International Project Office

The International Project Office (IPO) serves as the secretariat for Future Earth Coasts (FEC) and administers the project on a day-to-day basis. The IPO is responsible for assisting the Executive Committee (ExCom) in all aspects of its work and liaising with key stakeholders at regional, national and local levels. The office collates and communicates information related to national and international FEC research, as well as serving as a channel of communication on coastal aspects of global environmental change.

The IPO operates a distributed structure to ensure broader geographical representation and global diversity in the running of Future Earth Coasts. The central IPO office is located at ZMT, Germany with additional branches located in the USA, Australia and China. We also have Regional Engagement Partners (REP) located in the United States (Louisiana); Latin and South America (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Caribbean (Trinidad & Tobago), Canada (Newfoundland and covering the Arctic region), Europe (Algarve, Portugal), East Asia (Yantai, China), and South East Asia (Taiwan). Read more about our REP here.

Who's who in the IPO

Sebastian Ferse

International Project Office Germany

Sebastian leads the IPO at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany. His work addresses the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in coral reefs as well as human usages of coral reef resources. Using an approach that combines assessments of both taxonomic and functional diversity in reef systems, he aims for a better understanding of the impacts of both natural and anthropogenic changes in coral reefs. In examining coastal livelihoods, institutions and mariculture techniques, he is trying to gather insights into options for sustainable resources uses and into strategies for the development, implementation and improvement of these uses.

Hannah Jansen

International Project Office Germany

Hannah works as a project coordinator in the International Project Office lead hub at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany. She has a background of international management and sustainability management and worked as a consultant and project manager in the local climate protection agency. In the IPO at ZMT she is responsible for outreach, community management, content management and administration.

Anja Scheffers

International Project Office Australia

During her studies of Physical Geography and by a series of accidental turns Anja became fascinated to investigate how coastal environments have changed in the past. She is particularly interested in processes that shape and modify coastal landscapes over a variety of length and time scales and the coupling and feedback between such processes, their rates, and their relative roles, especially in the contexts of variation in climatic and tectonic influences and in light of changes due to human impact. Since 2015, Anja is a professor in the School of Environment, Science & Engineering at Southern Cross University, Australia and since 2015 Director of Southern Cross GeoScience, a multidisciplinary research centre that broadens our knowledge and understanding of ancient and contemporary geo-environmental systems. Anja is Executive member of the international program “Future Earth Coasts (FEC).

Kai Schulz, IPO Australia

Kai Schulz

International Project Office Australia

Kai Schulz is an Associate Professor with the School of Environment, Science and Engineering at Southern Cross University and interested in understanding potential impacts of ocean change on biogeochemical element cycling and feedbacks to Earth’s climate system. Lately he also became interested in assessing potential benefits and risks of proposed climate change mitigation approaches, which could also be used for marine ecosystem restoration. For that purpose he combines experimental, as well as local and global observational datasets with conceptual and numerical modelling.

Yongming Luo

International Project Office China

Prof. Dr. Yongming Luo is the Co-Director of the International Project Office (China) at Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (YICCAS). He is also an Executive Committee Member of Future Earth Coasts (FEC) and the Director of the East Asia Regional Engagement Partner of FEC. He is the former General Director of YICCAS and now the director of the Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, CAS. His research interests focus on coastal and mega-delta environmental processes under human activity and climate change, coastal biogeochemistry and remediation, as well as coastal sustainable management. He also serves among others as a Chairman of Coastal Science and Engineering Branch, Chinese Association of Ocean Engineering, a China Committee Member of North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), and the Vice Chairman and Secretariat of the China Future Ocean Alliance.

Chen Tu

International Project Office China

Chen works as a scientific officer in the International Project Office (China) at Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (YICCAS) in Yantai, China. His research mainly focuses on the coastal environmental pollution and bioremediation, with a specific interest in (1) speciation, bioavailability and biogeochemical immobilization of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, As); (2) bioremediation of persistent organic pollutants (PCBs, organoarsenic, etc.) using biodegradation and phytoremediation; (3) microplastics and their associated biofilms in the coastal environment.

Jing Chen

International Project Office China

Jing is a professor of State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research (SKLEC), East China Normal University, China. Her research interest focuses on geomorphology of river and estuary, sediment tracing, environment evolution of deltas and coastal zones during geological time, local response to global change, human impacts on river hydrology, as well as interaction between land and sea. Technical means of analysis includes sedimentology, micropaleontology, geochemistry and mineralogy.

Xiuzhen Li

International Project Office China

Xiuzhen is a professor of Ecology in the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. She obtained her Ph.D from Wageningen UR, the Netherlands. Her research interests include evolution, functioning and restoration of coastal wetlands. She serves as associate editor for Ocean and Coastal Management, and as editorial board member for Ecological Engineering, Wetlands Ecology and Management, and several other journals. She is also an active member of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS), and International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE).

Heath Kelsey, IPO USA (UMCES IAN)

Heath Kelsey

International Project Office USA

Heath Kelsey is Director of the Integration and Application Network (IAN) at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Kelsey has developed more than 20 ecosystem health report cards for coastal and riverine ecosystems worldwide. Dr. Kelsey has expertise in meaningful stakeholder engagement for ecosystem research, restoration, and planning to help communities identify a shared vision for their ecosystem. His specialties include science communication, environmental and public health assessment, ecosystem health indicators, and stakeholder engagement. Dr. Kelsey received his MSPH and PhD from The University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health in 2000 and 2006. Dr. Kelsey was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea from 1995-1998.

Huizi Yang

International Project Office China

Huizi works as the project coordinator for the International Project Office at the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai. She graduated from University of New South Wales, Sydney and has a background of environmental engineering. In the IPO at China, she is responsible for administration, social media operations and assisting the director in project management. 

Robert Weiss

International Project Office USA

Robert Weiss is an Earth scientist whose research is in the intersect of Geoscience, Engineering, and Applied Mathematics to study the impact of coastal hazards. He has more than 15 years of experience developing and coupling numerical tools to quantitatively study the tsunami-wave propagation and impact, tsunami sediment transport, and how sea-level rise alters the future tsunami hazards. Robert is a Professor of Natural Hazard in the Department of Geoscience at Virginia Tech, the director of a graduate education program in disaster resilience and risk management (DRRMVT), the lead of the Virginia Tech’s International Program Office of the Future Earth Coasts program, and the co-lead of Coastal@VT a faculty-led, university-wide initiative to build research and education capacities in coastal-zone research.

Sharon Stacy

International Project Office USA

Sharon works as the project coordinator for the International Project Office at the Center for Coastal Studies at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. She is also the project coordinator for the Disaster Resilience and Risk Management graduate education program. She has a background of project management, graphic design and community development. In the IPO she is responsible for operations and administration.

Our host institutions:

Future Earth Coasts’ head office is hosted by the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany.

In research and education the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen is dedicated to the better understanding of tropical coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, sea grasses, coral reefs, estuaries and upwelling systems. As an interdisciplinary Leibniz institute the ZMT conducts research on the structure and functioning of tropical coastal ecosystems and their reaction to natural changes and human interactions. It aims to provide a scientific basis for the protection and sustainable use of these ecosystems. The ZMT works in close cooperation with partners in the tropics, where it supports capacity building and the development of infrastructures in the area of sustainable coastal zone management. The ZMT is a member of the Leibniz Association.

Read more about ZMT here.

The State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University (SKLEC, ECNU) in Shanghai, China is one of the two institutes that jointly host the IPO branch in China.

Presently, SKLEC employs more than 100 fulltime faculty and staff members. There are three main research streams of SKLEC: Estuarine Evolution and Estuarine Sediment Dynamics; Coastal Dynamic Geomorphology and Sediment Process; Estuarine and Coastal Ecology and Environment. Achievements of the laboratory were used to solve problems encountered in coastal development of China, especially many large engineering projects, such as national survey on coastal resources, construction for harbors and ports, navigation channel regulations projection of coastal wetlands and engineering structures. SKLEC has become a national site for high level research on estuarine and coastal environment and a high level training base in China.

Read more about SKLEC here.

The Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (YIC-CAS) is one of the two institutes that jointly host the IPO branch in China.

The institute was founded in 2006 and was officially established on December 1, 2009. It is the only national research institution specializing in comprehensive research on coastal zones, which is located in the beautiful coastal city of Yantai in Shandong Province. It was jointly established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shandong Province and Yantai City.

Read more about YIC-CAS here.

Our IPO in Australia is hosted by Southern Cross University, located on Australia’s east coast.

Southern Cross University (SCU) is a multi-campus university on Australia’s east coast. We are proud of our reputation as a progressive institution, engaging with the regions we serve to create change that has impact around the world. Our identity is defined by our vision to be Australia’s Engaged University – with a proud Indigenous and international heritage that embraces the wider world and has an unwavering commitment to justice: social, environmental and Indigenous.

Read more about SCU here.

Virginia Tech is one of the two institutes that host an IPO in the United States of America.

Virginia Tech (VT) is a land-grant university located in Blacksburg, Virginia (USA) with campuses and facilities around the globe. We are home to nine colleges and graduate schools and host 110 bachelor’s degree programs, 170 master’s and doctoral degree programs and a corporate research center. We implement our motto, “Ut Prosim,” (That I May Serve) in all of our initiatives. By working to improve local communities and by addressing global problems, Virginia Tech’s contributions are felt by people across the world.   

Read more about VT here.

The Integration and Application Network (IAN) at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) hosts one of the two IPO in the United States of America.

“Harnessing the power of science to transform the way society understands and manages the environment” – A globally eminent research and graduate institution focused on advancing scientific knowledge of the environment, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science provides sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment and prepares future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

Read more about UMCES IAN here.