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PEGASuS: Enabling early-career sustainability scientists

In a Future Earth blog post, researcher Alfredo Giron shares his experience as a postdoc in the NOMIS-supported PEGASuS program.

The PEGASuS Program: A New, Exciting Model for Postdoctoral Researchers

In March 2019, as I was finishing my Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I was looking for opportunities to continue with my research and explore ways to move from science to concrete action. Unfortunately, as a non-U.S. citizen, many fellowships and programs were not accessible to me. As I started thinking about more ‘traditional’ research-oriented postdocs, one day I got 5 separate emails from people telling me about Future Earth’s Program for Early-stage Grants Advancing Sustainability Science (PEGASuS).

Alfredo Giron
Alfredo Giron: “As I come to the end of my PEGASuS postdoc, I can only be grateful for the amazing opportunity that this fellowship gave me to expand my networks and build the research foundations for real-world solutions in sustainability.”

The PEGASuS postdoc offered a unique combination of responsibilities: (1) join the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara to do research; (2) work with Future Earth to help translate science into ocean solutions; and (3) lead an independent project that could be research or policy oriented. For me, this was the whole package! And even better, there were two positions, which Erin Satterthwaite, now a great friend and colleague, and I got.

When we started this postdoctoral position, we both were eager to embed ourselves in the world of international ocean policy, learn about the key players, and better understand the process from the inside. Admittedly, we both had some, but limited, understanding of these processes beforehand.

In May 2019, we attended the 1st Global Planning Meeting of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (the Decade). This meeting was the kick-off event for a movement coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission to bring together world experts from all sectors of society to try to reverse the declining health of our oceans over the next 10 years. While the event itself was fascinating, we soon realized that we were two of only four Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) participating in the event. When we raised this concern, the IOC gave us the opportunity to address the audience in the concluding remarks panel. Our message was clear: to ensure the long-term sustainability of the oceans, ECOPs like us needed to be included in all phases and events of the Decade. After we delivered this message, we received immense support from the IOC and many other institutions participating in the event. It was abundantly clear that our message resonated strongly with the participants, and we felt we had started a movement.

Continue reading this Future Earth blog post

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NOMIS Researchers

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Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
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