The University of Plymouth is joining forces with the Ocean Giants Trust to create a series of exciting new opportunities for its marine students.

The partnership will award a series of scholarships through which students will be able to complement their studies with work for charities in locations such as Mexico, Mozambique, the Philippines and Tanzania.

Five scholarships will be available each year to students on the University’s Marine Biology and Conservation undergraduate programmes.

Those starting in September 2018 will be the first cohort eligible to apply, with the first scholarships being awarded in early 2019.

Martin Attrill, Professor of Marine Ecology at the University, said: “This new partnership presents our students with a unique opportunity. The selected scholars will not only get to learn about marine biology and conservation from internationally renowned academics at the University, but will be able to actively engage as part of their studies by partnering with an NGO abroad and helping them develop local capabilities.

“The Ocean Giants Trust has also provided a mechanism whereby the scholars will have direct experience of running a charity under the Trust’s umbrella. Many of our students go on to work with conservation charities and non-governmental organisations when they graduate, and this will provide them with the perfect experience that could inspire their future careers.”

The Ocean Giants Trust seeks to develop enduring conservation solutions from pioneering research, to nurture local conservation action and education, to champion international protection and to inspire a new generation of Ocean Guardians.

A key part of its ethos is to encourage sustainability and financial independence, so that they can take advantage of local knowledge and develop expertise where it is most needed.

Through the scholarships, students will get the chance to work with the partners:

  • The Marine Megafauna Foundation, recognised as a global leader in the field of research into the lives of whale sharks;
  • The Mexican Caribbean Manta Ray Project, a research, conservancy and education programme seeking improved protection of manta species and their habitat;
  • Sea Sense, a Tanzanian NGO that works with coastal communities to conserve and protect endangered marine species including whale sharks, dugongs, sea turtles and large marine mammals;
  • LAMAVE, an NGO that seeks to spread awareness in the Philippines of whale sharks, sea turtles and several species of cetaceans.

Andy Prebble, chairman of the trustees at the Ocean Giants Trust, said: “The University of Plymouth has an outstanding reputation for marine research and education, and we are delighted to be working together to offer these opportunities. As well as supporting all our partners to achieve their goals, we believe educating the next generation of marine conservation professionals is a vital element of our work. This collaboration – which brings together Plymouth and leading international research and conservation organisations – achieves both as we look to find ways to conserve and protect our oceans, and the creatures within them, now and in the future.”

Click on these links to find out more about the study and research opportunities within the University’s School of Biological and Marine Sciences and the work carried out by the Ocean Giants Trust.

Notes to Editors

For more information about this news release, contact University of Plymouth Media & Communications Officer Alan Williams on 01752 588004 or email

About the University of Plymouth

The University of Plymouth is renowned for high quality, internationally-leading education, research and innovation. 

With a mission to Advance Knowledge and Transform Lives, Plymouth is a *top 50 research university with clusters of world class research across a wide range of disciplines including marine science and engineering, medicine, robotics and psychology. A twice winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education, the University of Plymouth continues to grow in stature and reputation.

It has a strong track record for teaching and learning excellence, and has one of the highest numbers of National Teaching Fellows of any UK university. With 21,000 students, and a further 17,000 studying for a Plymouth degree at partner institutions in the UK and around the world, and over 100,000 alumni pursuing their chosen careers globally, it has a growing global presence. 

* Research Fortnight Research Power League Table 2014.

About the Ocean Giants Trust

The Ocean Giants Trust is an international conservation charity, which works to protect the ocean’s largest and most threatened marine species and their habitats. It believes that only through integrating international research with local marine conservation and education will Ocean Giants survive and thrive.

The Trust differs from most other international NGOs by partnering with local conservation groups. Unlike the majority of organisations, it does not put its own staff in charge of operations, instead leaving the management and ultimate ownership of projects to rest with local conservation groups.

The Ocean Giants Trust is strongly opposed to “green colonialism”.