Five questions for Louise Newman – New Station Manager for R/V Skagerak
In October, Louise Newman moves with her family from Tasmania to Sweden to become new station manager for R/V Skagerak.
”Skagerak is such a fantastic facility, and my goal is to see her being used to her full capacity by scientists and educators, both nationally and internationally,” says Louise Newman.
Why did you apply for this job?
“I have always loved working with scientists and educators. The passion that they bring to their work is so motivating and I want to work in positions that enable me to support them and ensure the uptake and impact of the knowledge that they deliver. At the same time, I have been interested to move into logistics and infrastructure, but most positions have not enabled the direct connection and engagement with scientists that I enjoy.
The Station Manager position is the perfect blend of logistics, planning and infrastructure management, and direct engagement and support of scientists.”
What are your aspirations for R/V Skagerak?
“Skagerak is such a fantastic facility, and my goal is to see her being used to her full capacity by scientists and educators, both nationally and internationally.
As part of this, I am keen to ensure that there are clear and efficient procedures for booking and scheduling; that Skagerak is well-equipped with state-of-art, well-maintained equipment; and that the science done on Skagerak gains international impact, through sharing of data and delivery of knowledge into European and global scientific and observational programs.
It is also important to me that all voyages and operations are delivered with an inclusive approach that supports diversity and equity.”
What makes you the right person for this position?
“I have a background in marine science and have taken part in several Southern Ocean voyages, working on Antarctic krill and sea-ice plankton communities. For my PhD, I moved into Antarctic marine and freshwater paleoecology – reconstructing environmental and ecosystem changes from faunal microfossils.
Following my PhD, I changed focus and moved into international science coordination, firstly as Science Officer at the PAGES (Past Global Changes) International Project Office in Bern Switzerland, and then later as the Executive Officer of the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) International Project Office in Hobart, Australia.
These two positions were fantastic in providing me with a broad experience base. My roles required anything from website design and content management, through to writing strategic science peer-reviewed publications; from organising and running scientific workshops, to representing the Southern Ocean community at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings; from balancing budgets to forming international sponsorship partnerships.
I have developed strong experience across many aspects of the science value chain, and I believe that this experience will help provide a well-rounded and strategic approach to management of the Skagerak.”
You have previously worked at SOOS, in Tasmania. Why did you want to move to the other side of the planet?
“There were two key factors driving my move to Sweden. Firstly, the job is exactly what I have been looking for. I love that I get to work with and support scientists, and I love that I will be running such an amazing facility as the Skagerak, and I am excited to get her operating to her full potential!
Secondly, my Husband and I previously lived in Switzerland and loved it. We have been wanting to move back to Europe with our children for several years. We are very excited to share such an amazing experience with them, and to travel and show them all the amazing countries and cultures nearby… first, Sweden!”
What is the first thing you are going to do as new Station Manager?
“Learn! I have a lot to learn about the vessel and the Department and how they operate. I want to get a good understanding from all vessel users on what processes, platforms and capabilities are needed to support them in using Skagerak. Then I want to identify how we can implement them in an efficient and streamline way.”
R/V Skagerak is 49 metres long, 11 metres wide and with a displacement of 1000 tonnes. The vessel has a crew of 5 and can accommodate 16 researchers and students. Home port is Nya Varvet in Gothenburg.