Citation Eleftheriou M, Reuver M, Bostock J, Sorgeloos P & Dhont J (2015) AQUA-TNET thematic network: an 18-year chronicle of development and achievement in European aquaculture education. Aquaculture International, 23 (3), pp. 703-713. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10499-014-9857-4
Abstract The long-running higher education network AQUA-TNET, a tightly-knit collaboration of university departments, research institutes and other stakeholders from the aquaculture industry, was established in 1996 by AQUATT, a coordinating partner in the SOCRATES-ERASMUS Thematic Network DEMETER led by ICA (Association for European Life Sciences Universities). Later AQUA-TNET activities continued under the umbrella organisation, the AFANET Thematic Network. Previous work on accreditation in European aquaculture courses carried out by AQUA-TNET's first coordinator, the UETP (Irish University Enterprise Training Partnership) AQUATT enabled the fledging network of 15 partners to publish details of aquaculture courses in all its 15 member countries and to focus on issues soon to be raised as part of the emergent Bologna Process (1999). AQUA-TNET's ground-breaking work in educational reforms led to its steady expansion, with the result that in 2005 it was established as a stand-alone ERASMUS Thematic Network. Its achievements from 2005 to 2011 under the coordination of Ghent University (Belgium) and from 2011 to 2014 by the University of Stirling (UK), demonstrate the incremental impact of AQUA-TNET's long-term activities. AQUA-TNET played a leading co-operative role between higher education institutions, further education providers, research institutions and industry, defining and developing a high-quality European dimension within its academic disciplines. Activities included contributions to Bologna priorities such as student and staff mobility (M.Sc. and Ph.D. online portals detailing all members' courses); development of innovative M.Sc., Ph.D., HE/VET and LLL programmes; organisation of hands-on workshops on new technologies (e-learning, ICT); identification of flexible pathways for life-long learners (EQF and ECVET); developing diversified language learning for HE; excellent online forum (www.aquatnet.com) disseminating comprehensive information to all stakeholders, including industry.
Keywords Aquaculture stakeholder fora; AQUA-TNET education portal; ICT hands-on
workshops; Language learning; Mutual accreditation in aquatic sciences; Student mobility for aquaculture