SOLSTICE-WIO is one of several four-year projects funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), with the aim of growing the capacity of UK and overseas research organisation to address the challenges facing developing countries.  The project addresses three of the many challenges identified by GCRF:

  • Secure and resilient food systems;
  • Resilience and action on short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change; 
  • Reduce poverty and inequality.

Partners and project activities

The project brings together 21 partner organisation with an interest in marine research and education and sustainable management of marine living resources - 5 from the UK and 16 from the Western Indian Ocean region. Together they will:

  • undertake a programme of collaborative environmental and socio-economic research, focussed on three case studies from Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa,
  • increase UK and WIO research capability through mentoring of early career scientists and postgraduate students, delivering training courses and developing on-line education resources for marine professionals,
  • build on existing regional initiatives to engage with policy makers and fisheries managers to ensure that information provided from the project meets their needs, and
  • work with local communities to build on their knowledge and understanding of the issues, and increase ocean literacy by sharing scientific information resulting from their research.

Support for WIO efforts to implement an ecosystem approach to fisheries

There is increasing recognition of the need to apply an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) to ensure that management strategies are feasible, broadly accepted by all stakeholders, sustainable and fully recognise the complexity of the coupled human, natural, and climate interactions which fisheries encompass.

The WIO states recognise this principle, but have made only modest progress towards this goal.  Full implementation of EAF requires improved scientific capacity, refined monitoring programmes and a better understanding of how basic science is integrated into fisheries policies and management practices. SOLSTICE-WIO will address these challenges by

  • growing people-based marine research capability in WIO countries in a cost-effective way via state-of-the-art technology transfer, collaborative research and hands-on training;
  • strengthening capacity of UK marine scientists to apply leading-edge technologies in developing countries;
  • improving the ability of WIO scientists to effectively transfer scientific data into WIO policy processes at national and regional levels; and
  • providing ongoing mutual support by  building lasting strategic research partnerships between UK marine science, regional centres of excellence, NGOs and government agencies in the WIO.