Tina Elfwing and Martin Jakobsson, University of Stockholm, Baltic Sea Centre

In order to develop the University of Stockholm’s research and education opportunities at Askö Laoratory, the Erling-Persson Family Foundation has donated funds to provide a modern research vessel. Tina Elfwing, Centre Director at the University of Stockholm, Baltic Sea Centre, and Martin Jakobsson, Professor of marine geology and geophysics, will tell about their work.

“The Baltic Sea Centre is a collective force for wider research at the University, where we act as a link between science and society by communicating key findings to the rest of the world. We administer as well as provide the infrastructure for marine research and education, and the Askö laboratory field station is an important part of this,” says Tina, who goes on to explain how the vessel will be used. “There are two important reasons why we need the ship. The first is that we need it so that we can take large groups on courses to the island of Askö. Secondly, the ship will play an important role as a platform from which we can take a large number of different samples as well as develop the research being conducted in the area.”

“This research vessel will form the core of our use of Askö. When teaching our students, we’ll cover the theory at home (Stockholm University) while the practical part of the course will be on board the ship or on the island,” adds Martin, and continues: “Because we can gather researchers from different disciplines in one place, we’re able to achieve research of a more interdisciplinary nature.  Bringing people together like this is simply the best way to stimulate research and development.  And because it’s an ice-breaking ship, we’ll be able to use it all year round.”

Martin goes on to tell us about the ship’s technology and how it affects research and results. “Thanks to its measurement technology, we’re able to get a better overall picture. When we scan the seabed, we can get a picture of how it looks on our screens immediately.  This makes it a lot easier for us to see where to take samples.  Apart from this, using the ship will help us become more time-efficient.  This is because it won’t be necessary for each team to go out separately, return with data, analyze it and then pass it on.  Instead, they’ll be able to do that straight from the vessel,” explains Martin.

Our goal is to help others reach their goals

Tina says that the ship will also have an extremely positive effect on their teaching.  “A modern vessel that helps us develop our research also enables us to open up new opportunities on the educational side.  Integrating research and education elevates the quality of the tuition we provide.  The ship is going to create new opportunities for the whole of the university to use Askö Laboratory.”

Martin also talks about how their research affects society in different ways. “Research in our field is important because we can go in, for example, and explain why something has occurred, what effect this might have and whether we can change such a development.”

Both Tina and Martin feel extremely positive about the new ice-breaking ship which is expected to be ready for use in about two years’ time (2016).