Blue Communities Launches Legacy Website

Posted on 21st September 2023

The Blue Communities programme, funded by the UK Government’s Global Challenge Research Fund from 2017-2022 produced significant outputs and on-going partnerships with researchers in Southeast Asia. The outputs from the programme (which continue to be updated) can now be viewed on the official Blue Communities legacy website at https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/blue-communities.

Led by Professor Melanie Austen, of the University of Plymouth, research teams from across ten international partner organisations including Blue Ventures, Hanoi National University of Education, International Pole and Line Foundation, North Devon Biosphere, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Exeter, University of Malaya, Universitas Nasional, and Western Philippines University collaborated to build research capacity for sustainable interactions with marine ecosystems. Through the co-creation and co-delivery of initiatives between academic researchers and stakeholders from four case study sites in Southeast Asia, over 50 outputs from the programme including peer-reviewed papers, reports, book chapters and policy briefs, as well as numerous illustrations and videos (with some translated into Bahasa Indonesian, Malay and Vietnamese) can now be accessed via the Blue Communities legacy website. The key areas of work from the programme includes:

  • Supporting health and well-being
  • Improving governance and management
  • Ecosystem services and resource management
  • Modelling and understanding future scenarios
  • Capacity building and research techniques

Prof. Mel Austen commented “The Blue Communities programme was a success due to the incredible teamwork. This enabled co-development and co-delivery of research with our partners from the UK, across Southeast (SE) Asia and beyond, with coastal communities from four SE Asia case study sites, and with invaluable support from our international Advisory Board members. Crucially, a key aspect has been engagement with the stakeholders and those communities who are living in, and dependent upon, the coastal environment and resources. Feedback to these people of the data and evidence collected by the academic researchers has been pertinent to the policy- and decision-makers in Southeast Asia who seek to manage the coastal environment in a sustainable and equitable manner, and has empowered the local communities in the case study sites. By conducting research using cross-cutting and interdisciplinary approaches, significant insights have been developed to improve the understanding of the trade-offs from different users of marine resources, how the health of the marine environment is intrinsically linked with human health and well-being, the importance of engaged governance, and the concerns around future changes caused by climate change that will affect coastal communities. We have demonstrated that integration of social sciences with natural and human health sciences is essential for a holistic view of the state of the marine environment and how it provides for, and supports coastal communities in SE Asia. We are all pleased to see so many outputs as a direct result of the Blue Communities programme and are delighted to be able to share them with wider audiences, via our legacy website.”

Dr. Radisti Praptiwi, an early career researcher said “Blue Communities was an incredible opportunity for Early Career Researchers like me. It was the first time I had an opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary project. The ECR network gave me new chances to make lifelong friends and networks from outside my University. Submitting and winning funding for a Blue Communities ECR [Early Career Researcher] pilot project grant has really helped me gain confidence to become an academic researcher. Because of Blue Communities I have won further additional external funding with UK partners and have been invited to talk at national Biosphere meetings about the research we have done in the project.’’

Dr. Hong Ching Goh, Dr. Lota Creencia, Dr. Radisti Praptiwi and Dr. Duong Minh Lam (Blue Communities’ Partners from SE Asia) “When we started Blue Communities we were not sure what to expect. It has been a great experience sharing and growing our knowledge with the UK and other Southeast Asian partners and with the/our coastal communities in case studies. We really feel that our research has helped them to think about what they gain and lose from their interactions with the marine environment in a different way, improving understanding of their mutual dependence and impact on it. And the experiences and capacity building for our researchers has been invaluable.”

 

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