The inauguration of the Nansen Tutu Center (NTC) for Marine Environmental Research at the University of Cape Town was in 2010, as a joint venture agreement between founding partners including four South African partners, three Norwegian, and one from the US. Since then, the number of partners has grown to include five additional South African educational and governmental institutions


The vision of the NTC is to serve Africa through advancing knowledge of the marine environment and climate system in the spirit of Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu and Fridtjof Nansen. The overall goal is to improve the capacity to observe, understand and predict marine ecosystem variability on timescales from a few days to decades in support of scientific and societal needs including fisheries coastal management, maritime security, recreation and tourism. Also important is the training of African students to that matter.

Over the past 10 years numerous scientific achievements providing new knowledge about the ocean circulation in the oceans surrounding Africa and the variability of African climate has been realized. This has been accomplished through research collaboration combined with training and supervision of graduate student and postdoctoral fellows. All in all, this capacity building has contributed to 14 graduations of master students, 8 graduations of PhD student and supported 7 postdoctoral fellows. There has been a total of 36 exchange visits from South Africa to Norway and 23 visits from Norway to South Africa.


The Centre has also arranged three summer schools and hosted two international conferences. A total of 75 peer review papers has been published in the course of the 10 years.


We plan to celebrate the 10-year anniversary with a 3-day scientific symposium in Cape Town from 10-12 March 2020. The symposium will be highlighting past achievements and address the future direction for the NTC for the next decade. Students, capacity building and education are at the heart of the NTC activities, it is therefore natural that student take a central role in the symposium program.


Furthermore, we are inviting South African, Norwegian, French and international scientists and experts to give keynote lectures.

The title of the symposium is “Ocean, Weather and Climate; science to the service of society“ . The main focus will be regional marine research, operational oceanography, role of the ocean on climate, weather and marine ecosystem, air-sea interaction, satellite remote sensing and modelling. These aspects will be connected to more overacting themes including the blue economy and sustainable use of the ocean. As we are entering the “United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)” it is natural to highlight how the NTC will contribute to this initiative.


Inauguration symposium December 2010


Nansen Tutu Triatlas CLIVAR summer school 2014


Nansen Tutu board meeting and student presentations 2018