Launching a Blue Economy

The Launching a Blue Economy project has placed UOW and Global Challenges at the forefront of global research in the field of Blue Economies. This project’s aims are to use innovative, integrated and cross-sectoral research to promote a sustainable development model to maximise the social, environmental, and economic benefits derived from the oceans. The Global Challenges Blue Economy research agenda has been growing since 2016 from an initial seed grant. This has since resulted in a number of additional research projects. Three ‘sub-projects’ currently fall under the Blue Economy umbrella.


Laying the foundations for a southern NSW Blue Economy

This is the largest of the active Blue Economy projects being undertaken in UOW. Now in the second stage of the study, the project is designed to put previously identified strategies into practice by working with more organisations and assessing what blue economy base exists in the region, what areas the region are excelling in, what the challenges are, where opportunities exists, and where the region has a competitive advantage.

This project aims to ‘take stock’ of the existing state of play in relation to Blue Economy opportunities focusing on five key areas: ocean accounts, spatial mapping, social and cultural values, the governing system and innovation. This project is listed as a pilot project for a United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), in their exploration of ocean accounting methodologies.

By exploring the concept of blue economies and creating an optimised example here on the South Coast of NSW the Global Challenges research aims to change the way the world uses its oceans to improve the lives of those dependent on it.

On World Oceans Day of 2019 the team launched an interactive online story mapping tool to engage communitiesand encourage them to have their say on what will make a sustainable and successful Blue Economy.




The team

Principal Investigator: Dr Michelle Voyer

Ocean accounts

Spactial mapping

Social and cultural values

Governing system



Sun, sand, sea and sustainability (S4): developing a sustainable tourist community classification methodology

In partnership with Shoalhaven City Council, this project is specifically focused on addressing the challenges of strategic planning in relation to sustainable marine tourism. The aim of this research project is:

  • To develop a methodology which classifies communities according to a range of characteristics which will constrain or enhance sustainability objectives, such as population size, visitation levels and infrastructure availability.
  • To assess the vulnerability of destinations to pressures which will impact the sustainability of these communities, and their associated tourism growth.

This system of classification will be trialled in the Shoalhaven City Council (SCC) area, and will ultimately assist SCC to tailor tourism planning, marketing and service provision to meet the needs of different ‘types’ of coastal communities.

The team


Transmedia narratives: the southern NSW blue economy

This project is exploring narratives and visual representations of a Blue Economy’. It aims to use transmedia mapping to:

  • draw connections between human engagements with the south coast and the stories, systems, and practices that shape human‐(ocean) relations locally.
  • seek a nuanced understanding of the ways cultural expression such as art and writing not only represents the ocean, but also creates community, defines public and private space, and helps shape the rhetoric and decision making involving the ocean’s stewardship.
  • contextualize scientific and policy analysis by including the historical, humanistic, social, emotional, and cultural dimensions that inflect and affect them.

The team


This project is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth   Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.   Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production   Goal 14: Life Below Water   Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals