N-POC scholarship applicants will be invited to consider a broad range of interrelated issues and topics. The following multidisciplinary research clusters for the PhD programme provide the initial foundation for N-POC’s scope of inquiry. Although the six clusters represent but a fraction of possible research topics readily at hand for the ocean-climate nexus in the Pacific, they build on strong research records at both the USP and the UiB, and represent significant, urgent knowledge gaps.
N-POC CLUSTER 1: Stewardship and Governance of the Ocean-Climate Nexus
What research can best support integrated ecosystem management considering the commitments by Pacific states to protect their Exclusive Economic Zones and manage and conserve the resources therein? Given the complexity of ocean and climate governance, how will levels of governance from community to national to regional to global, and corresponding legal arrangements, be optimized to meet the evolving needs of the region? How can stewardship and governance protect, support, and empower Pacific values, cultures, and futures while also addressing global fields of interest?
N-POC CLUSTER 2: Securing Healthy Ocean, Islands and Coasts
How can ocean and climate science (including Pacific knowledge) be used to support integrated ecosystem management of islands and ocean for improved urban and land use planning for healthy ecosystems and people? What are the opportunities for nature-based solutions to help protect coasts and urban areas? How can ecosystem valuation provide economic benefits that can be reinvested in protecting the environment and supporting healthy communities and a healthy Pacific?
N-POC CLUSTER 3: Water and Food Security for Islands and Ocean
How do we balance the need for fisheries revenue to support island economies with protecting Pacific food security? What innovations, such as emerging aquaculture technologies, are possible to provide greater food security for the region? How can water and sanitation systems be improved to address the projected increase in droughts, flood, and salt contamination while protecting coastal ecosystems and human health?
N-POC CLUSTER 4: Envisioning a Sustainable Blue Pacific 2050 and Beyond
The intergovernmental Pacific Islands Forum is developing an ambitious vision process of envisioning a sustainable Blue Pacific continent that needs to be supported with ground-breaking academic research and innovation. How do we develop and utilize sustainable sea transport vessels and systems to better connect the islands and Pacific countries? What innovative approaches and technologies are needed to achieve a sustainable Blue Pacific? What governance arrangements make sense to achieve a sustainable Blue Pacific?
N-POC CLUSTER 5: Addressing the Challenges of Global Warming and Sea Level Rise
According to the IPCC Special Report on The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate released in 2019, the ongoing acceleration of ice melt projects sea level rise scenarios with 10% chance of increase rom the current global mean sea level rise of 3.4 mm per year to more than 5 cm per year. How can the Pacific rise to meet the challenges of rising ocean temperatures and sea level rise with improved forecasting, heightened resilience and regionally and globally strengthened governance?
N-POC CLUSTER 6: Pacific Cultural Heritage and the Ocean-Climate Nexus
Cultural heritage in the Pacific – everyday life on sea and land, traditional knowledge, languages, poetry, storytelling, performing art, material culture and visual expressions on national and regional levels – draws on relationships between human lives and the ocean. How are forms of Pacific cultural heritage and traditional knowledge brought to bear on ocean and climate activism, and how are such practices converted across fields of political communication and diplomacy?