Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Sarah K. Meltzoff

Second Committee Member

John McManus

Third Committee Member

Johann Beserrer


Scientists worldwide believe that sustainable resource management must be based on results derived from successful research (Strigl, 2003). Therefore, scientists are constantly engaged in research projects in order to obtain more results and create new knowledge. In this constant pursuit of knowledge, the international scientific community is minimally participating in the development of human capacity, especially when their research is based in low-income countries (LIC) (Strigl, 2003). This research-based agenda benefits scientific societies in developed countries, as they continuously add value to their knowledge-based economy, while the local communities’ education levels remain stagnant. LIC’s needs in education and science are great yet their research infrastructure is poor (OECD, 2012). Thus, research networking becomes essential as it offers the necessary connections to build a collaborative platform from which innovation can start bottom up. The strategy to guiding the knowledge economy is based on innovation. It concerns multiple disciplines and stakeholders, from education and training in the social environment to job creation in the economic environment (OECD, 2012). In 2011, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) proposed an Innovation Strategy based on three years of dialogue and analysis of good practices (OECD, 2012). The strategy emphasise that: (1) education empowers people to innovate; (2) strong scientific research capacity can promote this breach in local innovation; and (3) that the key tool for sharing new knowledge and good practice is networking (OECD, 2012.) The international scientific research community has a responsibility to align their academic research to the educational development of local people. A shift in research agenda is essential for the growth of a global knowledge economy. The objective of my research is to help guide the “seeking” and “building of knowledge” in a manner that empowers local communities with scientific knowledge and builds the human capacity for locally implemented research projects. Based on extensive background research, this thesis proposes an innovative strategy to achieve the research objective and proceeds to implement the strategy for the inclusive development of marine scientific research in the rapidly developing country of Myanmar. Since innovation concerns multiple disciplines, the strategy selected an interdisciplinary field of research known as Social Coastal Ecology. The strategy consists of three phases: (1) Creating a Scientific Research Network; (2) Training and Education for Multidisciplinary Research; and (3) A Field-Based Approach to Integrating Knowledge. The success of this framework is dependent on the individual achievements derived from each phase. Therefore, each phase is essentially connected to one another, and must be conducted in this order. The implementation of the proposed pioneering strategy in Myanmar resulted in a series of accomplishments, which are summarized into three chapters based on the framework’s three phases. This thesis can be used as a guide for global scientists who wish to conduct research while sharing their expertise and knowledge with local people, empowering them with education and leading them to innovation.


Myanmar; Human capacity; marine ecosystems; interdisciplinary science; network knowledge economy; social ecology