Aquaculture International

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 703–713 | Cite as

AQUA-TNET thematic network: an 18-year chronicle of development and achievement in European aquaculture education

  • Margaret Eleftheriou
  • Marieke Reuver
  • John Bostock
  • Patrick Sorgeloos
  • Jean Dhont
Article

Abstract

The long-running higher education network AQUA-TNET, a tightly-knit collaboration of university departments, research institutes and other stakeholders from the aquaculture industry, was established in 1996 by AQUATT, a coordinating partner in the SOCRATES-ERASMUS Thematic Network DEMETER led by ICA (Association for European Life Sciences Universities). Later, AQUA-TNET activities continued under an umbrella organisation, the AFANET Thematic Network. Previous work on accreditation in European aquaculture courses carried out by AQUA-TNET’s first coordinator, the UETP (University Enterprise Training Partnership) AQUATT enabled the fledging network of 15 partners to publish details of aquaculture courses in all its 15 member countries and to focus on issues soon to be raised as part of the emergent Bologna Process (1999). AQUA-TNET’s ground-breaking work in educational reforms led to its steady expansion, with the result that in 2005 it was established as a stand-alone ERASMUS Thematic Network. Its achievements from 2005 to 2011 under the coordination of Gent University (Belgium) and from 2011 to 2014 of the University of Stirling (UK), demonstrate the incremental impact of AQUA-TNET’s long-term activities. AQUA-TNET played a leading co-operative role between higher education institutions, further education providers, research institutions and industry, defining and developing a high-quality European dimension within its academic disciplines. Activities included contributions to Bologna priorities such as student and staff mobility (M.Sc. and Ph.D. online portals detailing all members’ courses); development of innovative M.Sc., Ph.D., HE/VET and Lifelong Learning (LLL) programmes; organisation of hands-on workshops on new technologies (e-learning, ICT); identification of flexible pathways for lifelong learners (EQF and ECVET); developing diversified language learning for HE; excellent online forum (www.aquatnet.com) disseminating comprehensive information to all stakeholders, including industry.

Keywords

Aquaculture stakeholder fora AQUA-TNET education portal ICT hands-on workshops Language learning Mutual accreditation in aquatic sciences Student mobility for aquaculture 

Abbreviations

EAS

European Aquaculture Society

EAS (SG)

European Aquaculture Society Student Group

EATIP

European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform

ECTS

European Credit Transfer System

ECVET

European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training

EHEA

European Higher Education Area

EQF

European Qualifications Framework

ERA

European Research Area

EUA

European Universities Association

FORCE

Action programme for the development of continuing vocational training in the European Community

HE

Higher Education

LLP

Lifelong Learning Programme

UETP

University Enterprise Training Partnership

VET

Vocational Education and Training

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Eleftheriou
    • 1
  • Marieke Reuver
    • 2
  • John Bostock
    • 3
  • Patrick Sorgeloos
    • 4
  • Jean Dhont
    • 4
  1. 1.AQUALEX Multimedia Consortium LtdDublinIreland
  2. 2.AQUATTDublinIreland
  3. 3.Institute of AquacultureUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK
  4. 4.Laboratory of Aquaculture and Artemia Reference CentreGhentBelgium

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