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Aquatic Scientists sans Frontiers — UCAS, a Postgraduate-led Inter-border Academic Network

April 2, 2013
  • Meeting between student committees and professors.

    Meeting between student committees and professors.

 by UCAS HKU Committee

The year 2013 does not only mark the 5th anniversary of the University Consortium on Aquatic Sciences (UCAS), but also witnesses the joining of the 3rd core institution, National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU), and affirms the growth and success of UCAS. 

Initiated as a collaborative network by postgraduate students from The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Xiamen University (XMU) in 2008, UCAS has organized four annual symposia between 2009 and 2012, as well as other student exchange programmes and community environmental education programmes.  We aim at bringing together postgraduate students from HKU, XMU and other researchers within the Greater China Region.  This year, with the joining of NTOU, the 5th annual symposium of UCAS was held at NTOU, Keelung, Taiwan from 11-14 March, 2013.  This marked an important milestone in the development of UCAS – for the first time in the history of UCAS, the annual symposium was held outside Hong Kong and Xiamen.  This symposium was proven to be a phenomenal success with a record-breaking 56 postgraduate students from 6 institutes from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan coming together at NTOU to share their research studies and experiences.  We were honoured to have the heartfelt support by Professor Ching-Fong Chang, the President of NTOU, who gave a warm welcome to all participants at the opening ceremony and expressed his high expectation for the symposium and his appreciation for this cross-border communication platform run entirely by postgraduate students.

With the theme “From stream to ocean: the biodiversity and sustainability of aquatic ecosystems”, the symposium encompassed a comprehensive array of topics concerning both freshwater and marine ecosystems, ranging from ecology and biodiversity to ecotoxicology, fisheries and aquaculture, biogeochemistry and environmental risk assessment and management.  To accommodate the surge in the number of participants, a poster session was also added for the first time in addition to oral presentations.  We were also very pleased to have invited Professor Deng-Fwu Hwang and Professor Tin-Yam Chan from NTOU, Dr Min Liu from XMU and Professor Yvonne Sadovy from HKU to deliver the keynote speeches.  These presentations as well as an animated debate session on topics concerning aquatic ecosystem conservation sparked a continuous flow of exchange of knowledge and ideas not only among students themselves, but also among staff members and between staff and students from across the border.

 “The uniqueness of UCAS is that it is driven by postgraduate students, and they are the guys who drive science in the future,” said Professor Gray A Williams, UCAS mentor from HKU.  This view was echoed by Professor Minhan Dai from XMU and Professor I-Shiung Chen from NTOU.  They further commended UCAS for creating a borderless platform for staff and students to interact in a friendly and intimate setting, and opening up opportunities for possible future collaboration and for the betterment of aquatic science research in the region.

After the symposium, a special meeting was called forbetween professors (Professor Chang and Professor Chen from NTOU, Professor Dai and Dr Liu from XMU, and Professor Williams from HKU) and student committees from the three universities. At the meeting, the professors reaffirmed the significance of UCAS and discussed the future of UCAS.  Professor Chang said that even though NTOU was new to UCAS, as the President of NTOU, he would give full support to the students to participate in this meaningful event.

The 5th UCAS anniversary has been remarkable.  We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the sponsors for their financial support and the staff mentors, organizing committee and participants of the symposium from Hong Kong, Xiamen and Taiwan for giving life and meaning to the symposium.  In 2014, the 6th UCAS symposium will be back to Hong Kong and we will be welcoming postgraduate students from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan to participate in this unique event.

Stay tuned to our website for news and updates: http://mel.xmu.edu.cn/ucas/index/

  • Welcoming speech given by Professor Ching-Fong Chang, the President of NTOU.

    Welcoming speech given by Professor Ching-Fong Chang, the President of NTOU.

  • Keynote speech given by Professor Yvonne Sadovy from HKU.

    Keynote speech given by Professor Yvonne Sadovy from HKU.

  • Student’s presentation.

    Student’s presentation.

  • Students actively participated in discussion.

    Students actively participated in discussion.

  • Poster session.

    Poster session.

  • Group debate on controversial environmental issues.

    Group debate on controversial environmental issues.

  • Ecotour to a mangrove.

    Ecotour to a mangrove.