The Marine Evidence Wales (2019) conference is over – and what an event it was! If you missed it, you missed out on a truly memorable event – our very first national conference focusing on Marine Evidence. We were lucky enough to host Welsh Government, who took the opportunity to launch their Marine Evidence strategy, setting out their vision for the years ahead and we enjoyed a packaged programme.
Over the three days, more than 65 presentations took place and we saw representation from 50 different organisations including researchers and NGOs across Wales, Scotland and Ireland, Scottish Government, DEFRA, CEFAS, National Oceanography Centre and several private consultancies. We also ran 3 workshops from our partners and contributors on spatial planning, renewables and social sciences.
EP Wales board member David Thomas from Bangor’s School of Ocean Sciences set the tone for the event, discussing how essential it is to create, develop and strengthen networks – and how Welsh researchers are largely absent from large scale research applications. EP Wales is determined to do more in this area, to encourage collaboration between institutes/universities and to support our members in the process.
We enjoyed great presentations from Dr Emma McKinley, who hammered home the importance of social sciences. The social and human aspects can often raise more questions that the physical and natural sciences – and this was a great opportunity to challenge our thinking. It’s essential that we grow the reputation of social sciences from nice to know to need to know more often and it was suggested that we don’t have enough in-house social scientists who can look at the broader issues within Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government.
The need for better understanding and integration of social sciences came across strongly in many sessions and breakout discussions and for many of the delegates, it formed the basis of much of the discussion during the final panel session on the last day and was the main take away for many delegates.
Delegates on Day 1 were all invited to join us at the National Waterfront Museum – and we were lucky that historian Prof Louise Minskell was able to join us as key speaker, highlighting Swansea’s rich maritime history and milestones. We also hosted a rich array of poster presentations and interactive exhibits from partners and colleagues, providing an exciting opportunity to network and find out more about the latest research in the field.
Thanks to our partners and friends in Swansea University, our delegates enjoyed exclusive access to the University’s £1.3m research vessel, the RV Mary Anning which was – luckily enough – docked right outside the museum. It was wonderful to see delegates and guests enjoying the posters, the vessel and the exhibits inside and outside the museum.
Excuse the shameless, plug…. but here’s what some of our delegates said about Marine Evidence (Wales) 2019:
“You did an amazing job and can be justly proud of the event and the impact it has had. Well done to you all, I think people will remember this for quite some time…”
“It was fantastic to see such a wide range of researchers and other marine professionals from across the UK sharing ideas and experiences.”
“Good representation from all sectors, and talks covering a range of relevant topics!”
“Varied talks and all backgrounds – really enjoyed!”
“A great event – and really valuable too. I had some interesting discussions following my discussion which are going to be useful and exciting…”
“A fantastic opportunity to get an insight into developments in Wales. A huge amount of excellent work is underway. It was a pleasure and a privilege to attend such a well organised and interesting meeting…”
Across the three days, more than 180 delegates joined us as a delegate, presenter or exhibitor – and you all gave us some great feedback and food for thought for next year’s event.
That’s right, we were so thrilled with the way the first one went, we’re already planning the next one and we’ve even set the date. Next year’s event takes place 14-16th September, so please make a note in your diaries!
So for now – that’s a wrap. Thanks so much to all who joined us.
Were you there? We’d love your feedback to make sure the next one is even better. Please take 5 minutes to fill out the feedback form here > https://bit.ly/2kUNaaT.