In a world where there are more people than ever before, where the climate is changing and biological diversity is disappearing, there is a real need for knowledge about how we can use our shared resource of the sea in a sustainable manner. The Centre for Sea and Society was therefore recently established at the University of Gothenburg.
“There is a great need for more knowledge about the sea, and particularly about the link between society and the sea,” says the centre’s director Lena Gipperth. “The sea gives us food, energy, transport opportunities and experiences. But how can society use the sea’s resources in a way that benefits us and is sustainable in the long term?”
Lena Gipperth is a Professor of Environmental Law, and has always been interested in the more overarching social issues and how we as a society can avoid unsustainable development.
“As a lawyer, it’s a matter of how the legal system should be adapted in order to be receptive to the changes taking place within ecosystems, and to provide the frameworks for human impact on the environment that is essential to our lives.”
The aim of the centre is to act as a collective node for the university’s marine and maritime operations, and to be a catalyst for building up transdisciplinary knowledge about the relationship between the sea and society.
“By providing forums where researchers can meet with administrators, decision-makers, industry and others, interdisciplinary research cooperation can be created.”
The Centre for Sea and Society is part of the Maritime Cluster of West Sweden, a partnership between academia, industry and public administration. A cooperation agreement has been entered into between Region Västra Götaland, the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, SSPA Sweden AB, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and Västra Götaland County Administrative Board. The aim is to strengthen the maritime cluster by improving the opportunities for innovations and knowledge-based growth within the maritime sector.
“The cluster focus is an enormous learning process that provides an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences. This is a unique chance for the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology to take part in this process, and thereby contribute towards building up knowledge about society’s relationship with the sea.”
The Centre for Sea and Society also works as part of the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment, providing a unique breadth of knowledge and connections with other educational institutions, as well as a natural link to the marine management authorities.
About the Maritime Cluster of West Sweden
The cluster has six development areas: marine governance, marine biotechnology, marine tourism and recreation, maritime operations and marine technology, marine energy, and seafood. The University of Gothenburg hosts the first three of these. Each development area is represented by someone from the university and someone from an authority and/or industry.
Various activities such as themed days and exhibitions are arranged to promote networking between different marine and maritime players. There are also plans for training and joint projects to develop ideas and operations.