Year of the Sea 2018

Student presenting at parliament

Over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, a mass that is critical to sustaining life on the planet. But we have much to learn about the depths of our oceans, seas, estuaries and even our rivers.

How can we get more sustainable energy from the sea? What do changes in sea temperature, acidity and composition mean for creatures in the depths and on shore? Can we safely garner precious resources from the ocean floor? How do we curb the amount of microplastics in our water? Could jellyfish carcasses feed Scotland’s fish farms?

These are just some of the issues that our researchers are working on at our five global campuses. Research and teaching at Heriot-Watt spans many areas of the so called “blue economy” – the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihood and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. The truest blue economy initiatives recognise that our diverse marine ecosystems are Scotland’s “natural capital”, and make great efforts to ensure the seas are a safe place to be, all while advancing skills and education in this area. They also seek to secure social and economic stability through the use of renewable energy, innovative technology and ground-breaking research.

Throughout 2018, we celebrated the Year of the Sea with a calendar of events for schools, the public, academia, industry collaborators, funders and policy makers. We engaged with over 1500 pupils and 19,000 people at 41 events, reaching an audience of more than 50 million with news about our pioneering research.

One highlight was the New Music Ensembles (NME) series inspired by the seas, and shared across Scotland. The seas, coasts and oceans have inspired artists and composers throughout time, capturing the ocean's ever-shifting character in music. 

The Inchcolm New Music Ensemble (INME) is seen as the flagship of music making at Heriot-Watt, reflecting the cutting edge of science and technology for which Heriot-Watt is celebrated. The performances focused on the sea, its effect on the monks habitat on Inchcolm and the feeling of an island isolation chosen as a refuge to celebrate the glory of God. Further information on Year of the Sea activities can be found in the summary booklet. 

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