on offer and how to apply, please visit here.

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