BUILDING A WORKFORCE OF WORLD-CLASS MARINE SCIENTISTS

Improving Australia's marine science Postgraduate Training System to meet the needs of the Blue Economy

The National Marine Science Plan (2015) calls for a workforce of world-class marine scientists equipped with strong quantitative skills, in tune with industry and government priorities, and working in cross-disciplinary teams.

In 2019, the NMSC led a study to assess the capacity of Australia’s university postgraduate training to cultivate this essential workforce.

 

Download the report

Improving Australia's marine science Postgraduate Training System

Summary report

Improving Australia's marine science Postgraduate Training System

Technical report

A key message from graduates to students who aspire to a career in Australia’s marine sector was to obtain industry experience through internships or volunteer opportunities.

ADVICE FOR POSTGRADUATE MARINE SCIENCE STUDENTS

Download the fact sheet for students.

WHAT WE FOUND

Marine sector graduates and students reported low participation in internships cadetships, and/or work placements.

  • Employers want to recruit staff that have the adaptability and flexibility to work across disciplines on complex projects.
  • Students need advice on how to research the priorities of their target employers.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Obtain industry experience through internships or volunteer opportunities.
  • Be aware of the importance of personal attributes valued by employers: problem solving, time management, written and oral communication, adaptability, flexibility and teamwork.
  • Consider postgraduate programs that offer advanced coursework across a range of disciplines and programs that can equip you with high-level quantitative skills.

SKILLS VALUED BY EMPLOYERS

Disciplines_values_and_prioritised_infographic

We found little evidence of explicit efforts to interest students whose first degree is engineering, mathematics, social science and law in a career in the marine sector. This gap needs to be addressed.

HOW UNIVERSITIES CAN HELP DRIVE THE BLUE ECONOMY

WHAT WE FOUND

  • Employers had difficulty finding graduates with expertise in social science, quantitative fisheries science, water quality, engineering and mathematics.
  • One third of employers anticipated changes in the disciplinary knowledge needs of their organisation in the next decade.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Offer coursework programs that are cross-disciplinary and problem-focussed.
  • Work to attract undergraduate and postgraduate students to marine science from under-represented fields like biophysical science and social science disciplines.
  • Assist postgraduate students to be ‘job ready’ via workshops, seminars, coursework and informal support.
  • Foster industry internships and work placements in Australia and overseas, industry engagement scholarships and industry-embedded PhDs.
Download the Universities fact sheet.

One employer identified ‘a legacy mismatch between training and industry demand’.

 

WHO PARTICIPATED?

Participants from universities, students and employers contributed to the report via a combination of surveys, submissions and interviews.

COMMITTEE CHAIR

Toni Moate

Director, National Facilities and Collections, CSIRO

NMSC SECRETARIAT

Shane.Fava@csiro.au

DOCUMENTS & IMAGES

All documents on this site remain the property of the relevant authors. These documents should be cited if used in research or for other purposes. All images on this website have been contributed by NMSC Members, or are fully licensed through Adobe Stock and Shutterstock.

© NMSC