Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor Selina Stead

Professor of Marine Governance and Environmental Science

Background

Prof Selina Stead is Dean, Public Orator and Professor of Marine Governance and Environmental Science at Newcastle University.

Professor Stead is the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor for the Marine Management Organisation. She specialises in international marine science policy with a particular emphasis on fisheries, aquaculture, food security, livelihoods and Marine Protected Areas.

In 2016, Professor Stead received the highest honour from the European Aquaculture Society in which she served as its President and Board Member for 12 years. The Distinguished Service Award recognised her commitment to finding global marine food security solutions for vulnerable coastal communities across the world. She continues to be active in field-based academic work in East Africa and the Indian Ocean, publishing widely on marine ecosystems and human interactions.

Between 2014 and 2016, Professor Stead served as Director of Research and Innovation and led the co-creation of a new research strategy to focus on five key global challenge themes. With senior colleagues she changed a teaching-led culture to a research-led culture. This effort was rewarded in achievement of the highest level of research income and international peer-reviewed papers eligible for the Research Excellence Framework.

As the sole natural scientist in two social science university departments (1996-2004) at Aberdeen University, she was instrumental in its transformation into an interdisciplinary centre promoting boundary crossing research and education. For the first time, she secured accreditation from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for new interdisciplinary degree programmes in marine resource management.

Selina’s interdisciplinary expertise is applied in several senior appointments:

  • Chair and Founder Member of the Scottish Government’s Marine Science Advisory Board (2010-2017);
  • Past President of the European Aquaculture Society (EAS, 2000-2012); 
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) Board Member (2013-2017);
  • North Eastern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority Committee Member and Ministerial Appointed Scientific Fisheries Advisor (2005-2017);
  • Founder Member of the International Council for Exploration of the Sea's (ICES) Socio-Economic Aquaculture Working Group (2012 – ongoing);
  • Invited International Expert for the Global E15Initiative on Oceans, Fisheries and the Trade System for the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum in Geneva.

A marine biologist by training, Professor Stead received a joint Honours BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Bangor University, Wales. She continued studying at Bangor for an MSc in Fisheries Biology and Management. Her PhD in Zoology focused on vertebrate physiology and was awarded by Aberdeen University.

Professor Stead is a dedicated practitioner of Shotokan Karate, keen snorkeller and diver.


University Level Positions

Public Orator (2016 - 2019)

University Promotions Committee (2015 - ongoing)

University Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (2012 - ongoing) won silver, going for gold

University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee (2007 - ongoing)

Recruitment Panel for Pro-Vice-Chancellor (2015)

Leader on Governance, Management and Planning for marineNewcastle (2012 - 2014)


Faculty Level Positions

Dean of Postgraduate Studies (2016 - ongoing)

Chair, Graduate School Committee (2017 - ongoing)

EPSRC CDT Lead and Review Panel Member (2017 - ongoing)

NERC Internal Review Panel Member (2014 - ongoing)

Faculty Research Innovation Committee Member (2014 - 2016)

Institute of Sustainability Research Forum Member (2013 - 2016)

Career Pathway Review Advisers Team Member (2013 - 2016)

Women in Academia Coach and Mentor (2014 - 2016)

Ethics Committee Member (2011 - 2015)


School Level Positions

Director for Research and Innovation (2014 - 2017)

Deputised for Head of School for Marine Science and Technology (2014 – 2017)

Chair of School Research Innovation Committee (2014 - 2017)

Executive Board Member (2013 - 2017)

Founder of Industrial Advisory Board and Member (2014 – 2017)

N8 Food Sustainability Champion (2014 - 2016)

Marine Biology, Ecosystems and Governance Research Group Member (2014 - 2017)

Chair of MSc Exam Board (2004 - 2015)

Postgraduate Research Admissions Tutor (2013 - 2015)

School Athena SWAN Working Group (2014 - 2015)

Dove Laboratory (off campus Facility) Review Committee (2014 - 2015)

Degree Programme Director for MSc Aquaculture, Enterprise and Technology (2008 - 2013)

Degree Programme Co-Director for MSc Tropical Coastal Management (2004 - 2008)


Qualifications

PhD Zoology (1992-1995) University of Aberdeen

MSc Fisheries Biology & Management (1991-1992) University of Wales, Bangor

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology & Oceanography (1988-1991) University of Wales, Bangor


Previous Positions

Director, Marine Resource Management, University of Aberdeen, 1999-2004

Director, Aquaculture & Manager of Finfish Hatchery, University of Aberdeen/SAC, 1996-1999

Postdoc - modelling feeding of fish in multi-species management, Marine Scotland, 1996

Scientific Advisor for elasmobranchs and Diver in TV documentary, ‘Ocean Forest’ 1996


Memberships

CoastNET

European Aquaculture Society

Fisheries Society of the British Isles

Marine Biological Association UK

Scottish Association for Marine Science


Languages

French (Elementary level)


Hobbies

Shotokan Karate, Diving, Snorkelling and Saxophone

Research

As a marine biologist by training, Professor Stead’s research specialises in international sustainable development of seas and oceans. How to balance use of marine resources with conservation goals is core to her work in advising governments on building resilient small islands and coasts worldwide.

Tackling complex global problems such as poverty in coastal areas and marine food insecurity is achieved through combining natural and social science methods. Inspiring good governance processes through interdisciplinary team working is at the heart of her research.

After eight years as a lecturer in two social science departments, she became passionate about interdisciplinary research methods. Her earlier background in statistical modelling of fish behaviour was applied to predict links between peoples’ perceptions, attitudes and likelihood of human behaviour impacting marine ecosystem health. Rule breaking and non-compliance with Marine Protected Areas is of particular research interest.

She has published widely on linking social and economic drivers of human interactions with livelihood dependency on marine resources. Studying the relationship between effective governance and management efficacy is used for developing context-specific and pragmatic policy. Inspiring people to engage in decision-making on underwater problems is approached through visualisation techniques. This is to help find solutions for food security, hunger, nutrition deficiency and poverty. 

Recent research projects focus on:

Marine food security; Coral reef ecosystem resilience; Fisheries governance, management and policy; Piracy and rule-breaking in Marine Protected Areas; Coastal development in East Africa, Oman (open innovation and tourism), Sierra Leone, Somalia and the UK; Sea cucumber biology and aquaculture in South Africa and Tanzania; Seaweed aquaculture in Malaysia; Community based management in Nigeria; Marine governance, resilience and vulnerability of Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, South Pacific, and the western Indian Ocean.

Research questions include:

How can peoples’ perceptions be influenced to change attitudes towards positive human behaviour in marine resource use? What scientific indicators are fit-for-policy to identify management options that work in practice? Can marine protected areas reconcile conservation and food security to increase resilience in coastal communities? How can sea cucumber aquaculture reduce poverty in vulnerable coastal communities dependent on fisheries? Can shark fishing be sustainable? What drives piracy? Can open innovation improve research capacity and support sustainable international development of marine resources?


Awards

The following paper won the National Research Award by the Research Council of Oman (equivalent to RCUK):

Al-Belushi KIA, Stead SM, Burgess JG. 2015. The development of marine biotechnology in Oman: Potential for capacity building through open innovation. Marine Policy, 57, 147-157.

European Aquaculture Society: Distinguished Services Award (2016); Recognition of Service Award (2010).


Current Funding Awards (PI, Principal Investigator; CI, Co-Investigator)

2017 – 2021. EPSRC Doctoral Training Additional Funding. PI. (£1,130,998).

2017 - 2021. NERC IAPETUS Industrial Strategy Studentships. CI. (£231,816).

2016 - 2021. EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. PI. (£3,373,732).

2014 - 2018. NERC IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership CI. (£899,904).

2014 - 2017. Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), CI. BYCatch Assessment and Mitigation in Western Indian Ocean Fisheries (BYCAM), £450,572.


Past Funded Research Projects

2012-2016. Darwin, CI. Responding to fish extirpations in global marine biodiversity epicentre, the Philippines, £294,151.

2012-2016. BBSRC, PI. Impacting food security with sea cucumbers in Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture, £92,173.

2010-2015. European Union, CI. Future of Coral Reefs in a Changing Environment (FORCE),PI on two work packages on governance, involving 18 partners from the Caribbean, Europe, Australia and US, €6.7 million.

2013-2015. ESRC, CI. Interdisciplinary exchanges: natural resource management seminar series. £24,147.

2010-2012. Leverhulme Trust, PI. Poverty eradication through aquaculture - sea-cucumber farming in Tanzania, £300,000.

2012-2014. Defra, CI. Impacts and Threats to biodiversity in the UK COTs, £149,944. 2011-2013. Defra, CI. Methodology for the assessment of priorities for international species conservation (MAPISCo). £136,501.

2011-2012. NERC, CI. Valuing nature network - Interdisciplinary methods to build a socio-ecological decision-making tool to inform marine governance and policy, £47,819.

2009. European Union, CI. The effect of marine reserves on attitudes, perceptions and livelihoods of communities socio-economically dependent on the lagoon fishery in Rodrigues, £81,000.

2009. Cleveland Potash Limited, PI. Impacts of seismic energy on lobster fisheries. £18,000.

2009. Defra, CI. Life Cycle Analysis of a sustainable aquaculture unit. £4,000.

2009. Newcastle University, PI. Reef North East: Socio-economic feasibility study. £5,000.

2004-2008. European Union, CI. Operational evaluation tools for fisheries management options, (EFIMAS). 4,500,000 Euros.

2004-2008. European Union, CI. Coastal Research Policy Integration, COREPOINT, 4,200,000 Euros.

2006-2008. Heritage Lottery Fund, PI. Sustaining our coastal heritage: value of local knowledge, £141,500.

2005-2007. WIOMSA/World Conservation Society/Leverhulme Trust, CI. Effects of coral bleaching on coral reef fish, fisheries and ecosystem services in the Western Indian Ocean, £155,940.

2007. Wetlands International, PI. Strengthening local institutions: gender, sustainable management & rehabilitation of cockle grounds in Ecuador. £9,800.

2006. Natural England, PI. Integrated Coastal Zone Management, NE England. £7,675.

2006. Sir James Knott, PI. Focus groups on identifying local marine knowledge. £5,000.


Post-Doctoral Research Associates and Research Assistants (and current or last known position)

Dr Mohammed Al-Qattan (2016 - now) PDRA in sustainable development of the marine resource economy in Kuwait, Newcastle University.

Pete Chaniotis (2007 - now) – Scientific Officer at Joint Nature Conservation Committee. JNCC.

Dr Andrew Close (2018 - 2021) – PDRA in Marine Interdisciplinary Solutions, Newcastle University.

Dr Johanna Forster (2010 – 2017) – University of East Anglia, Senior Research Associate.

Dr Jenny Hatchard (2008 - now) – PDRA, University of Bristol.

Dr Nwamaka Okeke-Ogbuafor (2017 - ongoing) PDRA in International Fisheries and Coastal Community Development, Newcastle University.

Angelie Peterson (2009 - 2014) – Marine Resource Officer, USA.

Dr Matt Slater (2010 - now) – Head of Aquaculture, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany.

Joanna Stockill (2012 - now) – Marine Planning Development Manager at MMO.


Current PhD Students

Kawther Al-Belushi (2012 - 2017, PT) Marine biotechnology in Oman: potential for capacity building through open innovation. Funded by Sultanate of Oman Government.

Ahmed Al Mahrizi (2016 - 2019) Sustainable coastal development of tourism and planning in Oman. Funded by Sultanate of Oman Government.

Khalid Al-Subhi (2013 - 2017) Small-scale and artisanal fisheries management and governance in Oman. Funded by Sultanate of Oman Government.

Rebecca Korda (2012 - 2018, PT) Inshore fisheries management and governance in England. Self-funded.

Yussuf Salmin (2015 - 2017, MRes) Fisheries bycatch in the western Indian Ocean. Staff MSc by research. WIOMSA funded.

Andrew Temple (2014 - 2018) Shark fisheries management and governance in East Africa. Funded by WIOMSA and Newcastle University.


PhD Graduates (and current or last known position)

Hatim Al-Bisher (2006 - 2009) Developing an integrated maritime policy for Saudi Arabia. Funded by government of Saudi Arabia. Commander in Security Forces in Saudi Arabia.

Mohammed Al-Qattan (2012 - 2016) Piracy in the Gulf. Funded by the Kuwait Government. Senior Naval Officer in Kuwait Navy.

Md. Shaha Ali (1997 - 2001) Effects of salinity and feeding on growth of Nile tilapia. Funded by government of Bangladesh. Senior Scientific Officer at Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute.

Helen Bloomfield (2006 - 2009) Ecology and management of MPAs in Yorkshire. Funded by NERC. PDRA at Liverpool University.

Natalie Bown (2006 - 2009) Coral reef and MPA governance in Honduras. Funded by ESRC and Operation Wallacea. Scientific Officer for Natural England.

Jenny Brack (2006 - 2009) Impact of acoustic noise from offshore windfarms on marine mammals and fish. Funded by UKRC. Lead Environmental Manager at DONG Energy, London.

Annette Breckwoldt (nee Muehlig-Hofmann) (2002 - 2007) Interdisciplinary appraisal of community-based marine resource management of a traditional Fijian fishing ground (qoliqoli). Self-funded. Research Associate, Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Germany.

Alex Caveen (2009 - 2012) A critical examination of the scientific credentials of Marine Protected Areas: sound science or a leap of faith? Funded by NERC and ESRC. Scientific Officer at Seafish, Grimsby.

Tim Daw (2003 - 2007) How fishers’ count: engaging with fishers’ knowledge for fisheries science and management. Funded by NERC and ESRC. Senior Lecturer at University of East Anglia.

Estelle Jones (2010 - 2015) MPA governance in Thailand. Funded by NERC and ESRC. Scientific Officer, Scottish Government.

Margarita Lavides (2005 - 2009) Multi-disciplinary study of reef fisheries depletion in Philippines. Funded by the Haribon Foundation, Philippines. Lecturer at Ateneo University, Philippines.

Steve McKillop (1999 – 2002) Sustainable trout aquaculture. Staff MSc by research. Lead Trainer and Assessor at SkillFish.

Adibi Mohammed Nor (2013 - 2017) Management, governance and optimisation of seaweed production in Malaysia. Funded by the Government of Malaysia. Scientific Officer, Government of Malaysia.

Nwamaka Okeke-Ogbuafor (2012 - 2016) Indigenous governance and community-based organisations in Ogoni communities in Rivers State, Nigeria. Funded by Government of Nigeria. PDRA Newcastle University and Independent Consultant for World Bank.

Georgina Robinson (2012 - 2016) Sea cucumber biology and aquaculture. BBSRC funded. Independent Consultant, Mauritius.

Alex Scott (2014 - 2016) Perceptions of climate change and coral reef health in the UK Caribbean Overseas Territories. MPhil student. Fieldwork funded by Defra and self-funded. Teacher.

Reuben Sulu (2006 - 2010) Social and ecological changes in Solomon Islands reef fisheries. Funded by Government of South Pacific. Lecturer at University of South Pacific.

Rachel Turner (2007 - 2010) Fishers' behaviour in Northumberland lobster fisheries. Funded by NERC and ESRC. Lecturer at Exeter University.


Membership of committees and societies

Chief Scientific Advisor, UK Government’s Marine Management Organisation (2017 – ongoing).

Founder Member and Chair of Scottish Government’s Marine Scotland Science Scientific Advisory Board (2010 - 2017).

Non-Executive Director of Scottish Government’s Marine Scotland Board (2014 - 2017).

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) Advisory Committee Board Member (2013 - 2017).

President of European Aquaculture Society (2006 - 2012) and Board Member of Directors (2000 -2012).

Founder Member of International Council for Exploration of the Sea's (ICES) Socio-Economic Aquaculture Working Group (2012 - ongoing).

Marine Management Organisation (MMO) appointed Member of North Eastern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority (NEIFCA) Committee and Scientific and Governance Working Group (2011 - 2017).

E15 Expert Group Member on Oceans, Fisheries and the Trade System – invited by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum (2014-2015).

Ministerial and Defra Appointed Scientific Fisheries Adviser, North Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee (2005-2011).

Expert Advisor on AquaInnova - strategic research priorities for aquaculture governance, socio-economics and management (2011-2013).

Invited Expert Advisor – First MMO Workshop on Fisheries Management (December 2011).

Invited expert member to International Validation Team for the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology, Bremen, Germany (2013).

Invited Panel member to review future of social sciences at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology, Bremen, Germany (May 2011).


External Examining and external teaching roles

External Examiner for University of Mauritius, MSc Coastal and Ocean Management (2016-2018).

External Examiner for Imperial College, MSc Conservation Science (2012-2015).

External Examiner for DSc, University of Copenhagen.

External Examiner of 11 PhDs for: Imperial College (2) and Universities of Cardiff, East Anglia (2), Galway, Hull, Portsmouth, Southampton, Tasmania and York.

External Examiner of 2 MPhil’s for Universities of Swansea and York.

Internal Examiner for 3 PhD and 1 MPhil candidates.

Invited Lecturer in Environmental Science, University of Mauritius in 2006.

Honorary Lecturer in Zoology, Aberdeen University (1999-2004).


Plenary, keynote and invited talks

Invited speaker: Coral reefs and why people matter. NERC Global Challenges Research Fund workshop - Sustainable Development Goal Interactions: The role of environmental science. London, UK (September 2017).

Invited speaker: Small Islands, Coral Reefs and why people matter. The Banyan Tree, Vabbinfaru, The Maldives (17 August 2017) and Ihuru, The Maldives (19 August 2017).

Keynote conference speaker: ECSA 56 Coastal systems in transition: From a 'natural' to an 'anthropogenically-modified' state. Using marine governance to impact science policy in supporting marine ecosystem health and sustainable livelihoods, Bremen, Germany (September 2016).

Keynote conference speaker: The Ethical Challenges of Herring Food Webs and Value Chains. Multi-level governance frameworks. Vancouver, Canada (May, 2016).

Keynote workshop speaker: Sustainable Fisheries. Governance and interdisciplinary science for integrating fisheries and aquaculture in marine policy. York, UK (February 2016).

Keynote conference speaker: ARCH (Architecture and roadmap to manage multiple pressures on lagoons). Managing unintegrated coasts with multi-level governance, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (June 2015).

Invited speaker: Fish and Fisheries Journal 70th Birthday Symposium. Socialising fisheries: how can we implement policy? Bangor, UK (August 2014).

Keynote conference speaker: Society for Conservation Biology. Role of marine governance in seafood security and ethics. Glasgow, UK (July 2014).

Invited speaker: Sea cucumber aquaculture workshop. Is the sea cucumber an ideal solution for food security and livelihood needs in the Caribbean? Jamaica, (June 2014)

Plenary conference address: EUA-CDE Interdisciplinarity: three perspectives. Developing future interdisciplinarists, Italy (January 2013).

Keynote conference speaker: Community based aquaculture in the Western Indian Ocean: Challenges faced and lessons learned. Socio-economics of community based aquaculture. Zanzibar, Tanzania (December 2013).

Keynote speaker: Integrating science and policy using marine governance principles. EFARO General Assembly, Tallinn, Estonia (May, 2013).

Keynote conference speaker: British Ecological Society, Balancing food security and environmental concerns: challenges of sustainability, UK (December 2012).

Keynote conference speaker: Integrated coastal management and the development of a knowledge-based marine economy, Ningbo, China (September 2012).

Plenary conference address: Marine aquaculture - 21st century challenge for world fishing, Vigo, (September 2009).

Keynote conference speaker: The Changing Nature of Scotland, Scotland, 2009.

Plenary conference address: Marine aquaculture governance, human perceptions, ICZM and socio-economic baselines, Singapore. (2006).

Invited Seminar: Indigenous knowledge in marine science research, Durham University, 2006.

Keynote conference speaker: Integrating social sciences into stakeholder-driven planning: the European experience. Newfoundland, Canada, 2005.

Invited Speaker, Coastal Futures Conf 2005, London, UK, 2005.

Invited Speaker, FAO Conf, Wierzba, Poland, 2004.

Invited Speaker, EU Aquaculture Workshop, Glasgow, UK, 2004.

Invited speaker (Keynote), AE2003 Conf, Trondheim, Norway, 2003.

Invited speaker (Keynote), AE2002 Conf, Trieste, Italy, 2002.

Invited speaker (Keynote), AE2001 Conf, Oostende, Belgium, 2002.


Conference organisation and chairing

Steering Committee Chair. Aquaculture Europe 2016 Conference. Edinburgh, 20-23 September 2016.

Session Chair, AE2016, Edinburgh, 20-23 September 2016.

Session Chair, ECSA56, Bremen, 4-7 September 2016.

Session Chair, Royal Society of Edinburgh Conference on Sustainable Aquaculture, 2009.

Session Chair, AE2009, New Research Frontiers Conference, Trondheim, Norway, 2009.

Session Chair, Fisheries and Aquaculture Conference, World Fishing Exhibition, Vigo, 2009.

Steering Committee Chair, AE2003, Trondheim, Norway, 2003.

Steering and Programme Committee Member, AE2002, Trieste, Italy, 2002.

Programme Co-Chair, AE2001, Trondheim, Norway, 2001.

Programme Co-Chair, Aquaculture & ICZM. Oostende, Belgium, 2001.


Editorships

Editorial Board Member, Journal Aquaculture International (2002-2017).

Editor for Book Series, Springer/Praxis Publishers, 1999-2005.


Evaluation of research grants

Panel member for NERC Fellowships, 2016 and 2017.

Evaluated research grants for BBSRC, ESRC, NERC, Governments of Belgium, Canada, France and USA.

Evaluator for research grants to Finland Research Council, BONUS (2014).

Evaluator for research grants to Swedish Research Council (2013).

Expert Evaluator, European Commission, 2001-2002.


Teaching

Teaching

Chair of MSc Exam Board (2004 – 2015)

Degree Programme Director for MSc Aquaculture, Enterprise and Technology (2008-2013)

Deputy Degree Programme Director for MSc Tropical Coastal Management (2004-2008)

Module leader for MSc MST8024 Marine Ecosystem Governance and Socio-Economic Drivers in Management and Policy.


Lecturer, supervisor and or assessor for the following modules:

BSc MST1104 Marine Study Skills

BSc MST2101 Marine Ecology

BSc MST2104 Marine Research and Employability

BSc MST3101 Advanced Marine Biology

BSc MST3104 Research Project Supervision

BSc MST3105 Research Project Supervision

BSc MST3106 Research Project Supervision

BSc MST3107 Research Project Supervision

MSc MST8011 Critical Appraisal of Coastal Production Systems

MSc MST8023 Marine Consultancy project supervision

MRes MST8025 Marine Ecosystems & Governance project supervision

Publications