Mário Ruivo Memorial Lecture

Mário Ruivo Memorial Lecture

Early Career Ocean Professionals invited to pay tribute to Professor Mário Ruivo through their outstanding projects

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), EurOcean Foundation and Portugal are inviting early career ocean professionals (ECOPs) to apply to the newly launched Mario Ruivo Memorial Lecture Series.

The Memorial Lecture Series pays tribute to the legacy of Professor Mário Ruivo, former Executive Secretary of the IOC-UNESCO, and Portugal’s greatest champion of ocean science and its contribution to sustainable development.

Endorsed by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, this initiative intends to stimulate and recognise ECOPs who are contributing in a substantive way to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda – Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 14, ‘Life below water’, and to the vision and mission of the Ocean Decade.

“Mário, the 5th IOC-UNESCO Executive Secretary, imprinted on the international ocean community his unparalleled professional and ethical drive. His unyielding belief in IOC came from his very early understanding of the key role of ocean science as a source of innovative solutions for societal and planetary challenges.  Mario keeps inspiring me, and he is one of those who I have in mind while repeating the quote that “IOC stands on the shoulders of giants”, said Vladimir Ryabinin, the current 9th Executive Secretary of the IOC-UNESCO.

Professor Mário Ruivo’s inspiring work and lifelong commitment to ocean science and sustainability, and his foundational contributions to the development of the IOC-UNESCO will be honored through the lecture on the winning project that will be given by the distinguished early career ocean professional during the IOC Assembly in June 2023. It will be the first lecture of this new biennial series.

According to EurOcean’s Executive Director, Sérgio Bryton, “Professor Mário Ruivo was ahead of his time and with this initiative, we want to keep his legacy alive and continue to inspire the future generations”.

Empowering the new generations of early career ocean professionals and their projects is key to ensure we can co-design and co-deliver “The ocean we want” in the framework of the Ocean Decade.

Submissions of applications are open to projects developed and led by an ECOP up to 40 years of age before 9 January 2023 (submission deadline), as the principal investigator (PI), or as a co-PI.

More information on how to apply for the Mário Ruivo Memorial Lecture is available here.

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Professor Mário Ruivo

(1927 – 2017) 

An expert in Biological Oceanography, Mário Ruivo was one of the pioneers of marine biology in Portugal. He held high political positions (Secretary of State for Fisheries, Minister for Foreign Affairs – 1974/75), and led the Delegation of Portugal to the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1974-79). Mário Ruivo was the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) from 1980 to 1989, and, later on, the delegate of Portugal to the IOC. His achievements at the IOC reinforced his prestige at the international level. With a deep ethical sense, Mário Ruivo had his eyes set on future generations, and he thereby established a pact of responsibility, which gave him an indefatigable strength to persist and fight for his ideals, without giving up. With the aim of promoting marine science, technology and ocean literacy, he was a crucial element in the creation of the EurOcean Foundation and of its scientific network, of which he was its founder and President.


The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development.

Ocean Decade

Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the ocean health and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated IOC-UNESCO to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.


EurOcean Foundation is an independent, non-profit, scientific organization with the mission to support advances in European marine science and technology, by fostering information exchange, interaction and innovation among its network members, the ocean community and broader society.

Founded in 2002, through the collaboration of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), and the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), EurOcean has a Europe-wide network of 19 organisations dedicated to ocean science and technology.

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