The University of Macau (UM) recently held a plaque unveiling ceremony for the Centre for Regional Oceans under its Faculty of Science and Technology (FST). The establishment of the centre symbolises the university’s dedication to promote research studies in regional oceanography in order to support economic diversification in Macao and contribute to the long-term development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

UM Rector Yonghua Song, Vice Rector Ge Wei, FST Dean Xu Chengzhong, and Centre for Regional Oceans Interim Head Zhou Wanhuan officiated at the ceremony. According to Song, in order to assist the Macao SAR government in tackling challenges in the use of the ocean, marine disaster prevention and control, as well as marine environmental protection, UM has specifically made regional oceanography, an emerging research field, one of the key research areas in its strategic research blueprint. The establishment of the centre marks the beginning of research studies at UM in cutting-edge topics in related fields. The centre is expected to promote exchange and collaboration between Macao and other countries in oceanography, which will help to realise economic diversification in Macao and contribute to the long-term development of the Greater Bay Area.

The Centre for Regional Oceans focuses on three directions: marine multi-circle dynamics and environmental regulation mechanisms, natural disaster prevention and engineering in coastal cities, as well as coastal environmental governance and resource development. According to Zhou, in view of the fact that Macao has experienced two typhoon disasters in the past few years, the first task of the centre is to solve the current scientific problems in marine environment and ocean engineering, so as to enhance Macao’s capacity in marine disaster prevention and control, ocean engineering construction and maintenance, marine ecological environment protection, and marine resource utilisation. Currently, there are more than ten laboratories under the center, with some other labs being constructed at the moment. They include the laboratory for marine environmental pollution detection, the laboratory for marine environmental pollution prevention and maintenance, the laboratory for maritime environmental pollution simulation, the laboratory of environmental biotechnology, and the laboratory of water engineering.

Under UM’s ‘3+3+3’ research blueprint, the centre will actively establish new platforms for technology and innovation in order to create a momentum for technology-driven development. The ‘3+3+3’ research blueprint comprises three state key laboratories, three emerging research fields, and three interdisciplinary research fields. The center has begun collaborations with various top research units in related fields in mainland China and the Greater Bay Area. They include Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao); the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, CAS; State Kay Laboratory of Marine Pollution; State Key Laboratory of Costal and Offshore Engineering; and State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse. In the future, the centre will focus on oceanography research studies that can respond to the needs of Macao, and will aims to nurture more outstanding professionals in related fields, enhance Macao’s international status and influence in the area of oceanography, and contribute to the Greater Bay Area and China in terms of technological development in oceanography.

Guests who attended the ceremony include Yang Zhixin, director of UM’s Research Services and Knowledge Transfer Office, as well as members of the centre, namely Prof Lam Chi Chiu, Prof Yan Wangji, Prof Lok Man Hoi, Prof Li Yongjie, Prof Hao Tianwei, Prof Zhang Ping, Prof Shi Huabin, Prof Shen Ping, Prof Gao Liang, and Prof Cai Zhongya.