MarBEF training and education

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A key product of MarBEF is the new generation of professional marine ecosystem scientists trained and now carrying out research in Europe. MarBEF’s research programme identified a set of high priority research topics which required support at the postgraduate level (postdoctoral fellowships and doctoral studentships). The work of all doctoral students was supervised by an international panel, and each student carried out research at a minimum of two different MarBEF institutions based in different countries.

MarBEF also assessed the demand for highly specialized training courses, and during the lifetime of MarBEF thirty specialised training courses were organised by MarBEF members. Integration of this local knowledge and expertise within Europe on several marine biodiversity topics and cutting-edge technologies was provided in order to help to prepare a new generation of professional marine scientists for Europe. These training courses covered topics ranging from species diversity (e.g., phytoplankton) to genetics (e.g., genetic fingerprinting)[1].

Short-term sabbaticals

MarBEF recognised that direct personal training, debate and discussion is vital for the progress of science as well as for the communication of research results to the user communities. In order to support this, MarBEF established a system of short-term sabbaticals, i.e., research visits. This allowed technicians, students, postdocs and scientists to travel from one MarBEF institute to a second MarBEF institute for a period of two weeks to three months. Short-term sabbaticals were a MarBEF initiative to support integration in Europe[1].

The MarBEF spirit in education

During the lifetime of MarBEF the idea arose of establishing a specialised Master’s programme, the Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation[1].