Forskare undersöker havet
Photo: Johan Wingborg

The university plays a key role in the future of the ocean


Our oceans are facing major challenges. To reverse the decline in ocean health, the UN has designated 2021-2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
“As society's primary producer of knowledge, the university plays a key role in the efforts to increase knowledge about the ocean,” says Eva Wiberg, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg.

The state of the world's oceans is crucial for the future. This applies to everything from climate and biodiversity, to our global food supply. At the same time, we have seen numerous alarming reports about the negative impact of human activity on the marine environment.

The UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is an attempt to reverse this decline. The aim is to improve research and increase the protection of our oceans, but also to increase awareness of the ocean, at all levels of society.  

For a long time, researchers have drawn attention to the state of the ocean. But knowledge needs to have a greater impact on society, and in the important decisions that are made about our future,” says Eva Wiberg.       

Eva Wiberg, rektor vid Göteborgs universitet
Eva Wiberg, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg.<br /> Photo: Johan Wingborg
Photo: Johan Wingborg


Four important areas

On World Ocean Day on 8 June, Eva Wiberg participates together with Crown Princess Victoria, Minister for Environment and Climate Per Bolund, and Minister for Research Matilda Ernkrans, in a digital seminar, which is also the starting point for Sweden's work with the UN Decade.

Sweden has recently stated four main areas of contribution to the Decade, and Eva Wiberg says that the University of Gothenburg conducts successful activities within all these areas:

  • ecosystem-based management
  • innovation and digitalisation
  • data and modelling
  • ocean literacy


Broad collaborations for the ocean

Eva Wiberg mentions the efforts to protect and restore eelgrass meadows, as well as the new collaboration Blue Food – Centre for the seafood of the future, that aims to make Sweden a leading producer of sustainable seafood.

When it comes to increased knowledge about the ocean, so-called ocean literacy, Eva Wiberg is happy to highlight the Ocean Blues project, where researchers meet high school students to discuss threats to the marine environment, and how we together could create a more sustainable future.

The University has research, education, and a world-class marine infrastructure. We also have a number of well-developed collaborations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We are ready, and we will do everything we can to intensify our efforts over the next ten years, together with the rest of the world,” says Eva Wiberg.       

Text: Per Adolfsson