PRESS RELEASE: NF-POGO scholars graduate from two AWI-led training programmes | POGO

PRESS RELEASE: NF-POGO scholars graduate from two AWI-led training programmes

Young people carry what they have learned into the world


[28th June 2019] On Saturday, 29 June 2019, 33 junior scientists from all over the world will be holding their expert qualification at the Alfred Wegener Institute. Ten fellows say goodbye to a ten-month residential training; 23 others leave an exciting one-month expedition behind them.

NF-POGO CofE Group photo SoNoAT 2019 Scholars & teachers

They come from Ghana, Mauritius, Argentina - and twenty-two other countries. What unites them is their interest in marine research and the support they have received from the Japanese Nippon Foundation (NF) and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO). Both organisations are committed to the promotion of international scientific cooperation and the training of young ocean scientists.


Since 2013, they have supported ten scholarship recipients per year to participate in the NF-POGO Centre of Excellence (CofE) in Observational Oceanography at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). These early-career scientists, from a variety of marine science backgrounds, are educated for ten months in theory and practice at the AWI’s offshore sites on Heligoland and Sylt, and at the AWI facilities in Bremerhaven. International experts, from marine science institutions around the globe, teach and supervise their research projects.  Alongside the scientific education, an invaluable element of the scholars’ experience is the opportunity to build their professional network, which the Nippon Foundation continues to support beyond the training period. After returning to their home countries, the scholars have the opportunity to participate in joint research programs or outreach actions via the NF-POGO Alumni Network for Oceans (NANO).


The first major exchange with talented peers will take place during the graduation ceremony this year: the CofE scholars will receive their graduation certificates alongside 23 participants of the “floating” university, the South North Atlantic Transect (SoNoAT). On Saturday, the SoNoAT scholars will finish a one-month expedition on board the Research Vessel Polarstern, disembarking in Bremerhaven.


The icebreaker Polarstern has once again shown itself to be an ideal ship, not only for research, but also for training young scientists in international cooperation. The return transit of the Antarctic icebreaker from Port Stanley (Falkland Islands) has been used to train these early-career scientists on observing ocean, atmosphere and climate interactions, and to campaign for active climate protection worldwide. "Where else can so many young scientists get to know such a variety of oceanographic methods and learn how to adapt them to their needs?" asks Chief Scientist, Prof Karen Wiltshire.


Through videoconferences with schools in Brazil, Germany, the UK, Ireland and Japan, the SoNoAT scholars have learned firsthand that science is inseparable from knowledge transfer. During these live chats, impressions of the expedition and awareness of the ocean were carried directly from the vessel into the classroom. Another highlight was the live interaction with 500 participants at the climate conference in Leipzig, Germany. Furthermore, directly from the Polarstern, the chief scientist Prof. Dr. Karen Wiltshire presented the current results of the expedition to the Climate Symposium in Klimahaus, Bremerhaven, Germany.

On Saturday 29 June, the young graduates of the SoNoAT and CofE programs will present their research projects in a joint event at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven. The audience will include Bremen Senator of Science, Eva Quante-Brandt; Bremerhaven's Mayor, Melf Grantz; and the Member of Parliament Ernst-Dieter Rossmann (Pinneberg constituency, to which the island of Helgoland belongs); as well as the teachers and colleagues.


More Info:


(Press release about the SoNoAT shipboard training:


Coordinator of the NF-POGO Centre of Excellence

Peter Croot, NUI Galway,

Fiona Beckman POGO,

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