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Rubbish floating on the water

Applications open for second round of Blue Charter fellowships

29 May 2019

Emerging scholars have a key opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research on marine plastic pollution at top universities and firms across the Commonwealth.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) recently launched the second round of the Blue Charter Fellowship Programme, which will support 10 academic fellows in designing innovations to tackle ocean pollution. Focus areas include preventing plastics from getting into the sea, alternatives to plastics, and the potential for cleaning up the seas.

Through funding from British supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners, as part of the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research & Innovation Framework (MPRIF), each fellow will be placed for up to six months in ACU member universities, as well as in industry.

The group follows the first cohort of 35 fellows, who completed their programme in March.

ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General Joanna Newman said: “This funding is testament to the incredible work being carried out by the first cohort of Blue Charter fellows. These researchers are at the forefront of driving social change around the issue of marine plastics pollution and these new fellowships will further contribute to the aims of the Commonwealth Blue Charter.

“We're very grateful to Waitrose, the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [BEIS], the Commonwealth Secretariat and all of our partners for ensuring the continued success of this programme.”

Each fellow will receive a grant of up to £14,000 to cover travel, accommodation, sustenance, travel insurance, vaccinations and visa costs. Grants of £4,000 for research costs associated with the fellowship will also be awarded.

In addition, fellows from both calls will have access to bespoke online training on boosting the impact of their research, along with the chance to apply for one of 30 grants to deliver research impact activities.

Commonwealth Head of Oceans and Natural Resources Nicholas Hardman-Mountford welcomed the new cycle of fellowships, adding: “Marine plastics are drastically affecting the health of our ocean, marine life and the blue economy. With more and more Commonwealth members taking bold actions to address these issues, the Blue Charter fellows will be able to create lasting solutions and real-world impact through this programme.”

The programme is aligned with the Commonwealth Blue Charter, a commitment by the 53 member states on collective action towards sustainable ocean governance. Marine plastic pollution is one of nine focus areas or ‘action groups’ championed by member countries.

More information on how to apply for the fellowships. Applications close on Sunday 16 June.

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