Last Friday night Falklands Governor Alison Blake CMG hosted a reception at Government House to celebrate the founding ten years ago of the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institution, SAERI, a thriving independent institute-undertaking numerous projects and research in the Islands and across the world.
A huge thank you to Falkland Islands Government, past & present staff, students, supporters, collaborators and the Falkland Islands community for making this possible!, twitted Governor Blake.
Established in 2012 SAERI is a research institute with its main base in the City of Stanley, it was originally a department within the Falklands' Government, becoming an independent organization in 2017. SAERI is firmly embedded in research across all of the South Atlantic Islands, with partners in the public and private sector.
Recognized as an international academic institute it conducts world class natural and physical science research, teaching students, building capacity within and between the UK South Atlantic Overseas Territories, and actively participating in global climate change conferences such as COP27 in Egypt.
Happy 10th birthday to the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute @SAERI_FI, originally set up by @FalklandsGov in the #Falklands, but is now an expanding independent research institute covering the #Atlantic and farther afield. Take a look here: https://t.co/ZyRkjnOD8E https://t.co/78P0QDGHU6— FalklandsinUK (@FalklandsinUK) December 2, 2022
SAERI is a Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO) registered with the Charity Commission under Charity number 1173105. It is also entered on the register of Charities in the Falkland Islands with registration number C47.
SAERI approach centers around three focal areas: Ecosystems; Earth Science; Remote Sensing and Data Science. Cross-cutting support for delivery of these focal areas is derived from five pillars of strength: An independently international institution firmly embedded in the South Atlantic; Regional and international research co-ordination through multi-organizational, multinational institutional collaboration and through wide networks of credible local and international research fellows and associates; Robust informatics, data management and GIS systems; ‘On the ground’ logistical support for research and researchers, and capacity building and technical support within the region and Sustainable resources and funding supported by a commercial, consultancy arm.
In the first years since its inception, SAERI has been able to tap into many of the research opportunities already existing in the South Atlantic Overseas Territories, with an initial focus on both the Falkland Islands and Marine Science: by virtue of the Falkland Islands Government acting as parent in Phase I, established local relationships and organically given the skills of the incumbent staff. In the focal area of marine sciences, research and commercial opportunities have arisen within two principal sectors: fisheries and the oil and gas industry. It is not envisaged that SAERIs role in these sectors will change in the future.
To date, work that SAERI has done has included:
• Working with the Falkland Islands Government and the Oil & Gas industry to provide a gap analysis of the potential impacts of the industry on the higher predators and on the benthic environment
• Working with the government to develop an evidence base for the Falkland Islands’ Marine Spatial Plan;
• Developing an informatics and data system specifically relevant to the Falkland Islands which can provide historical temporal and spatial data
• Coordinating a regional information management centre, which includes training and capacity-building across the South Atlantic Overseas Territories, and the creation of the regions first ever metadata catalogue.
• Exploring opportunities for aquaculture on the Falkland Islands.
• Mapping the Terrestrial and marine environments of Ascension Island
• Enhancing the science and evidence-base for sustainable fisheries on St. Helena and Ascension Island.
• Defining for the first time Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) for each of the South Atlantic Overseas Territories.
• Providing the regional hub role for the South Atlantic for the European Commission ‘Best 2.0’ funding program.
To ensure that SAERI continues to broaden its expertise beyond the Marine Sciences and Data Science, other areas of focus are being developed, so that optimal use of resources and focused application of funds can take place in a logical and transparent manner. This is being done through a phased approach so that as one focal area becomes established, so another can come to life.