In­ter­na­tional bri­gade are Mas­ters of Dun­staffnage

The Oban Times - - News -

AN IN­TER­NA­TIONAL group of stu­dents on a pres­ti­gious Mas­ters de­gree at the Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Ma­rine Science (SAMS UHI) at Dun­beg is catch­ing the eye of the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try.

The 25 stu­dents, who come from all cor­ners of the globe, are the sec­ond co­hort to join the Eras­mus Mun­dus Joint Mas­ters De­gree ( EMJMD) in Aqua­cul­ture, En­vi­ron­ment and So­ci­ety (ACES), awarded jointly by the Univer­sity of the High­lands and Is­lands and Univer­sity of Crete.

The group, all based in and around Oban for an ini­tial six months, rep­re­sent 19 coun­tries, in­clud­ing New Zealand, Ja­maica, Peru, Brazil, Pak­istan, China, Colom­bia and the USA.

As part of the two-year ACES pro­gramme, they will con­tinue their stud­ies in Crete next Fe­bru­ary and in au­tumn 2017 will move on to Nantes be­fore spend­ing the fi­nal six months of their Mas­ters at one of the three part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The aca­demic course will cover in­dus­try-rel­e­vant aspects of aqua­cul­ture, such as en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, gov­er­nance, tech­nol­ogy, life cy­cles and feed pro­duc­tion.

Course leader Dr El­iz­a­beth Cot­tier- Cook, a se­nior re­searcher at SAMS, said: ‘The ACES pro­gramme pro­vides fully-funded schol­ar­ships for EU and non-EU stu­dents in a bid to at­tract the very best aqua­cul­ture stu­dents from around the world.

‘It also al­lows the stu­dents to share their ex­pe­ri­ences of that in­dus­try from na­tion to na­tion. This helps us build on the aca­demic el­e­ments of the course and en­cour­ages a cu­rios­ity about links be­tween academia and in­dus­try.’

The course also in­vites guest lec­tur­ers and schol­ars from the United Na­tions, as well as re­search in­sti­tutes in Tas­ma­nia, Is­rael and the USA.

Ma­rine Har­vest spon­sors a schol­ar­ship for one EU-based stu­dent, who will go on to com­plete their stud­ies with the com­pany.

The com­pany’s busi­ness sup­port man­ager, Steve Bracken, said: ‘Cour­ses such as EMJMD ACES are an im­por­tant vec­tor to bridge the gap be­tween ed­u­ca­tion, re­search and devel­op­ment, and ap­plied in­dus­try tech­niques and knowl­edge.

‘Aqua­cul­ture-based academia within the UK is grow­ing and the re­search un­der­taken at SAMS, Crete and Nantes is in­dus­try-rel­e­vant.

‘Stu­dents ed­u­cated there learn and un­der­stand the­o­ries, tech­niques and skills that can bring a sig­nif­i­cant and sus­tain­able growth to Europe’s salmon farm­ing in­dus­try.’

Ju­dith Vajk, of Cale­do­nian Oys­ters, hosted the stu­dents at her shell­fish farm near Oban. She said: ‘The ACES pro­gramme stands out for me be­cause of its in­ter­na­tional per­spec­tive and its close links with in­dus­try. These stu­dents could one day be in high-level re­search and pol­icy po­si­tions, so hav­ing a strong knowl­edge of in­dus­try so early in their ca­reers can only be a ben­e­fit to every­one.

‘I en­joyed meet­ing the stu­dents, shar­ing a pas­sion for shell­fish and learn­ing about how the in­dus­try op­er­ates in their re­spec­tive coun­tries.’

ACES stu­dent Yu­lia Buh­lak, from Ukraine, said: ‘I am ex­tremely pas­sion­ate about aqua­cul­ture. One of my goals is to pro­vide the pop­u­la­tion with good qual­ity and sus­tain­able fish pro­tein.

‘I was search­ing for a Mas­ters pro­gramme with hands- on ex­pe­ri­ence and teach­ers who could pro­vide state- of-the-art knowl­edge. This is what I found on the ACES pro­gramme, but I also got even more.

‘I am en­joy­ing beau­ti­ful Scot­land, meet­ing amaz­ing in­ter­na­tional friends and learn­ing from en­thu­si­as­tic and help­ful teach­ers. The in­ten­sive pro­gramme takes me out of my com­fort zone but the di­rect in­volve­ment with in­dus­try will in­crease my chances of fu­ture ca­reer place­ment.’

Fel­low stu­dent Fa­tima Gianella, from Peru, added: ‘When I found the ACES pro­gramme on­line, it caught my at­ten­tion im­me­di­ately.

Ap­pli­ca­tions are be­ing taken for the third ACES co­hort (aca­demic year 2017/18). To ap­ply, or to find out more in­for­ma­tion visit

Stu­dents from 19 dif­fer­ent coun­tries are work­ing at SAMS in Dun­beg.

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