20 Jahre ISATEC | Foto: Jan Meier, ZMT

01/10/2019 | On September 30, the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and the University of Bremen celebrated the 20th anniversary of their joint master's programme for International Studies of Tropical Aquatic Ecosystems (ISATEC). Every year, this programme which is exclusively held in the English language prepares 20 young students from all over the world for the research in and management of tropical ecosystems. During the past 20 years, 315 students from 62 countries have graduated with this programme. Meanwhile, numerous ISATEC alumni are employed worldwide at universities and research institutions, in ministries, non-governmental organisations or in the industry.

“ISATEC is a very special course of study which implies a unique third semester, in which students go to the tropics for their research. This is a very intensive phase, during which the students are often required to use their intelligence to cope with problematic situations," acknowledged Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoffmeister, Vice President Academic at the University of Bremen the special challenges of this Master program. The ISATEC course director Prof. Dr. Matthias Wolff from the ZMT added: “The outstanding quality of the ISATEC programme has been confirmed by the German Academic Exchange Service, which has supported our master's program with students’ scholarships since its introduction in 1999.” In his address, he also expressed his thanks to lecturers from the Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (MPI) and other German and foreign universities who teach ISATEC courses.

Dr. Janine Reinhard, head of the ZMT Academy, used this opportunity to present the ZMT alumni programme and to invite all graduates to join in. "Our alumni programme has developped into a large network of young graduates who engage in global resource management. We would like to continue the scientific dialogue with all alumni and promote worldwide cooperation in shared projects.”

The official celebrations ended with the ceremonial handing over of the certificates to the graduates of this year’s ISATEC cohort by Professor Wolff and Dr. Oliver Janssen-Weets, who is responsible for the course of studies at the University of Bremen

The evening ended with a delicious buffet and salsa music performed by BremaVista.


About ISATEC - International Studies of Tropical Aquatic Ecosystems

The two-year course of study focuses on research and practical work in relation to the management and conservation of tropical aquatic ecosystems and their resources. Research topics range from the basics and the structure of water systems in the tropics to methods for the evaluation and management of resources and approaches to coastal planning. Another focus includes oral and written communication and working in multidisciplinary teams (natural and social sciences).

Every year, some 140 potential candidates apply for the Master's programme, which requires excellent English language skills and practical professional experience.

During the first semester, the candidates study at the University of Bremen. The second semester is spent at a partner university in a tropical or subtropical country, where the students collect data for their final thesis, which they write in their third and fourth semesters.

ISATEC courses are taught by lecturers and teaching staff with long-term working and teaching experience in the tropics as well as by researchers from the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (MPI) and other research institutions.

ISATEC graduates can proceed with their academic studies after completing the program, e.g., by earning a doctorate. However, many graduates also opt for a non-scientific career and work for national and international research, nature conservation or governmental organisations in the field of coastal systems, resource management or development cooperation.

With effect from winter semester 2021, the ISATEC program will be merged with the Master's program "Marine Biology" at the University of Bremen, for which a total of 30 students can apply. A total of 15 can then choose either the ISATEC or Marine Biology track.