Restart: Ph.d. "Towards International Ocean Stations: A Network Of Floating Laboratories For Ocean Open Science And Entrepreneurship"


This is my Ph.D. Research Proposal Draft - updated.

On the cover, you will recognize the "Open_Sailing” collective of the “International Ocean Station”. Yes, 10 years later, I am still at it. And more than ever, I see how important and urgent this concept is. I want to finish my Ph.D. and I want to build this thing - for real. Because I see how it can make a difference, and I am now more experienced and capable to build it. As a Research Proposal draft I will update it as my conversations evolve and my research questions become more clear.

“Towards International Ocean Stations, A network of floating laboratories for ocean open science and entrepreneurship”.

I started in 2011 under the supervision of Prof Jennifer Gabrys at Goldsmiths University, but in 2013 she moved from the Department of Design to the department of Sociology, and more recently transferred to Cambridge where she is now the Chair in Media, Culture, and Environment.

In 2013, I reached out to Dutch astronaut and Prof Wubbo (Johannes) Ockels at Delft University, but unfortunately, he died of cancer shortly after. This is his last speech. It still breaks my heart every time I see his face in his last moments. But his words inspired me to do my work, day after day.


Can we develop an inclusive infrastructure for ocean innovation to address the ocean challenges?

The bigger problem. The ocean is where all life comes from, yet we are destroying it and compromising our future. May it be agricultural or industrial run-offs, overfishing, plastic pollution, oil spills, radioactive leaks, challenges abound. But the oceans also covers more than 70% of our planet’s surface, has captured 90% of the excess heat we’ve produced controlling our planet’s climate, currently transporting about 90% of the global trade, having produced over 75% of the oxygen we breath and could feed us all, produce more fresh water to drink and more energy we could use from wind, wave, tidal, thermal, solar, chemical and biological sources. With our mindset, our businesses, our technologies, we are damaging and depleting the ocean faster than we know how to protect or replenish it. In the coming centuries, with the human population growth, the pressure on the ocean will only increase.

The specific Problems

  1. Money. Sustainability & Business: we have profited extracting from the ocean and we fail to see the short and long term benefits in developing maritime sustainable technologies and business models.
  2. People. Human collaboration & Innovation: we have been collaborating poorly and too slowly, locking critical knowledge and technologies behind pay gates, slowing down the impact we could have achieved.
  3. Technology: Affordable ocean laboratory: seafaring can be dangerous and current ocean research vessels are environmentally unfriendly and tend to be so expensive they exclude most coastal countries, especially the ones that need it most in the emerging world.

The questions I will investigate are: What are the ocean technologies and business models that make sustainable development possible? How can ocean stakeholders collaborate best? What sort of architecture and systems would enable research and development at sea?

The aim of this research is to elaborate and test principles to develop a network of affordable and open floating laboratories that would be equipped to do science and incubate sustainable ocean businesses. It would draw knowledge from previous small scale experiments I have conducted or participated myself, taking inspiration from some of the largest and most successful scientific projects of the last decades, and run a small-scale collaborative experiment that could become the foundation for the “International Ocean Stations”, a network of connected floating laboratories.

The worsening condition of the ocean and the lack of inclusive infrastructure is an urgent and critical problem for our planet as a whole. Intergovernmental, regional, national administrations, industries, coastal communities have individually failed to protect the ocean fast enough and at a significant scale.

This research is important because it is the only integrated platform project that gets all the ocean stakeholders to work together to address the ocean challenges at scale and pace with open technology; involving the public sector, private sector, and civil society. It will also contribute to developing sustainable business models, collaboration and innovation models and a new class of affordable research vessels. If the “floating marine laboratory” experiment is successful, it will become the foundation of a mass collaboration long term project, the “International Ocean Station Network”.

I particularly want to thank Dr. Etienne Gernez for his much precious advice, Abbie Jung-Harada for always being supportive, Dr. Eric Schuldenfrei at the University of Hong Kong for encouraging me to pursue research while teaching.

I am now actively looking for a new supervisor and the Ph.D. program that would allow me to turn this ambitious collective project into reality.


  1. suggestions of edits, references directly on the google doc in the comments section
  2. suggest me Ph.D. Supervisors and Universities that would be the best to host this research. Thank you very much. Write to me or whatsapp me on +852 9610 7593

Thank you