In the second year of the SCOR Visiting Scholar Program, 2010, SCOR received a request for a Visiting Scholar to be deployed at the University of Namibia (UNAM). Kurt Hanselmann, an aquatic biologist from Switzerland, applied for a SCOR Visiting Scholar position in the same year. Hanselmann has extensive expertise running science training programs in different parts of the world, including ECODIM in Chile; the MBL Microbial Diversity Courses in Woods Hole, United States; and the GeoBiology Courses in California. His expertise matched the fields of study requested by UNAM, so he was appointed as a SCOR Visiting Scholar. Hanselmann’s first visit occurred for a few weeks in 2010, funded by a grant to SCOR from the U.S. National Science Foundation. He worked mostly at the main campus in Windhoek, but he also taught short practical courses at UNAM’s Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre (SANUMARC) laboratories in Henties Bay and at the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources (MFMR) National Marine Information and Research Center (NatMIRC) facility in Swakopmund. Hanselmann learned about the teaching and research environment in Namibia, and UNAM’s Department for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (D-FAS) requested that he return to UNAM for another period of teaching and mentoring. He was appointed again as a SCOR Visiting Scholar to the University of Namibia in 2011, adapting his teaching techniques based on lessons learned in his 2010 visit. As a result of Hanselmann’s experience in Namibia as a SCOR Visiting Scholar, he submitted a proposed to the Agouron Institute for a series of four annual Research Discovery Camps.
A grant awarded from the Agouron Institute allowed Hanselmann to conduct four international “Research Discovery Camps” between 2014 and 2017 in cooperation with SANUMARC and NatMIRC. These camps were organized within the Regional Graduate Network in Oceanography (RGNO) concept developed by SCOR. These events were designed as a model for part of UNAM’s oceanography postgraduate program. From the beginning, the RGNO Research Discovery Camps attracted students and faculty from Namibia, other countries in Africa, and other parts of the world. Funding to continue the Research Discovery Camps for another four years has been awarded from the Agouron Institute and the Simons Foundation.