Program

The Sustainable Oceans: from Policy to Science to Decisions training program puts the policy focus on the front end of the research and training enterprise as a means of building more effective links between the science and decisions on sustainable use of living marine resources. The basis of our interdisciplinary approach combines traditional graduate training in core disciplines and interdisciplinary courses on marine science and policy with immersion into the policy process and politics surrounding ecosystem-based fishery management.

There is growing appreciation that the disconnect between the scientific and policy communities is due to scientific research questions that do not align with the information that policymakers need to make informed decisions, and to researchers who often lack the wide-angle lens necessary to understand how their disciplinary research integrates with other science to address policy questions. The basis for the Sustainable Oceans training program is a novel causal chain model that extends from a policy goal to the different types of scientific information needed to measure the impacts of management decisions.

By combining courses with experiential learning components that immerse students in the decision-making environment, our program facilitates the development of use-inspired research on ecosystem-based fisheries management, and builds the communication and professional skills of our trainees by engaging in conversations with vested stakeholders on the policy and politics of natural resource management.

Our paradigm to interdisciplinary training moves the focus on policy to the front-end of the research enterprise, when questions are asked and hypotheses formed. Our immersive training program includes…

  • A dedicated curriculum designed for students in their first two years of graduate study
  • field trips to resource-dependent communities to engage with stakeholders and community leaders.
  • internships with science and policy organizations
  • basecamps: week-long workshops with decision-makers and stakeholders organized around marine management issues
  • research presentations at an annual Sustainable Oceans symposium
  • interactions with visiting scientists

Students in the Sustainable Oceans program will continue active engagement throughout graduate study. Although they will complete formal coursework by the end of their second year in the program, more senior cohorts will mentor newer cohorts, participate in visiting scientist events and recruitment activities, and contribute to the intellectual development of basecamps and the causal chain course. Further, these students will be actively mentored by their dissertation committee and Sustainable Oceans trainers through collaboration on a dissertation chapter that reflects research appropriate to the Sustainable Oceans program.

To learn more about the Sustainable Oceans training program, explore these pages. You also can download an abbreviated version of our NSF proposal. Our frequently asked questions page also might be useful.

Got an infrequently asked question? Email us.

“The Sustainable Oceans program comes at a great time,” said Rick Grosberg, Director of the Coastal and Marine Science Institute (CMSI) at UC Davis. “It builds off of the rich history of marine science and policy research on campus and at our world-class Bodega Bay Marine Lab  and will solidify CMSI’s pivotal role at UC Davis in marine science education.”