Funding for new research to help build a sustainable future for the UK’s marine environment was awarded to the University of Portsmouth today.
The project is one of six, which will investigate how to safeguard the future of the UK’s marine and coastal economy while protecting sea ecosystems. Portsmouth researchers have received a share of a £9.2 million grant from UK Research and Innovation.
Coastal communities are facing increased pressures from climate change, threats to marine wildlife and flooding. With the marine economy worth £48 billion, this research will support policy makers to manage this fragile environment and dependent economy in a sustainable way.
Marine environments and human welling are inextricably linked through complex and multi-layered socio-ecological systems that span land, coastal and ocean domains. Current marine resource management practices do not adequately adopt the necessary multi-disciplinary approaches that consider a broad range of opinions and viewpoints – known as ‘diverse values’.
One of the aims of this project is to speak to those communities that rarely engage and hear their views. By doing this we will get a broader range of opinions and values that can be used to generate better solutions for more people.
This project is adopting the use of innovative methods such as digital storytelling and forum theatre to reach disadvantaged coastal communities. This is the first time these techniques will be used in the UK for this type of work.
Project lead, Professor Steve Fletcher from the University of Portsmouth said: “One of the aims of this project is to speak to those communities that rarely engage and hear their views. By doing this we will get a broader range of opinions and values that can be used to generate better solutions for more people.
“This innovative project will use creative research methods, including digital storytelling and forum theatre, to uncover the values held by coastal communities, particularly marginalised groups, usually outside marine management processes. At the same time, we will work to build the capacity of individuals and institutions to recognise and use these values to support more sustainable marine management outcomes.”
The research team is aiming to generate a step-change in the way marine policy stakeholders and researchers use diverse values in decision making to support the sustainable marine resource management.
This award shows that if we put the right people into the right partnership we are more than able to compete with the best.
They will investigate how values from a wide range of disciplines (not just academia) can be integrated into the management of marine resources in the UK. The research will bring together scientists, policymakers and practitioners from outside and within the marine community to provide the building blocks needed to develop a strong community to support sustainable UK seas.
Professor Bob Nichol, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and External Relations), University of Portsmouth said: “This award shows that if we put the right people into the right partnership we are more than able to compete with the best. Awards like this should build our confidence and I really want to see us going for more grants of this size, especially as sometimes it is as much work to write a £100k proposal as £2m one”