Working with NERC Future of Our Seas

Incredible Oceans were selected in 2017 by the UK government’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to be part of a successful Engaging Environments project.

Future of Our Seas joined together eight leading marine research, engagement, advocacy and arts organisations formed a consortium in order to engage people in a nationwide conversation on the future of our seas

The Marine Biological Association, King's College London, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, University of Plymouth Marine Institute, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Incredible Oceans and Invisible Dust consolidated learning, expertise and training into a ‘blueprint’ for how to equip early career ocean researchers with the capacity and skills to create innovative activities that are co-produced with cross-sections of local communities.

The process included:

  1. Consortium building – an collaboration of leading experts in marine scientific research, advice, education, advocacy and creative expression.
  2. Developing shared capacity – developing a shared language between consortium members and also with researchers.
  3. Researcher training - using insights from neuroscience and psychology to better understand public opinion formation and polarisation, show-casing examples of best and worst outreach practice, together with 6 weeks of mentoring.
  4. Matching with community partners - to co-design innovative outreach activities, focussing on challenging areas of science.
  5. Proof of concept – researchers delivering two-way public dialogue activities, co-produced with community groups, at two large-scale public events, Plymouth Pirates Weekend and Oban West Highland Yachting Week.
  6. Create a megaphone effect – by developing existing strong media relations.
  7. Progress check – through development and publication of a Case Account, addressing what went well, what can we improve, how to generate national impact.
  8. The Blueprint – a tried-and-tested toolkit for consortium building and environmental public engagement; setting the foundations for national-level action.
  9. Legacy – by bringing together the newly forged networks, partnerships, and participants; and by creating a ‘multiplier effect’ where participants pass on their learnings at their home institutions.