Kathryn Stack, former Managing Director of Europche - the representative body for fishermen in the European Union and seven-year policy veteran of the European Parliament - has been awarded a 2017 Nuffield International Farming Scholarship.
Following a rigorous application process, Ms. Stack has been chosen from a field of quality applicants as the successful candidate for a scholarship, enabling her to travel overseas to broaden her knowledge and professional network.
She will undertake 16-weeks of research to determine how fisheries policy is influenced across various countries, with emphasis on the role of industry associations.
She will focus on an analysis of the roles played by the different fishing associations, the powerful role of the environmental lobby, how a more rigid EU policy compares to other nations, and how all of this compares to other primary production sectors.
She views this opportunity as very timely.
"My research will be taking place against the backdrop of an unprecedented structural change in fisheries policy following Brexit; which will provide a unique opportunity for British fisheries to shape their own policy; offering an appropriate case study", says Kathryn.
"Unlike other fishing nations, the very nature of the EU system means we have a common, harmonised fisheries policy, yet paradoxically, a fragmented and sovereign approach to foreign relations."
"The findings of my study would change the sector's current approach to engaging with decision-making bodies and boost engagement with foreign counterparts" she says.
Kathryn's scholarship is being funded by the Atlantis Fisheries Consulting Group and the Nuffield International Foundation Fund.
Jim Geltch, Chief Executive Officer of Nuffield International, says the selectors were very impressed with Kathryn's motivation to learn more and subsequent longer-term drive for change in the fisheries sector.
"Kathryn's background and knowledge of European fisheries, EU policy-making and fisheries management are great assets,", he said.
"Capturing and selecting Scholars from the fisheries industry is an ongoing commitment of Nuffield as it has historically proved highly successful in bringing new technologies, production methods, leadership and policy change to the sector."
"Leadership is at the heart of the Nuffield program and we know Kathryn will carry out the research diligently, provide real benefits for the sector and be an excellent ambassador for fisheries outside Europe", he says.
A Nuffield Farming Scholarship provides a unique opportunity for individuals to travel overseas on a research scholarship relating to agriculture or fisheries, and it is the leading agricultural scholarship program worldwide.
Ms. Stack will commence her Nuffield Scholarship in 2017, attending the seven-day, intensive Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference (CSC), which will take place in Brazil in March.
Following the CSC, she will embark on a Global Focus Program (GFP), a six/seven-week intensive program of travel for groups of ten fellow Nuffield Scholars of diverse nationalities and agricultural professions.
The GFP provides insight into farming policy and practice in the six or seven countries visited by the group, and is considered by Nuffield International to provide a valuable experience in the personal development of the Scholars.
On completion of the GFP, Ms. Stack will travel on her own eight/nine-week program focusing on her chosen topic, which will be followed by the dissemination of the research findings to her industry.
"I truly believe that my findings could form the basis of a real and honest debate into how the EU fishing sector engages with decision-making bodies, and what lessons can be learned from elsewhere", Kathryn says.
"Nuffield and this scholarship has the potential to radically change not only my work but the European industry as a whole as it will allow me to connect the different approaches and strategies used by other nations to the European system"
For her research, Kathryn will visit British Colombia, New Zealand, the USA, Norway, Iceland and Australia.