To support its goals of promoting and coordinating
marine scientific research, PICES must recognize the importance of capacity
building, a process intended to make it possible for all PICES member
countries and their scientists and institutions to participate fully in,
and benefit fully from, the cooperative programs developed by PICES.
Cooperative marine research depends on the combined efforts and continuing
involvement of all member countries. This requires the sharing of basic
and specialized skills as well as of experience and infrastructure. A
central element of capacity building is education and training, for example
in methods and skills in data management, modeling, and environmental
monitoring. Other elements include the building of appropriate national
and regional institutional support structures, the strengthening of infrastructure
elements, and the development of communication networks for exchange of
data and information.
Of course, each of the member countries of PICES has
modern marine scientific institutions and its own educational programs
in the field. In addition, the scientific activities of PICES, including
its scientific sessions and the work of its scientific committees and
other subsidiary bodies, are important contributions to capacity building.
PICES has focused in particular on the development of young scientists,
helping to increase their exposure to the exchange of scientific information
at international scientific meetings and involving them in other activities
of the organization. This may now be an appropriate time to consider other
possibilities and to develop a more explicit PICES strategy for capacity
That strategy should include the elements listed below.
Their success, as will then be discussed, will depend on provision of
adequate funds, and on coordination of efforts at the national level.
Training and education
Training courses on selected topics could be specified
and developed by the Science Board and its committees. These could involve
scientists from member and other countries and might take place in different
places as requested and supported by countries. In addition, PICES could
develop a current web-based compendium of training and education opportunities
including graduate student assistantships, post-doctoral fellowships,
and visiting scientist positions.
Sharing of methodologies, information, and
The common use of agreed observational methods is essential
for the pooling of data resulting from cooperative programs. The inter-comparability
of methods and training in their use can be improved through the development
of methodological workshops. Exchange of scientists on research cruises
can also contribute to this goal.
PICES meetings and publications and the PICES web page
are important means for sharing information. Sharing of data among PICES
countries is being organized by TCODE. That Committee should explore the
proposal to create, through a communication network, a common working
environment, including data, techniques, methods, software tools, mathematical
models, and computing power for sharing among all scientists involved.
Enhanced participation in PICES activities
A goal for PICES should be the full involvement of junior
and senior scientists from its member countries in its meetings, workshops,
committees, and other subsidiary bodies. Participation in annual meetings
of scientific program officers from national funding agencies should also
be encouraged. In most cases, this participation should be at national
expense and thus its extent will depend primarily on actions at the national
level (see below). Full participation could also be promoted by PICES
in its practices for establishing membership of these bodies, for example
by requiring rotation. An expanded intern program could include scientific
as well as administrative assignments.
Bases for a program of capacity building
The PICES budget is stringent, with national contributions,
less than half a million US dollars per year, sufficient only to maintain
a small secretariat and a limited meeting and publication schedule. Any
significant increase in activities that contribute to capacity building
will require increased priority at the national level and increased financial
support for the organization. Such additional resources could include
extra-budgetary contributions from member states and in special cases,
grants from international organizations and private foundations
Full participation of national scientists must include
not only increased national priority for such activities, but also the
involvement of all relevant national institutions (government, academic,
private) and coordination at the national level of their PICES-related
activities, so that support for PICES and the accompanying investment
of national resources can be optimized.