Elizabeth Cottier-Cook Wins Outstanding Contribution Award

 Seagriculture EU 2024
Elizabeth Cottier-Cook

Professor Elizabeth Cottier-Cook was presented WiSA’s Outstanding Contribution award in recognition of her teaching in aquaculture and her research contribution to the global seaweed industry.

A marine biologist who established a European Joint Master’s Degree in aquaculture, Professor Elizabeth Cottier-Cook had reason to celebrate on International Women’s Day after becoming a prize winner at the Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) Awards. She was presented with WiSA’s Outstanding Contribution award in recognition of her teaching in aquaculture and her research contribution to the global seaweed industry.

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree ACES-STAR teaches all aspects of aquaculture and allows international students to learn at centers in Oban, Crete, and Nantes. The master’s degree has awarded 126 scholarships to EU and international students since 2015, giving talented students from developing nations access to first-class academic teaching.

Professor Cottier-Cook has also been principal investigator on the five-year Global Seaweed STAR programme, which was funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund and ended in 2022. The goal of the program was to combine UK expertise in taxonomy, genetics and disease management with the knowledge and practical experience of seaweed farming in Africa and Asia to help safeguard the expanding global seaweed industry.

Seaweed farming is an important employer in many developing nations and is particularly key to empowering women, who make up the majority of seaweed farmers globally.

Along with the United Nations University and partners in the UK, Tanzania, Malaysia and the Philippines, Professor Cottier-Cook published an international policy brief that made recommendations on improving biosecurity and how best to protect the industry from the effects of climate change.

Professor Cottier-Cook said: “It was such a surprise to be told I had won the Outstanding Contribution Award, but I am also extremely honored. It is important to celebrate the success of women in any STEM field.

“There is an increasing number of women working in aquaculture and it is interesting to note that in the eight years of our ACES Joint Master’s Degree, women have made up roughly two-thirds of our students.

“Our GlobalSeaweedSTAR program included some of the leading seaweed researchers in the world and all of the work package leaders were women. Considering many women are involved in the seaweed industry, it was nice to be able to reflect that in our research team.”

Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) exists to introduce more women into aquaculture, and support those already working in the sector.

Heather Jones, Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre CEO and WiSA founder, said: “Not only is Liz an inspirational scientist who is globally recognized for her work on invasive marine species, but also, she gives her time to initiatives such as the Athena Swan Charter, an important framework with potential to lead to more inclusive policies within higher education and research. The judging panel felt that from both of these aspects that Liz is a worthy winner of the Outstanding Contribution award.”

Scottish Association for Marine ScienceThe Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), based near Oban, is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organization, dedicated to delivering marine science for a healthy and sustainable marine environment through research, education, enterprise, and engagement with society. It is a charitable organization and a partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

In the News…
Modern Plant Based Foods Inc., (CSE: MEAT) has signed a letter of intent with Northern Pacific Kaviar to acquire 100% of the shares in the company.

Modern plant based foods

Northern Pacific Kaviar has developed an innovative vegan caviar using a blend of seaweed, flavorings, and chia seeds to recreate the texture of real caviar for the vegan consumer. Their vegan caviar is made from a blend of natural ingredients and is free of any animal products. Modern Plant Based Foods has been actively searching for cutting-edge vegan products to add to its portfolio and is looking forward to expanding the availability of vegan caviar to more consumers.

The global vegan caviar market size is estimated to top US$ 295.6M in 2022 and is projected to reach US$ 632 M by 2032 at a CAGR of 7.9% from 2022 to 2032. Sales of vegan caviar are poised to surge as availability via online channels grows. This acquisition will allow Modern Plant Based Foods to move into the premium vegan outlets and develop additional Kaviar variations under this new arm of the company.

With this acquisition, Modern Plant Based Foods will be able to produce and distribute vegan caviar to retail stores, restaurants, and other food service locations. “Restaurants have been looking for a premium vegan product like this one, and by adding the vegan caviar product to our portfolio, it will further progress our vegan seafood portfolio.” said Avtar Dhaliwal, CEO of Modern Plant Based Foods. “We have established sales and distribution channels into various high-end outlets, and we believe that vegan caviar is a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional caviar. We look forward to making it more accessible to consumers.”

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