Learn more about our program


Training Our Future Ocean Leaders (Ocean Leaders) is an innovative UBC program that aims to prepare the next generation of interdisciplinary marine researchers with the ability to translate technical knowledge into policy and management innovations for the oceans. The program emerged from UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF), which unites top marine researchers across disciplines behind a mission of research, teaching, and societal engagement on the future of oceans and their resources. Thanks to funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s CREATE program, Ocean Leaders will support the mission of the IOF by training young marine scientists and social scientists to bridge the gulf between science and society.

Ocean Leaders aims to provide value-added professional training and opportunities not available in existing disciplinary graduate programs. With the leadership of an interdisciplinary team of UBC faculty and off-campus collaborators, the program provides graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with the opportunity to reach beyond their fields of technical expertise and develop professional experience in areas including marine law and governance, community engagement, science communication, entrepreneurship, and environmental impact assessment.

Students in the program complete their degrees in their home departments and institutes and engage in additional Ocean Leaders activities including:


  • Grand Challenges in Ocean Leadership course: Starting in 2017, this course provides experience applying data and technical knowledge to develop policy and management solutions for real-world marine and coastal problems and communicating those solutions to the public and policymakers.
  • Professional development workshops: These hands-on workshops, ranging in length from an hour to full days, expose trainees to key professional skills including science communication, partnering with Indigenous communities, negotiation and mediation, and engaging with policymakers.
  • Internships: Students have the opportunity to develop internships, from several weeks to full semesters, working with off-campus collaborators from industry, government, non-governmental organizations, and boundary organizations.

Ocean Leaders is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) CREATE program.