African Network of
Deep-water Researchers

Africa is a continent rich in marine biodiversity and resources, with great potential to support a thriving and equitable economy through sustainable development. Deep-water industries like fisheries or oil and gas, as well as emerging seabed extractive activities and marine bioprospecting, are key Blue Economy sectors dependent on healthy and diverse ecosystems. Sustainable development of these sectors requires a deep understanding of natural ecosystems so that economic activities can be responsibly managed and vital services provided by our oceans can be protected.

Africa has been identified as lacking capacity for deep-sea and offshore research, a critical limitation in the management of key deep-water Blue Economy sectors. Building on and strengthening Africa’s capacity to undertake research and generate knowledge of our important deep-water ecosystems is thus crucial to support the continent’s sustainable development objectives. In this context, the African Network of Deep-water Researchers was conceived through the Challenger 150 Programme.

Lace corals off South Africa's east coast (credit: ACEP Deep Forests)
Sinothando Shibe (credit: ACEP Deep Forests)

The African Network of Deep-water Researchers (ANDR) is open to African nationals and individuals based in African institutes across disciplines and sectors who are interested in deep-sea and offshore research (jointly termed deep-water research, beyond scuba depths >30m).  The vision of the network is to be an African-led, inclusive network strengthening deep-water research capacity and knowledge for sustainable development. The network aims to:  

  1. Engage marine scientists, including Early Career Researchers (ECRs), in deep-water research.
  2. Expand the coverage and frequency of multidisciplinary deep-water research.
  3. Build understanding of deep-water ecosystems, including ecosystem services delivered by deep waters, and flows of benefits to society.
  4. Increase the use of deep-water knowledge in decision-making.

Membership: The network currently has over 250 members from 27 African nations, representing over 140 institutions with 76% Early Career Researchers. 

Current Activity: The ANDR is still in a development phase, and we thank you for your patience during this time.

As a starting point, the ANDR initiated a series of workshops to identify practical actions to strengthen capacity for deep-water research and establish a framework for subsequent activities. Through a series of online workshops, the ANDR brought together 98 individuals from 19 African nations to discuss challenges for deep-water research in Africa, identify solutions to overcome these and propose practical actions going forward.

Support for this work was provided by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, the UK Science and Innovation Network, the Global Challenges Research Fund One Ocean Hub Project, the University of Plymouth, the University of Aveiro and the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

More information on this project is available here.

Click here to download and read the full report


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