Scholarships offer students the chance to excel in sustainable aquaculture

Dr Daniel Merrifield with scholarship recipients Paul Mosnier, Jack Sears-Stewart, Max Jouault, Tim Herring and James Mckay

Students hoping to pursue a career in one of the world’s fastest growing food production sectors have been given the opportunity to work with leading companies in the field.

By 2030, it is anticipated that aquaculture will be responsible for 60 percent of the fish we eat, and the University of Plymouth’s MSc Sustainable Aquaculture programme aims to train the next generation of specialists.

Thanks to a new programme launched in the current academic year, international companies Biomin GmbH, Lallemand SAS and Leiber GmbH have funded five scholarships at the University.

This has given students access to expertise from leaders in industry and commerce from a vital subsector pioneering improvements in the sustainability and health benefits of aquafeeds, advancing both their technical and scientific knowledge.

In addition to the provision of scholarships, the industry partners provide access to resources and support for student research projects and contribute to the curriculum by offering guest lectures and placements.

The MSc Sustainable Aquaculture course is led by Dr Daniel Merrifield, Associate Professor of Fish Health and Nutrition in the University’s School of Biological and Marine Sciences. He said:

“Aquaculture is an exciting and ever-emerging field, and one that will become increasingly important globally over the coming decades. Our multidisciplinary approach gives students the chance to improve the health and welfare of farmed aquatic animals, at the same time as reducing environmental impacts and improving productivity. Support from leading companies such as Biomin, Lallemand and Leiber is a crucial element of that, and our students benefit greatly from our long-standing relationship with these companies.”

<p>Sustainable aquaculture facilities</p>
<p>Sustainable aquaculture facilities</p>
<p>Sustainable aquaculture facilities</p>

This year’s recipients were: Paul Mosnier, JackSears-Stewart, Max Jouault, Tim Herring and James Mckay.

The scholarship programme is set to continue into the 2020/21 academic year, offering more students the chance to get hands-on experience in industry at the same time as progressing their own academic studies and research.

“Through this scholarship I have been gaining valuable experience in undertaking research collaborating with industry. This project has been my first experience in maintaining and studying fish in a laboratory environment, providing vital experience for a future career in aquaculture research. The direct linkage with collaborating organisations has provided an eye-opening experience to the extreme variety of career paths that University of Plymouth aquaculture alumni have taken in the aquaculture industry.” Max Jouault, scholarship recipient

“It has been great to hear from people working in the industry on a daily basis across many different areas of the aquaculture industry. The insight and experience shared with us by these guest speakers has been a great part of this course. These guest lectures have also allowed us to make connections with some of the leading companies in the aquaculture sector.” Paul Mosnier, scholarship recipient.

“Hearing from guest speakers from different areas of the aquaculture industry has been really interesting, elucidating on the wide array of issues and developments which are considered key for different areas of the industry. It was also interesting to see what career areas an aquaculture masters could lead to, especially since several of the guest speakers were previously on the same course.” Jack Sears-Stewart, scholarship recipient.

<p>Getty image</p><p>Sustainable aquaculture systems</p><p>fish farm</p>
Sustainable aquaculture systems careers
Ponza Island aquaculture nets

As well as benefitting the student scholars, the programme also helps the companies involved by giving them to chance to work alongside world-leading researchers at the University and inspiring future aquaculture scientists.

Dr Benedict Standen, Product Manager at Biomin, said:

“Working closely with leading institutions on research projects and encouraging students to enter the field are a part of how we are able to maintain our competitive advantage when it comes to research and development. It’s something I’ve experienced first-hand as a doctoral student and as a member of the Biomin team. We appreciate the valuable research co-operations that we have with leading academic and research institutions such as the University of Plymouth and congratulate the winners of the Biomin Aquaculture Sustainability Scholarship Award.”

Dr Eric Leclercq, Aquaculture R&D and Tech Support Manager at Lallemand Animal Nutrition, said:

“Fostering the development of young talents via industry-academia partnerships embodies the values and vision of Lallemand. The long-lasting collaboration between Lallemand and the University of Plymouth initially pioneered the understanding of fish gut microbiota and the development of commercial probiotics for Aquaculture. Over the years, our different MSc, PhD and postdoctoral sponsorships have provided an essential breeding ground for scientific excellence, commercial innovations and accomplished specialists in the field of microbial-based solutions for preventive health management in aquaculture. Lallemand is delighted to continue its support and is looking forward to further successful projects.”

Dr. Holger Kühlwein, Global Key Account Manager for Aquaculture at Leiber GmbH, said:

“For Leiber, sustainability is the business model for more than six decades. By-products from breweries, brewers' yeast and spent grains are refined into high-quality products for animal nutrition, food industry and biotechnology. This, combined with the expected growing importance of aquaculture, is the incentive for us to contribute to the education in, and the development of, a sustainable aquaculture industry. This MSc programme, backed by the extensive scientific experience of the programme leaders and the research group in the field of functional feed ingredients for aquaculture, offers great opportunities in that direction.”

Career opportunities on every continent

The masters programme provides students with a real advantage in preparing for their future career in aquaculture. The world class research and teaching at the University of Plymouth gives a real advantage to the students in the commercial world

Dr Ralph Bickerdike,?Head of Fish Health and Welfare at Scottish Sea Farms

Discover more about the range of career opportunities available to our graduates

School of Biological and Marine Sciences

Plymouth offers a friendly, exciting and supportive place to study biological and marine sciences. Our staff are world-leading experts who are passionate and committed to both their research and teaching.

Find out more about biological and marine sciences