Published: 1st July 2021

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Back in April, the landmark SMMR-Net launch event was held, during which a whopping 100 attendees joined to discuss the formation of a new, interdisciplinary community researchers and policy stakeholders. The event included plenary talks from Dr Rebecca Jefferson, Founder and Director of Human Nature, and Dr Emma McKinley, Chair of the Marine Social Science NetworkSMMR Champions Mark James and David Paterson also spoke alongside Sir Ian Boyd.

The workshop was brimming with energy. Despite the now-too-familiar limitations of virtual meetings, genuine connections were made, with disciplinary backgrounds mingling to discuss different approaches and mutual goals – some for the first time.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach is vital in addressing the complex natural, social, cultural, and economic challenges occurring in the marine sphere. There is a growing appetite from researchers and practitioners to cross previously impervious disciplinary boundaries and truly collaborate.

A snippet of the day’s discussions have been captured below. During these discussions, participants highlighted the need for a platform in which ideas could be shared, along with a user-generated news bulletin to ensure the community remains up-to-date with each other. Hence, the SMMR-Net forum has been launched, alongside the Community News page and newsletter. To contribute to forum discussions, users must register as members of the community.

A summary of April’s workshop discussions

Session One:

What is needed to maximise networking? 

What capacity building is needed? 

What specific training could be delivered? 

What specific events could be delivered? 

Sesson Two: 

What do policy stakeholders need of a network?

What can a network provide for policy stakeholders?

What does industry need of a network?

How can we achieve a step-change in policy-stakeholder interactions?

The forum and news page are just the first step for SMMR-Net. A ‘Connect Area’ is soon to be launched, whereby users will be able to search for contacts and potential project partners in various fields. It is also hoped that community members will take matters into their own hands, using SMMR-Net as a ‘launch pad’ to form innovative partnerships.

Feel free to submit ideas and queries to