Ocean i3: Blue skills for the development of the blue economy

'Blue' skilling to protect the oceans

Course Summary

Oceani3 is an interdisciplinary, cross-border and intercultural educational innovation project lead by the universities of Bordeaux and of the Basque Country. As its core, the project developed an inter-university intensive training itinerary and employability plan for undergraduates and postgraduates to acquire ‘blue skills’. These skills were aimed at promoting employability, entrepreneurship and innovation in the cross-border employment zone linked to the ocean economy. The innovation project worked as a living lab that welcomed interdisciplinary teams of students and teachers working on different challenges, in collaboration with public and private entities of the blue economy sector.

During its three years of operations, students from 16 different disciplines participated: pedagogy and educational sciences, criminology, law, economics and business, nursing, biology, communication and journalism, psychology, innovation and management in sport, French philology, advertising and public relations, environmental chemistry, engineering.

Course Design2021 Basque Blurb

The Ocean i3 project aimed to achieve four levels of objectives that sought to contribute to the sustainability of the Basque-Aquitaine coastline. Firstly, the learning objective focused on active research-based and issue-driven learning methodologies, where students worked in teams to assess problems, design interdisciplinary projects, and develop action plans with socio-economic actors, fostering transversal competencies in learning, research, and sustainable development.

Secondly, the employability objective involved immersing students in the professional ‘blue’ economy environment. Teachers and socio-economic actors jointly identified the needs, dynamics, and challenges specific to the sector to guide and ensure training adapted to the blue skills that the cross-border blue economy already needs and will require in the future.

The third objective revolves around pedagogical innovation, overseen by an international team, to further develop the Ocean i3 plan and integrate it into curricula.

The last objective was to build a collaborative Ocean i3 community involving various stakeholders in different project stages. They can identify key issues, integrate background information, offer immersive learning experiences, disseminate results, evaluate the educational process, and identify blue economy skills and professional profiles.

The project was developed during the second semester of the academic year where students combined their involvement in it with a curricular activity of their degrees (bachelor's thesis, master's thesis, subject work, Ph.D, or internship). Ocean i3 provided students with collaborative and interdisciplinary context by developing 5 cross-border workshops during the academic year. The workshops alternated meetings with the stakeholders where real-world challenges were proposed, and the solutions offered by students were tracked and discussed. Overall, tutors of the project guided students in orienting their individual work to help contribute to the collective multidisciplinary project.

Additionally, citizen science activities for raising awareness on the issues in question were organised with diverse groups.

Visit the Ocean i3 website for more detail.

In the following video, you can watch designers of the course explain their motivations, processes and experiences of implementing the course:


Prof. Itziar Rekalde Rodríguez
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.