Kick-off meeting of the Marine Graduate Training Working Group

The workforce for tomorrow’s marine and maritime industry, policy and research fields will be largely drawn from a pool of graduates who are currently receiving training in higher education institutions. European programmes and systems of training in marine science and technology are, therefore, of the highest importance. Currently, dedicated marine science programmes account for less than 10% of higher educational (degree) programmes in Europe, although training relevant to marine scientific fields or applications is also included in broader disciplinary training programmes, e.g. environmental courses.

The marine and sciences have a significant role to play in supplying high-quality graduates through training programmes and initiatives which are designed to address the needs of industry, science and policy. In order to facilitate the envisioned growth and job expansion envisioned by the EU Blue Growth initiative, a skilled workforce will be required, comprised of graduates from many different levels of the educational system. Education and research are, therefore, central components of the blue growth strategy and it is recognized that training itself, and the delivery of high-quality graduate programmes, is part of the engine which drives innovation and technology development in maritime sectors.

A strong vision for the future of marine science education and training must identify ways to improve the capabilities of the next generation of marine scientists and engineers to work at a systems level, applying multi-disciplinary knowledge to address complex marine issues which cut across scientific, environmental and social systems. To achieve this, it is necessary to examine the very complex educational landscape that currently produces our professional marine experts, identify some of the key issues and challenges faced by educators, and make recommendations on how to improve marine higher educational training in Europe.

The Marine Training Platform assisted the Working Group to reach following objectives

  • Conduct a high-level analysis (e.g. SWOT) of the current marine science education landscape in Europe
  • Identify the main barriers to better collaboration at national, regional and pan-European level to avoid fragmentation and duplication of effort
  • Contribute to identifying the right balance of bottom-up initiatives by scientists and educators, and top-down initiatives at several hierarchical levels including the EU, member states and universities
  • Consider innovative training instruments to identify and accommodate the needs of society, policy, industry and young scientists themselves
  • Develop a vision for the future of European marine science education and training
  • Make high-level proposals towards improving the educational landscape of marine sciences in Europe and creating a coherent framework for the training of 21st century marine experts