The project’s team builds on collaborative, inter-institutional and region-wide approach that is ingrained in the nature of the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI). EMUNI was established in 2008 by 43 Heads of states (all EU and non-EU Mediterranean countries) to foster integration among higher education and research institutions in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The team is cross-discipline and complementary in terms of expertise, experience and ability to reach out to stakeholders, building on past and other running networks, projects and collaborations. All the team members act in their personal capacity, and do not necessarily represent their institutions.

Lead of the Centre

Jerneja Penca is Associate Professor at the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI). Her research relates to how social paradigms influence law-making in the areas of resource management and to what socio-ecological impacts are produced by selected governance approaches. Her publications in the area of environmental governance have spanned over various regimes, including biodiversity, climate change, plastics pollution and fisheries, as well as the process of science-policy interface. She has published in legal and interdisciplinary journals. In her role of the Head of academic affairs, she is responsible for strategic partnerships, new programme and project development, capacity building at EMUNI’s partnering universities and the policy dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean region in the areas of science and higher education cooperation. She is the managing editor on the International Journal of Euro-Mediterranean Studies. She holds a PhD in law from European University Institute, Florence, and LLM degrees from the University of Nottingham and the EUI. 

Contact: jerneja.penca[at]

Melita Mokos is a marine biologist, an Assistant professor working at the Department of Ecology, Agronomy and Aquaculture at the University of Zadar, Croatia where she teaches at the Underwater Science and Technology undergraduate programme and Sustainable Management of Aquatic Ecosystems graduate programme. She is a vice president of the European Marine Science Educators Association and a coordinator of the regional EMSEA Mediterranean group, EMSEA – Med. She has been working on ocean literacy (OL) since 2015 and her OL work focused on advancing OL in the Mediterranean basin, development of the Mediterranean Sea Literacy, focusing on the role of Ocean Literacy in sustainable management of the Mediterranean Sea ecosystems and resources, as well as importance of OL in education at different educational levels. Her research interests are marine environmental knowledge, marine litter and blue carbon in seagrass. She is very engaged in science outreach working mainly with preschool and school children. 

Contact: mmokos[at]

Daniel Depellegrin (PhD) is a senior lecturer and research scientist at the Department of Aquatic Ecology of the University of Girona (Spain). His main area of research is decision-science applied to sustainability challenges in the marine environment, socio-ecological system analysis and Maritime Spatial Planning. He has worked in numerous research projects (e.g. H2020, INTERREG, NATO-SPS) in the Baltic, Atlantic and Mediterranean and acts as expert for organizations, such as NOAA (USA), Eklipse Network or EU-ESPON.

Contact: daniel.depellegrin[at]

Manal R. Nader has a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Management (1994) from the University of Minnesota, USA, a Master of Science in Aquaculture (1996) from the University of Stirling, Scotland and a Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Biology and Aquaculture (2000) from Hokkaido University, Japan. He led on the establishment of the Institute of the Environment (IOE) at the University of Balamand-Lebanon (UOB), and the Marine and Coastal Resources Program at the Institute. He is currently directing both. He also guided the introduction of the B.Sc. and M.Sc. Programs in Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, UOB where he chaired the Program for a period of four years. He is currently an Associate Professor at the Faculty where he teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses related to fisheries, marine ecology, Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and general Environmental Sciences. His research and projects concentrate mainly on fisheries, CZM, conservation of coastal and marine resources including biodiversity, artificial reefs, and wildlife management in which he has several publications. Moreover, he develops and submits proposals for external funding in his field of expertise where he manages several externally funded projects on sustainable development and resource management and conservation. His interest is currently expanding into ecotourism, blue economy, renewable energy, waste management, and watershed management. Dr. Nader also has extensive experience in coastal and marine consultancy work, and in developing and delivering training and capacity building material in addition to his two decades of experience in teaching undergraduates and graduate courses including supervision of graduate theses in his fields of interest. 

Contact: manal.nader[at]

Ahmed Elshazly is Associate Professor of Marine Geology, Oceanography Department, Alexandria University and currently, the Director of the office of Sponsored projects at Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development. He has his PhD in 2016 in a joint supervision program between Alexandria University, Egypt and University of Sassari, Italy. Ahmed has several publications in the fields of Marine Science, Climate Change, Marine Management, Blue Growth, and more. He was the national representative of Egypt in the 1st Global Planning Meeting for the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development. He is Ocean Ambassador of International Ocean Institute (IOI, Malta). He had a position of a Visiting Professor in Bologna University (UNIBO), Italy in 2017, and currently he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Science and Technology at Zewail City. He is a coordinator of several research and capacity building projects funded by national and international funding bodies. He has attended many trainings and workshops and conducted several mobilities for teaching and training in the Euro-Mediterranean Universities. He has a great experience in civil work and students’ activities, he was the coordinator of the student’s activities in Alexandria University throughout several years. Ahmed is a Certified Trainer, AT level, from the International Board of Certified Trainers (IBCT).

Contact: dr.aelshazly83[at]

Jean-Baptiste’s research focuses on the interlinked social, economic and ecological challenges that shape the new global ocean context: exploring what the Anthropocene means for the ocean, what it entails for how we study marine social-ecological systems and, essentially, what can be done to improve sustainability. His work involves inter- and transdisciplinary approaches, ranging from indicators for effective coral reef management to the global ocean economy, the role of transnational corporations, and whether there could be entry points for sustainability considerations into financial mechanisms. Jean-Baptiste has a background in natural science with a BSc in Biology of Organisms, Populations and Ecosystems from University Paul-Sabatier (France), and an MSc in Ecology from Stockholm University (Sweden). He graduated as a joint PhD in Sustainability Science of the Global Economic Dynamics and Biosphere programme at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University.

Contact: jean-baptiste.jouffray[at]

Andrea Barbanti has a PhD in Earth Sciences and a background of chemical oceanographer. He is presently Research Manager at CNR-ISMAR, where he develops science-to-policy activities and research initiatives and projects promoting Sustainable Blue Economy at national and EU level, focusing on the Mediterranean basin. He worked in the last 30 years at the boundary between science, marine engineering and policy making / implementation, on behalf of Engineering Companies, Public Administrations and Research Institutions. He was coordinating or involved since 2012 in several National and European projects dealing with MSP. His research activities focus on the trade-off -synergies analysis of multiple sea uses, analysis of cumulative effects from human activities and development of open source tools to support MSP implementation. He is currently National Focal Point for the MSPglobal Initiative and co-coordinating a team of scientists and experts supporting Italian MSP Competent Authority in the preparation of national MSP Plans.

Contact: andrea.barbanti[at]

Amel Hamza-Chaffai has a PhD (1993), and an Accreditation to supervise Research (1999) in Marine Ecotoxicology. She is Full Professor at Sfax University. She is an invited Professor at Akita University (Japan), University Tecknology (Malaysia) and different French Universities (Le Havre, Le Mans, and Caen). She published in 2007 an online course “Zoology of Invertebrates”. During 32 years, her main research focus was about marine pollution biomonitoring, biomarkers, endocrine disruptors, and pollution and cancer diseases. She published more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific articles. She has managed 3 national and 9 international research projects built up with her international network. She is also the designer of a regional museum of marine Science. She is the president founder of a research NGO named “Environnement et Bio Innovation”, recently approved as partner of the UNEP/MAP, whose activities are based on education outreach and entrepreneurship. Pr Hamza-Chaffai was involved in different european programs as partner (FP7 IRSES PEOPLE); as evaluator (EARANET-MED, PRIMA, MSCA-IF); and as external advisory board (and ERASMUS+). She is also a senior expert at Innovation House Consulting ® in charge of marine science and projects dealing with environmental issues. She attended different Mediterranean workshops organized by UNEP-IOC/UNOSCO. She was actively involved in different workshops about Entrepreneurship in life science (Massachusetts Institute of Technology-2016); about Research management (Academy of Science Malaysia-2009); and about E-learning (University of Georgia-2006). She has implemented different training sessions about “turning ideas into business” for students at the master level (Caen University-France). In 2007, she received the National Medal of Merit in Education and Science, Tunisia. In 2020, she was elected as a member of the Tunisian academy of science.

Contact: amel.chaffai[at]

Romana Kačič is a landscape architect. She worked in her own office, KačičLidén Landscape Architects in Venice, before moving to Trieste and Piran. She has experience in plans and projects in the coastal strip of the Mediterranean with projects in lagoons, Karst, sandstone, and volcanic systems. Romana is attracted by the cultural richness of the Mediterranean. One of her main challenges is to create means to recognise the identity of places both through landscape architecture and, in an innovative way, through games, videos, soundscapes, performances, innovative publications etc. The MEDSALT Uncovering the Mediterranean Salt Giant, gave her a collaborative experience in the role of disseminator of research results. As the artistic interpreter of the project she understood the great potential of collaborations with scientific researchers. She became fascinated by the life within the sea salt crystal and its great importance for marine and space research. Her collaboration in European projects and frequent involvement of students in her works was well appreciated and awarded by the University of Primorska with their Bartol’s 2019 “PRO AMICIS FACULTATIS” plaque. She is active in raising public awareness of the landscape heritage of the coastal and marine areas of the Mediterranean. In 2014 she founded the institute ABAKKUM dedicated to landscape, culture, and art to raise awareness among the residents of Piran about their own coastal space quality. She has been promoting the natural and cultural heritage of the Slovenian coast, including different generations in the creative process. At the moment she is working on a book, “The Poetry of the Stone”, that promotes the values of stone built elements in the coastal landscape in the Istrian region. Romana’s dream is to discover the entire Mediterranean coast by the sea and its underwater landscapes. Her curiosity about the micro-macro landscapes synergy and the terrestrial/non-terrestrial lives within the sea salt crystals, will remain forever.

Contact: abakkumpiran[at]

Ant Türkmen is one of the founder members of Ecological Research Society of Turkey. He carried out projects on marine protected areas, integrated coastal zone management, and ecosystem-based management of fisheries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. For the recent years, he has been contributing to the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Global Programme of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, as a thematic expert of MSP and Blue Economy. He is one of the lead authors of IPBES Nexus Assessment, for the interlinkages among biodiversity, water, food and health. He is also a co-leader in work groups of EU-COST Action Sea-Unicorn. He is interested in developing projects about the integration of innovative transformative technologies to the science-policy-society interactions.

Contact: turkmen[at]