European Exchange to look at the impact of humans on marine life
PHD research, Emily Hague describes how SFC’s Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme helped her in collaborating with researchers in Ireland and Denmark.
This summer, I was thrilled to be awarded funding under the MASTS-SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme, which supported me to undertake a European Exchange, to encourage and foster new collaborations across higher education institutions. My focus on human impacts on marine mammals (whales, dolphins and seals), with a special focus on coastal vessel activity. I therefore was really excited to utilise my European exchange to visit institutions that are working on the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funded ‘Saturn’ project. Saturn is a huge multi-institution and multi-million pound project, seeking to develop solutions to reduce underwater sound, in order to reduce human impacts on marine life. I wanted to explore how my PhD project focusing on smaller coastal vessels in Scottish waters might fit into this larger shipping scale project.
I visited two Saturn institutions: project headquarters MaREI in Cork, Ireland, and Aarhus University, in Denmark, and had a fantastic experience meeting with a multitude of researchers, science communicators, and research and project coordinators contributing to the Saturn project. This helped me build a deeper understanding of the questions being explored and the approaches used. Following these rich discussions, I then held and facilitated open workshops at each host institute, providing attendees (and myself!) new opportunities to connect with researchers with complementary research interests, to identify potential future collaborations. The workshops were well attended and a great success and many fruitful collaborations have happened as a product of these events. These trips really instilled in me the importance and joy that can come from sharing common interests and goals and the benefits that can arise from being open and excited about the work that we do!
You can watch a video about the trips on YouTube and follow Emily on Twitter.
Emily Hague, PhD researcher based within the Marine Spatial Analysis Group at Heriot-Watt University. - 23 Nov 2022