Brian Arbic, a professor of Physical Oceanography at the University of Michigan, USA, has called for more representation of Africa in global science.
Arbic made the call on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He spoke on the sidelines of a week-long Ocean Coastal Environment 2022
Summer School in Nigeria (COESAN) held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
NAN reports that the programme, which started on Monday, is one year old
The 2022 edition was organized by UNILAG in collaboration with
University of Michigan and Nigerian Institute of Marine Research.
According to Arbic, Africa is one of the largest continents in the world
and there is a need for Africans to be actively engaged in decision-making
“This program called Coastal Environment Summer School is the first
the first time it will be organized in Nigeria and also the first time it will be held in
both virtual and physical formats since its inception in 2015 in Ghana.
“It’s basically a week-long summer school for oceanography
that helps people learn about the ocean, its importance and challenges
such as pollution and overfishing.
“It also seeks to create a network of people working around the world
with Africans so that they can cooperate with Americans and Europeans
on ocean problems.
“Africa, being one of the largest continents in the world, is in need
therefore to be better represented in the global enterprise such as
publishing scientific papers, being in international communities
and making decisions about the navy,” he said.
According to the don, the aim is also to promote the summer school
marine science in Africa as well as collaborations between marine scientists in Africa and the world at large.
He said that the program had participants from the University of
Michigan, University of Lagos, Ghana, China, Liberia and Malaysia,
physically and virtually.
On the impact of the program on students,
Arbic said: “This is the first time we are hosting the program here, in
Nigeria, but if you go back to Ghana, where we had held
Program, students have learned about new technologies.
“They can apply it to scientific research, we hope to bring the same
Arbiç asked for support for the program, noting that collaborations usually happen
He commended UNILAG for efforts to ensure the success of the event.
Dr Owoyemi Elegbeye of the Department of Marine Sciences of UNILAG,
told NAN that it was important to understand that 70 percent of the earth was water.
According to him, 90 percent of water is ocean water.
Elegbeye, a member of the event’s local organizing committee, said it was unfortunate
that humans were not exploiting enough of the ocean’s resources.
“We need to focus on the things that really matter to people.
We need to dig more into the usefulness of the ocean and the things in it and see
how it can be applied in our daily life.
“We do not have adequate research in this aspect of human existence; this is
part of the essence of all this holding the program at UNILAG
for the first time.
“Our goal is to see how people can learn more about the benefits
of Ocean and Marine Science.
“This program was held in Ghana every year; in the last two years, 2020 and 2021,
it was practically kept after the pandemic.
“For the first time, it is being held here in Nigeria, right on our campus,” he said.
He also noted that the summer school was also taking place physically
and practically for the first time.
“The population must be massively sensitized to this, starting from the advantages,
because from what you do not know, you cannot meet.
It is critical that we spread the word,” Elegbeye said.
Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, described the program as timely.
He said it was in line with the institution’s determination to intensify research
activities among students and staff.
Ogundipe was represented by Prof. Bola Oboh, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and Research).
According to Ogundipe, UNILAG is excited to host the event.
He said networking remains critical to advancing knowledge.
“I am of the opinion that much still needs to be done in West Africa,
given the fact that it is bound by a lot of water.
“What happens in the water space is important and needs a lot of research.
“Therefore, it is important that we dig deep into the program to secure it
participants have something good to take home,” he said. (NAN)