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Dalhousie's transatlantic program crosses disciplines

PhD students from two sides of the Atlantic Ocean are learning a new language that combines their scientific knowledge with key skills to thrive in the business sector.

New partnership with German University mixes science with business

A group of students from Dalhousie's new transatlantic ocean science PhD program work on their business pitches. (CBC)

PhD students from two sides of the Atlantic Ocean are learning a new language that combines their scientific knowledge with key skills to thrive in the business sector.

The students are part of a new transatlantic program between Dalhousie University and Kiel University in Germany.

It's aimed at teaching the next generation of ocean scientists how to function in a world where research funding is ever more dependent on investment from business.

The partnership stemmed for a recent visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“I see it as a way of learning a different dialect of science,” said PhD student Chris L’Esperance of Halifax. He’s working with technology that allows rescuers to estimate ocean drift when they are trying to find someone who may have fallen overboard.

Jim Hanlen is a specialist in linking universities, government labs and the private sector to raise funds for research. He said understanding how to pitch a business proposition has become key in the science world.

“Storytelling, I think, is absolutely critical in all those worlds. It really is all about creating a compelling storyline,” he said.

Students will spend time both in Germany and in Canada as they master the kind of training they will need to become the next generation of international ocean scientists.

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