The WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute was inaugurated in May 2018 and made possible through generous support from The Nippon Foundation, the Governments of Sweden, Canada, and Germany, as well as the City of Malmö.

The vision of the Institute is to act as an independent focal point for the ocean science-policy-law-industry-society interface where policy makers, the scientific community, regulators, industry actors, academics, and representatives of civil society meet to discuss how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources in accordance with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In delivering the mission of the Institute, faculty and staff at the Institute undertake evidence-based research, capacity building programmes and outreach on a broad range of topics in contemporary ocean affairs. The Land-to-Ocean Leadership PhD Scholarship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programme is one of the lighthouse initiatives of the Institute.

The research of the Institute provides new perspectives on how to address the manifold threats facing the ocean. Under the leadership of Professor Ronan Long, Director of the Institute, and Professor Clive Schofield, the Institute’s Head of Research, the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute sets out to seek answers and to build knowledge that facilitates the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources.

Key Projects

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure of Germany (BMVI)

WMU has launched a Land-to-Ocean Leadership PhD Scholarship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programme developed and implemented by the GOI. The programme will generate practical methods for implementation of a land-to-ocean perspective of governance and management and contribute to meet the targets as set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, in particular Goal 14 that focuses on sustainable management of the oceans. Through a multidisciplinary approach and for the period 2018-2021, the project will generate increased understanding and knowledge of the links between ecosystems on land, in freshwater and marine waters and explore different sustainable management initiatives.

With support from DFO Canada, the purpose of this project is to advance an alternative, inclusive model for the sustainable governance of ocean spaces and maritime activities that duly takes into account the need to ensure effective gender equality and the empowerment of women at all levels in order to ensure the sustainable management of the global ocean. The research will review existing regulatory frameworks deriving from the law of the sea, human rights law, labour law, maritime law and environmental law.

WMU has a longstanding relationship with the government of Canada and in particular, Transport Canada. Since 2013, numerous regulatory development projects have been successfully delivered on a range of shipping and ocean governance issues of interest to the Canadian government. A fresh suite of projects have been rolled out since 2016 pursuant to the government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, 2016, on a number of maritime and ocean governance relevant issues. This valuable partnership will be carried forward by the Institute through the delivery of reports pertaining to comparative analysis, expository research and ways forward in diverse areas considering important aspects, such as environmental, safety and security, and indigenous community.

To date, WMU has successfully concluded a number of highly topical research projects funded by Transport Canada, namely: Oil Spill Intervention, Abandoned Vessels and Derelicts (Vessels of Concern), ISPS Code, Aquaculture of Salmonids, Innovations related to Issuance of Marine Medical Certificate for Seafarers, and Maritime Security Arrangements in Unmanned and Remote Facilities of the Arctic. Since 2018, the Institute has undertaken several state-of-the-art projects related to Underwater Noise, Ballast Water Management, and three Anchorage Studies that investigates the current anchorage issues in major Canadian and international public ports through the prism of demand drivers, impact assessments and stakeholder consultation. The Institute is committed to working in close collaboration with its international network and supporting the Government of Canada’s current and future initiatives in the domain of maritime and ocean governance.

Nippon Foundation.

The marine debris project aims to address the issue of marine debris in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region through research. The aim of this project is to undertake state-of-the-art research to develop practical solutions to the challenges posed by marine debris. The vision and goal of this project is to reduce the introduction of marine debris through behavioural societal change, the promotion of economic analysis leading to application of incentives and disincentives in relation to marine debris and the development and implementation of policy and regulatory instruments.

Australian Research Council

This timely and urgent project proposes to assess the potential impacts both of the Arbitration Tribunal’s ruling and as a result of sea level rise on the role of islands on maritime jurisdiction, with particular reference to the PICs, by adopting an integrated geospatial and legal research approach, grounded on the expertise of the project team. Research under this project critically examines a profound potential threat to the maritime claims of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs).


Through social innovation, The Nippon Foundation, aims to achieve a society where all people support one another, reducing the burdens and challenges they face together. The Nippon Foundation is a long-standing supporter of WMU since 1987.
The generous and ongoing support from WMU’s host country of Sweden facilitates the University as a center of excellence in maritime and ocean education, training and research. Further, it supports WMU as a convener of knowledge,policy, industry, academia, law and civil society to contribute to the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Sweden has been very much engaged in efforts to internationally regulate ocean issues, including taking into account the particular situation of Small Island Developing States.
The Government of Canada will support the Institute from 2018-2012. Their contribution will help protect the ocean and be directed towards the recruitment and involvement of women scientists to support gender equity in oceans research, a key priority for Canada.
The City of Malmö has always generously provided the facilities for WMU. Sweden has made Sustainable Development Goal 14 into one of its main priorities. The city of Malmö is a proud host of the Institute and will cooperate in strengthening the commitment to drive local action agenda to the global level.
Germany is committed worldwide in sharing responsibilities with a view to pursuing the goals of an integrated maritime policy. The significant contribution from the Government of Canada will advance the ongoing discussions on how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources for the sustainable development of present and future generations. They directly support UN SDG Goal 14 focused on conservation and sustainable use of the ocean.