Prof. Alan Deidun with the Maltese PERSEUS Ambassador, Michaela Pia Camilleri, and the Coordinator of PERSEUS, Prof. Evangelos Papathanassiou
The PERSEUS (Policy-oriented marine Environmental Research for the Southern European Seas) project, funded under the aegis of the ‘Oceans of Tomorrow’ Call within FP7, came to a spectacular finish in Brussels last week with the organisation of a three-day scientific workshop, followed by a session at the European Parliament led by students from five European countries. The students assumed the role of PERSEUS Ambassadors for the Oceans by delivering passionate presentations about individual topics they were assigned and calling for concrete action to be taken by policy- and decision-makers to conserve the oceans. The Maltese student was assigned the fisheries topic, whilst the students from Romania, Turkey, Greece and Spain were assigned the eutrophication, alien species, marine litter and jellyfish topics, respectively.
The Maltese PERSEUS Ambassador was Michaela Pia Camilleri, from St Monica’s School (Birkirkara), who was selected following a competition launched by the Malta National Aquarium way back in July in the aftermath of an ocean literacy event organised on European Maritime Day in May. Michaela was accompanied by her father and by Prof. Alan Deidun, from the Department of Geosciences, who mentored her academically during the run-up to the event.
The event within the European Parliament was organised within the framework of the PERSEUS@School initiative, an ocean literacy programme developed within PERSEUS and involving the hands-on training of students and the younger generations in the ocean sciences. The same event was championed by MEP Ricardo Serrão Santos, who previously served as a marine biologist and academic at the University of the Azores in Portugal, and was attended by representatives from three DG’s (Directorate-Generals) – DG Mare, DG Environment and DG Research and Innovation – as well as by representatives from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), JPI Oceans and the European Marine Board.
During its four-year tenure, PERSEUS delivered a series of scientific and policy tools, instrumental for MSFD (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) practitioners through the Mediterranean and Black Sea (the Southern European Seas). The Physical Oceanography Research Group represented the University of Malta within PERSEUS, with Prof. Aldo Drago acting as WP8 (Training and Capacity Building) Leader, with the active assistance of Prof. Alan Deidun. Further information about the PERSEUS project can be gleaned from the official website.