UNCW Hosts International Researchers to Discuss Global Marine Science Issues

Monday, November 06, 2017

International scientists, policymakers and industry leaders are gathering at the UNCW Center for Marine Science this week to discuss global marine science issues and how to improve the economic climate of coastal regions.

Approximately 150 individuals and students from 15 countries, some as far as Australia and South Africa, are attending the inaugural UNCW Global Marine Science Summit hosted by UNC Wilmington. The four-day summit, which kicked off Nov. 5, focuses on coastal resilience and blue economy sustainability.

The summit is a unique opportunity to address the complex environmental and economic issues facing coastal regions around the world, said Aswani Volety, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Coastal resilience and blue economy sustainability are global concerns. This summit enables us to share information and learn from each other,” Volety said. “It’s essential that we collaborate to find solutions to the challenges the world’s coastal communities are facing.”

Participants will hear presentations from international researchers on collaborative approaches to coastal resilience that enable vulnerable communities to recover from disasters such as hurricanes, and sustainably adapt to long-term environmental changes. Presentations also include integrated sustainability strategies that provide social and economic benefits for current and future generations through the restoration and protection of the marine environment as natural capital.

Information from the summit will be used to improve and sustain coastal economies and to partner with local, state and federal agencies tasked with setting policies.

The Center for Marine Science, which houses more than 60 scientists, is the ideal site for the summit, said Chancellor Jose Sartarelli. CMS’s focus is collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to marine science research.

“Albert Einstein said imagination was more important than knowledge because knowledge looks to the past; imagination looks to the future,” said Sartarelli. “Imagination is fundamental for us as we discover and explore new worlds, and so, not only do we want to be excellent in everything that we do as a university, we want to be very focused on imagining the future. This first global summit helps us imagine what marine science can be, what the global economy can be, what coastal resilience can be.”

Global engagement is a key priority in UNCW’s Strategic Plan. The university has increased its international partnerships in marine science to create solutions to real-world problems and enhance the quality of research that takes place at UNCW.

-- Venita Jenkins