Semester 4

Semester 4 of the EMJMD ACES+ is dedicated to an industry-based research project.  We work closely with the aquaculture industry throughout Europe and internationally, and we currently have over 25 companies working with us to provide dissertation placements.

Crucially, students will be responsible for generating their own research topics so that they can match these as closely as possible with their career goals and professional interests.  Students will be divided equally (or as close as possible) between all the partner universities (i.e. SAMS-UHI, the Universities of Crete, Nantes or Radboud University), based on their choice of topic and availability of staff with the relevant research expertise.  A 3-4 month dissertation will help students to investigate and evaluate a chosen aspect of the aquaculture industry.  All projects will be presented at the Student Conference which is held during July of each year.

MODULE 10: Dissertation (30 ECTS)

Module Leader: Professor Elizabeth Cottier-Cook

The dissertation represents the culmination and demonstration of students’ learning.  Students will gain experience of undertaking a sustained, rigorous and independent investigation of some aspect of the aquaculture industry, whether it is specifically involved with the culture of a particular species, or with a wider environmental or societal aspect of this industry.
The dissertation must consist of original work. It should be informed by the theoretical and practical knowledge, and expertise which the participant has developed through other modules and/or previous experience in this field. It should focus on a theme, topic or problem which is relevant to the aquaculture industry. The resulting dissertation should not only present and interpret the research findings, but should also evaluate the research design and methodology employed. It should also identify the outcomes of the research in terms of actual or planned developments and changes.
Indicative content includes:
Development Phase:
  • Identify a topic, theme or problem for investigation and provide a rationale for its selection;
  • Identify a series of specific research questions and objectives for the proposed investigation;
  • Formulate a research design appropriate to the problem or topic identified, which identifies the methods to be used and explains why they have been selected; highlights any potential constraints or likely problems, and sets out a feasible plan of work or timetable;
  • Negotiate the research proposal with the supervisor.

Research and Writing Phase:

  • Collect data in a systematic and rigorous way using the chosen research methods in appropriate and ethically sound ways;
  • Analyse and interpret data in the light of the research questions and hypotheses identified in the rationale; and in the light of any additional research issues and questions which have emerged during the course of the investigation;
  • Critically evaluate the research design and methodology employed;
  • Produce an abstract, a bibliography and a dissertation on the investigation.
Teaching methods Individual and group supervision meetings; 3-4 months fieldwork placement; group seminars during fieldwork
Assessment Written report (15,000 words max), plus 10 min oral presentation at Annual Student conference (100%)