The oceans contain the most diverse habitats on Earth and there is, increasingly, a need to limit human-caused damage to our marine ecosystems. Organized by the IDEAS Hub in partnership with Van Oord and the St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory, Eco-design & Technology for Marine Conservation  is a 3 day immersive programme exploring how technology and the use of eco-design in marine engineering can contribute to conservation efforts.  

With marine fisheries dwindling, coral reefs bleaching, the climate changing and sea levels rising, the ocean is gradually losing its ability to provide the benefits that we have come to rely on: food, livelihood, and climate regulation. With these increased pressures on our marine environment, there is a need to step up marine conservation efforts and find solutions to address these problems. This course is geared at exploring how the use of eco-design and innovative technology can be harnessed for the sustainable development of the marine environment.  

The course will be largely based in the IDEAS Hub at UWCSEA Dover campus with a non-residential day trip to the St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory on St John’s Island as well.

Dates: 26 - 28 October 2017
Time: 9.30am to 6pm

Venues: IDEAS Hub at UWCSEA Dover Campus and St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory
Ages: 14-18 years (Grade 8 to 12)
Course Fees: S$450

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Key People

Van Oord

Van Oord is a Dutch-based leading international contractor specialising in dredging, marine engineering and offshore projects (oil,gas and wind). They work closely with their clients to create innovative, sustainable solutions and safe working conditions. Sustainability is a key part of Van Oord’s strategy, decisions and activities to create marine solutions of value.

The growing world population needs more space and the demand for energy is rising constantly. Increasing world trade requires more and better port facilities and climate change is threatening coastal areas. Van Oord provides innovative solutions for these worldwide maritime challenges, both now and in the future.

This course has been made possible through the kind support of Van Oord through the UWCSEA Foundation.


St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory

Under the National Research Infrastructure (NRI) scheme, the St. John’s Island National Marine Laboratory (SJINML), is Singapore’s only offshore marine research facility and is managed by National University of Singapore (NUS).

The marine laboratory is strategically located next to the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, Singapore’s first marine nature reserve. The high quality seawater pumped into aquaria at SJINML provides unique opportunities for high impact research in marine science. Its mission as a NRI is to serve as a national resource and focal point for marine science expertise, supporting marine science research that meets our strategic national needs for the future.

Important Skills and Takeaways

What will Participants Learn?

This is a course focusing on how eco-design, and innovative technology can be helpful in tackling issues related to marine conservation.

Students experiment with current technology used by marine researchers and professionals in the engineering field. They will have opportunities to operate the Emriver model, an interactive stream table; to build their own turbidity and pH meters with the Arduino platform and everyday materials such as plastic bottles; and to use software systems such as OpenEarth, employed in marine and coastal engineering to analyze, visualize and report project and equipment data to reduce environmental risks as a result of their construction projects.

Students will also learn the principles of eco-design and how to exploit natural features for marine engineering purposes, while benefiting project stakeholders, the local economy and minimizing the adverse impact of building on the local landscape and ecosystem.

The students will be taking a day trip to the St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory on St John’s Island to learn more about the challenges faced by the local marine ecosystem, and to conduct experiments around the island using turbidity and pH sensors they would have built earlier in the course.  

The course focuses on a mix of classroom learning as well as group activities, learning-by-doing, outdoor site visits and guest lectures.


What will they get at the end of the course?

  1. A foundational understanding of marine conservation- concepts, challenges and key players
  2. A chance to visit a marine laboratory and get a closer look at its facility and projects, as well as speak to leading specialists in their field of research
  3. Learn about technological innovations in the field of marine conservation,  and engineering
  4. Opportunities to interact with professionals in the field of marine research, oceonography, biology, software and hardware development, business and marine engineering
  5. An understanding of what a career in the exciting field of marine biology and engineering might entail
  6. Learn to use current technologies used by professionals - turbidity and pH sensors, Emriver stream tables, OpenEarth software systems and more.
  7. New friendships and exciting experiences!

Course Schedule

A detailed day-by-day breakdown of the course can be found here.

Location of the Course

The IDEAS Hub at UWCSEA Dover Campus will be the main venue for the course. The IDEAS Hub provides a variety of facilities and specialist areas including collaboration and fabrication zones, a coding and robotics area, two green screen film studios and a non-intrusive presentation space. There is a deliberate policy to start small and be lean and adaptable, in keeping with the UWC ethos.

There will also be a site visits to the St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory, details of which will be provided closer to the date of the course.  

Important Information for Parents

Parents are welcome to drop by and visit their children during the course. They can sit in on the sessions at the IDEAS Hub as observers.

This is a 3 day non-residential course. Please do arrange transport to and from UWCSEA Dover Campus during the duration of the course. Please do arrange for transport back from Marina South Pier on the evening of 27/10.

Fees and Refund Policy

The fee for this course is $450 (inclusive of course equipment, catering, transport to off-site locations and course certificate).

In the event that there are not enough participants for the course, the money for the course will be refunded by October 20.

Other Enquiries

For more information please contact Melanie Tan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To sign up for the course, please Register Here.