Scientific prize

"Marine Mammals for Science Education" project wins ASCOBANS 2020 Award


The "Marine Mammals" project, coordinated by the University of Kiel in Germany, brought together a consortium of nine scientific institutions, including researchers from the FOCUS Research Unit (Faculty of Science) of the ULiège. Funded by the European Union, this project aims to increase young people's interest in science and to prevent the shortage of science experts (STEM). The project has just received the ASCOBANS Award for Awareness and Education 2020.


he "Marine Mammals Science Education" project, funded by a Horizon 2020 grant from the European Research Council, aims to encourage young people to take an interest in natural sciences in order to prevent future shortages of specialists in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Nine scientific and educational research institutes and NGOs from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Sweden have joined forces to carry out the project. Prs Sylvie Gobert and Krishna Das, from the laboratory of biological oceanology, as well as Pr Eric Parmentier, director of the laboratory of functional and evolutionary morphology (FOCUS research unit / Faculty of Sciences). By using marine mammals as ambassadors for anthropogenic impacts such as noise pollution in the oceans, pollution by plastic waste, climate change and chemical pollution, the project aims to raise young students' awareness of marine sciences and to stimulate their interest in these current issues.

The project therefore provided high quality and user-friendly teaching and scientific material for teachers and non-academic educators. All materials were translated into the languages of the project partners in the five countries involved. The main work of the ULiège experts was to offer introductory courses in oceanography and marine ecology (courses organised at STARESO, the ULiège Underwater and Oceanographic Research Station in Corsica) to secondary school teachers, the development of 3D models of marine mammals, the creation of packages of scientific material for teachers, the implementation of activities for the general public aimed at raising awareness of natural sciences among young people (Printemps des Sciences, CORSICA challenge, etc...). "It is truly a great honour that this project is recognised and promoted by ASCOBANS" says Krishna Das, a FNRS Researcher associate at ULiège. "The conservation of our oceans requires education and my colleagues and I are delighted to have been able to take part in this adventure. "


ASCOBANS is the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North-East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas. It is one of the daughter agreements of the Convention on Migratory Species (Bonn Convention) and entered into force in 1994. Since then, its parties have met eight times, now on a four-year cycle, to assess the implementation of the agreement and decide on measures to be taken for better conservation of the species protected by it. This article is part of a series presenting some of the issues and resolutions to be discussed at the forthcoming 9th Meeting of the Parties to ASCOBANS (MOP9).

Share this news