Aqua-tnet is the European Thematic Network in the field of aquaculture, fisheries and aquatic resources management. The network is presently funded under the European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme, running from 2011-2014.
Our story & achievements
The Aqua-tnet consortium (2011-2014) consists of 82 partners from 26 different LLP countries, together representing a tightly knit multidisciplinary collaboration of higher education institutions, research institutions, industry representatives and other relevant stakeholders with an interest in European education issues. The majority of the partners have been part of the consortium in the previous phases, working together for over 5 years now, and having successfully taken part in forming a European dimension in the aquaculture, fisheries and aquatic resources management sectors.
Originally set up in 1996 as a tightly-knit collaboration of university departments and research institutes, Aqua-tnetís ground-breaking work in educational reforms led to a steady expansion and by 2005 it had become the largest multidisciplinary European Education Network in the field of aquaculture, fisheries and aquatic resources management. Aqua-tnet continues its leading co-operative role between higher education institutions and other partners such as academic organisations, research institutions and industry, aiming to enhance quality and to define and develop a European dimension within its academic disciplines.
Its multi-faceted approach has enabled Aqua-tnet to make a real contribution to uniting academic and vocational aspects of the Bologna reforms, aiming for greater compatibility and comparability of the systems of higher education in Europe.
The next chapter
Major project from the previous phase (2008-2011) outcomes are; online Mobility platform, incl MSc and PhD databases and portals, state of innovation reports and an information-rich web portal containing a range of services facilitating information exchange. The AE have cemented partner relationships, using an innovative validation process by stakeholders to evaluate outcomes. The new phase (2011-2014) will take forward all outputs and knowledge.
Aims & Objectives
The principal aim of the network is to support the progress of the European aquaculture, fisheries and aquatic resources management sector towards the EC policy goal of greater and sustainable output (COM(2009) 169 final) by stimulating and supporting innovation through enhanced lifelong learning opportunities. The Network also aims to help embed EC Lifelong Learning policy objectives within partner institutions and across sector activities. Specific objectives are to:
- Establish channels at a European level between key stakeholders and teaching institutions in the field of aquaculture, fisheries and aquatic resources management; in particular to provide an interface between the relevant European Technology Platforms (ETPs), research institutes and teaching communities to participate in policy development and to strengthen the innovation triangle.
- Collaboratively develop one or two PhD level courses that address deficiencies in current training provision at this level.
- Collaboratively develop a relevant course at MSc level that draws on expertise from across Europe and demonstrates innovative use of ICT and learner-centred pedagogies.
- Build on previous work in developing a mobility platform in order to substantially expand the number of placement opportunities and the volume of movements; this includes greater participation by industry, policy and research organisations, and will enhance the value and impact of such movements through links with local and regional networks and access points.
- Work with stakeholders to define, develop and distribute innovative and lifelong generic skill training resources for use within the sector.
- Work with stakeholders on lifelong learning needs and individual pathways and to tackle issues of articulation between different qualification frameworks and on the recognition of prior learning- Further develop greater transparency within the sector on course curricula, assessment methods and compliance with Tuning methodology and other best practice guidelines.
- Work with members and stakeholders to pilot innovative uses of ICT that provide virtual mobility and help to bridge the barriers between academia and industry, raising awareness on both sides and encouraging greater direct involvement in lifelong learning.
- Further develop the network website portals and the services provided to teachers, students, research, industry and other stakeholders.
- Ensure all the activities of the network are carried out to the highest standards possible, taking into account the needs of the sector as defined by stakeholders, ETPs and policies of the European Union.
- Disseminate as widely as possible the results of the project as they become available through the working groups including via web sites, presentations at meetings, press releases and publications.
- Encourage the widest possible exploitation of results through engagement with partners and stakeholders and support for initial adopters.
The network secretariat provides considerable benefits to aquat-net members. Our customised publications include;
- A monthly e-newsletter, Training News, with a global readership of almost 6,000, highlighting training developments, collaboration opportunities, upcoming events, a student corner and more;
- The aqua-tnet newsletter, published monthly to highlight network events;
- BibMail provides an overview of the contents of major aquaculture-relevant scientific journals;
- Information of Interest is an overview of interesting publications, reports, and manuals relating broadly to aquaculture, with links to relevant files and contact information.
- PiscesTT jobs, the online recruitment service for aquaculture and related sciences, averaging more than twenty new jobs per month, is widely used by members.
Highlights and key milestones include;
- Annual working meetings for each of the ten core work package groups.
- Development and delivery of a pioneer joint MSc course web based titled "European Aquaculture" and PhD courses.
- Further development of the Mobility Portal, a dedicated Web-based human resource site and industry work placements for students.
- Development of Generic Skills training materials.
- Extensive surveys of target audiences, carried out by the core work package groups, and publication of the results and recommendations.
- Demonstration workshops for Learning objects, diagnostic tools and other digital resources.
- In-depth reports on Lifelong Learning issues.
- Development of an industry think-tank to discuss the best ways on how to involve industry, particularly how to establish strong and structured links with the Technology Platforms.
- An annual event bringing together all network members for stimulating debates on key issues in the sector.
Aqua-tnet is a member of Techno TN - The Archipelago of Thematic networks in the fields of Sciences and Technology