Oceans Accounting (OA) for informed decision, sustainability and prosperity

Within the topic of Ocean Accounting (OA) and informed decision for oceans management, policy and the Sustainable Development Goals, the research plan is focused on the development of novel frameworks for the integration of environmental, economic and social data for Ocean Accounts, based on remote and in-situ observations as well as on historical data. The objective is to identify and tackle information gaps, establish priorities for data retrieval, analyse the level of maturity of current methodologies, and assess the multi-dimensional / multi-context /multicultural nature of the problem. It is also an objective to define the relation between OA and Marine Spatial Planning, within the context of the assessment of the impact of marine policies. Additionally, contributions to the current systems will be pursued based on Geostatistical Simulation. The PhD candidate, who will spend his first year at IB-S / University of Minho, will collaborate on the design and implementation of a pilot project for Atlantic Islands, with particular focus on Macaronesia and Sao Tome and Principe. Others may include Bermudas and Brazil. Exchange periods in other institutions and locations, including the potential participants of the pilot project, are also expected. This pilot project, which would be the first in the Atlantic region, is of great interest for both regional and global authorities and scientific communities involved in the topic.

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AIR Centre PhD grants are aimed at applicants enrolled or that comply with the requirements to enroll for PhD related studies and who wish to carry out research towards this degree. Candidates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree with a particularly relevant academic or scientific curriculum that is recognized as certifying the ability to undertake the PhD may apply.

Summary of work plan

The detailed work programme will consist of a group of activities to be developed during the entire PhD period. The work programme and the contents of each activity will be further detailed at the beginning of the first year, under the guidance of the tutor. Other supervisors will be considered for involvement in the project at this stage, while the pilot architecture is matured and materialized.

The overall contents of each of the planned activities may be summarized as follows:

Activity 1: Materialize the pilot project architecture, including the geographies and partners to involve, as well as variables and contexts to analyse;

Activity 2: Establish a robust and effective workflow to aid with the definition of the boundaries and the level of detail to observe for various types of projects, including the scoping and the identification of the key variables or indicators, with a particular focus on the pilot project to be developed;

Activity 3: Develop a simple and effective modelling approach based on Geostatistics and AI (e.g. machine learning, neural networks), aimed at integrating the information collected from the pilot project area, as well as describing complex marine systems under the three dimensions: environmental, social and economic. These systems should aim at becoming essential tools for monitoring global changes and provide predictive scenarios, as well as to support decisions;

Activity 4: Develop and conceptually test nature-based ecosystems rehabilitation solutions, in collaboration with ongoing projects, and measure their impact in certain regions of interest within the pilot project area;

Activity 5: Implement and validate the methodology and models developed possibly at two different scales and scenarios: 1) at the oceanic scale, focussing on an Oceans Accounting project for the Macaronesian region; 2) at the coastal and regional scale, focussing on an Oceans Accounts project for the Littoral North Natural Park in Esposende – Portugal and two other Portuguese Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s).

Name(s) of supervisor(s)
Eduardo Pereira
Inst. of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability (IB-S)/Inst. for Sustainability and Innovation in Structural Engineering (ISISE)
University of Minho, Portugal

Name(s) of hosting institution(s)

Identification of PhD program
PhD in Civil Engineering, offered by the University of Minho

Please check programme’s website for PhD application deadlines here.

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