The Nippon Foundation as well as UBC is committed to capacity building and international networking, and this has also been central to the careers of Professors Daniel Pauly and Villy Christensen. Recognizing, that there currently is only very limited scientific capacity for understanding the future state and productivity of fish stocks, we will through the Nereus program educate a group of new fellows to be capable of working in comprehensive and interdisciplinary scientific projects to address the global problem of how the productivity of future fish stocks can be optimized. Solving the problems that the world fisheries are facing calls for interdisciplinary action, and the Nereus program is designed with this in mind. The proposed group of researchers includes hydrographers, environmental researchers, ecologists, fisheries scientists, spatial planners, economists, social scientists, and researchers specializing in management and governance. A critical aspect of the activity is that the researchers will form interdisciplinary teams that will work jointly and in concert to produce scientifically credible simulations of how the future oceans will be able to provide seafood and healthy oceans for coming generations, and will provide information that enable the public to understand the potential actions we, humanity can implement to improve the future supply and conservation.
Capacity building in this form for interdisciplinary research is a long-term activity, and it is of importance that we educate a cohort of young scientists who will be able to continue the research through their careers – which indeed may stretch until 2050 – and become leaders in the field of global ocean fisheries science.
We expect the cohort of young interdisciplinary scientists that will be educated through the Nereus program will consist of 30 outstanding young people, who understand ocean matters in an integrated manner, having obtained intensive research experience in international cross-disciplinary research. There will continuously be one Post-Doctoral Fellow and one Doctoral Fellow at UBC working fully on the program. One of the Fellows at UBC will be selected with the expressed intention of appointing a candidate with an outstanding Japanese academic background and who meets the entry criteria for acceptance to UBC. Further, the four academic network partners in the activity will each have one Post-Doctoral Fellow and one Doctoral Fellow.
The duration of the Nippon Foundation Fellowships will be two years for Post-Doctoral Fellows and four years for Doctoral Fellows. A key evaluation criterion for Fellows is that they maintain a strong publication record; for Post-Doctoral Fellows the minimum expectation is a first-authored publication in an international journal per year based on the work contributed to the Nereus program. For Doctoral Fellows the minimum expectation is two first-authored publications in international journals during their studies, also based on the work contributed to the Nereus program. Overall it is expected that the Nereus program will graduate twenty Nippon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellows and ten Nippon Foundation Doctoral Fellows during the three main phases of the activity, i.e., over eight years.