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First international symposium “Diving into marine minds”: 136 students from 30 nationalities join forces in studying and understanding the worlds ocean

From 25 to 29 June 2018 the first international symposium for students studying the sustainable use and conservation of Marine Biological Resources is organized in Ostend (Vayamundo). Ghent University (as coordinator of the Master programmes EMBC+ and IMBRSea), together with ten European Universities (Sorbonne University, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Université de Bretagne Occidental, Oviedo University, University of the Basque Country, Marche Polytechnic University, University of the Algarve, Bergen University, Bremen University and Université de Côte d’Azur), the EMBRC-ERIC infrastructure and the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) organizes this unique event to provide a platform in which the future generation of marine professionals can meet and exchange ideas on how to study and protect our Ocean.

A recently published Science Brief on “Training the 21st Century Marine Professional” by the European Marine Board clearly states that Marine Graduates are vital for a sustainable future blue economy, and encourages the marine community, industry and research funders to work together towards a common vision.

With this first “Diving into Marine Minds” symposium the organizers hope to actively create this link between education, the marine science community and industry.

This first edition will be special. It celebrates the 10th anniversary of the joint master programmes in the field of Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (EMBC and EMBC+) and celebrates the kick-off of the Erasmus Mundus funded International Master programme in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea). The IMBRSea programme is currently the largest international study programme in the field of marine biological resources. Students in the EMBC+ and IMBRSea programme study for two years at several universities, participate in international summer schools and receive upon graduation a joint diploma signed by all involved Universities. This joint diploma appears to be a great asset in competitive international professional scene.

During the symposium in Ostend more than 150 students, teachers and partners active in these leading study programmes will get together in an innovative engaging setting with training workshops, exhibitions, debates and presentations. Topics discussed and studied include the top-priorities and challenges for todays Ocean ranging from the impact of climate change, over sustainable marine food production to impacts of pollution (such as plastics) on the Oceans Biodiversity.