The First NF-POGO Centre of Excellence for Ocean Observing (CofE)

Memories from Tony Knap and Gerry Plumley

Gerry Plumley
Tony Knap

“The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) was honored, and privileged, to host Phase 1 of the NF-POGO CofE. All institutions have turning points in their history. For marine stations, it is frequently a new building, a new ship, a large multi-year grant. BIOS has achieved all of these over the years, but history books will show that BIOS’ role as hosts of NF-POGO CofE was equally monumental. The opportunity to host 10 young, outstanding, ambitious, intelligent, and talented individuals, and we are talking about individuals with a wide range of skill sets and equally wide range of cultures and native languages, can be, and was, a transformative opportunity for BIOS. The term ‘scholars’ was quickly appended to the group (i.e., CoE Scholars, we called them). Read more…

“BIOS faculty, long involved in teaching courses to undergraduates and/or short-term summer course students, had to adapt tactics for this new group. Rethink strategies. Work together to minimize overlap, maximize information dispersal. Learn new ways to challenge a diverse group, which may have a Scholar with fantastic skills in one area (e.g., marine biology) but no skills in another (e.g., chemistry, or physics). Herding cats. A phrase that was used more than once. The Scholars were 10 well educated, talented, ambitious individuals, but with diverse skills. The challenge was to get them to work together, to help each other, to think like a team.

“In terms of team building, both Shubha Sathyendranath and Trevor Platt played very important roles. They were at BIOS frequently in the early days of the CofE. Talking with students. And we all know that Shubha is such a great communicator. Getting ‘inside’ information of what was working, what was not working – and then relaying that information to BIOS faculty/staff so we/they could enhance the good, minimize the bad. Trevor and Shubha played an equally large role in helping shape the curriculum. Nothing big, but always (ALWAYS) insightful. A little more of this, a little less of that.

“With all due modesty, we are proud of the role that BIOS played in launching the CofE. To repeat, hosting Phase 1 of the CofE was an honor and privilege. Tony had the opportunity to meet some of the early scholars, at the POGO 20 meeting in Qindao, China in January this year. They had all done well. We are sure that this spirit has been transferred to the Alfred Wenger Institute – the present home of the NFI-CofE and there will be a long stream of Scholars.”

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