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JCU in Singapore Signs MOU with Ocean Purpose Project

Image source: James Cook University
Image source: James Cook University

Published Jun 16, 2022 2:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: James Cook University]

James Cook University (JCU) in Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 11 June 2022 with Ocean Purpose Project (OPP), a Singaporean social enterprise committed to driving ocean conservation and plastic pollution prevention via disruptive and creative projects.

The signing took place in conjunction with a beach clean-up and the launch of the OPP Beach Hub — which will serve as a focal point for monthly beach clean-ups as well as a place for students and researchers to gather while they are out on the ground or at sea.

The MOU strengthens cooperation between JCU in Singapore and OPP through initiatives such as internships, student/staff attachments, education research, and community projects. These collaboration opportunities aim to help enhance Singapore’s sustainability efforts by promoting knowledge and awareness on sustainability and aquaculture — as well as the exploration of flora and fauna in the northern waters of Singapore, and nature-based solutions such as bioremediation — to deepen the community’s understanding of ocean conservation and prevention of ocean pollution. One of the innovative sustainable solutions that this partnership is interested in exploring includes creating innovative products from seaweed such as seaweed leathers and bioplastics.

JCU in Singapore has previously worked with OPP through student volunteers, who helped OPP with maintenance works at floating offshore fish farms, such as tying of barrels and changing of wooden planks.

Sustainable development underpins much of JCU’s teaching and research, and is central to our lives and our work, as well as JCU’s role as a university for the Tropics. This collaboration advances JCU’s commitment towards sustainability, and contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals, including Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Life Below Water. At the same time, the signing of this MOU dovetails neatly with JCU’s annual celebration of International Day of the Tropics, which highlights the diversity of the Tropics and the challenges and opportunities faced by countries within this region.

Mathilda D’silva, Founder and CEO of Ocean Purpose Project, said, “Our ocean produces more than 50 per cent of the planet’s oxygen, sustains over a billion people, and provides work to about 40 million employees. The time pressure is on everyone in ocean conservation to disrupt sustainability as we know it. It’s not just the domain of tree-huggers or corporates trying to make themselves look good on the ESG spreadsheets. We need to create a ‘blue ocean’ of possibility and rewrite what ‘business as usual’ really is. That starts with a strong foundation in research and an even stronger commitment to diving deep into solution the way JCU’s aquaculture and sustainability teams have done with us over the years. We have been honoured to have their expertise and support to explore and test-bed innovative projects with researchers and students alike, journeying beyond theory towards hands-on application. This MOU marks a remarkable step in Ocean Purpose Project’s history towards joining the hands of citizen science and established research from JCU’s Singapore and Australia campuses, a truly exciting moment for us.”

Professor Chris Rudd OBE, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Campus, Singapore at JCU, said, “As the world’s population grows and becomes increasingly urbanised, it is especially important to discern and promote a sustainable way forward. With sustainability being a cornerstone of JCU’s core philosophy, this partnership demonstrates how we work together with experts in the field to advance our sustainability goals and improve the lives of communities in the greater region.”

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