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Sustainable Aquaculture, ExcelAQUA:
Norway-Japan Partnership  

ExcelAQUA aims to develop a robust world-class collaborative platform for excellent research and education between key partners in NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster and Japanese partners in the topic Sustainable Aquaculture and Integrative Fish Biology.

ExcelAQUA builds on a successful and highly productive collaboration between researchers at UiB (BIO) and UNI with Japan for more than 20 years. Japan has a strong tradition in marine research and is a world leader in several areas related to aquaculture and fish biological research such as complete culture protocols of Bluefin tuna and Japanese eel. The research includes a variety of biological disciplines including central themes that are key challenges in Norwegian Aquaculture. Establishment of long-term collaborations with the selected research and educational institutions will therefore provide an excellent venue for marine research in both Norway and Japan to stay in the forefront of the biological disciplines targeted in the proposed ExcelAQUA platform.

Permits mobiliy of students, young scientists and experienced researchers 
The Norwegian and Japanese ExcelAQUA consortium have a very strong competence in key aspects of fish biology and aquaculture research, from molecular mechanisms to whole animal performance and welfare to the development of innovative culture strategies. The Japanese partners have been selected based on their proven excellence in research as well as their interest and capacity to build an educational framework between Norway and Japan that permits mobility of students, young scientists and experienced researchers in order to build a world-class centre for research and education in sustainable aquaculture. Moreover, the research topics of the Japanese partners complement each other and allow an integrative approach that strengthens long-term collaborations.

Two Norwegian Centres of Excellence enrolled
The Norwegian partners build their excellence by integrating research and education through two ongoing Norwegian Centers of Excellence: 1) a Research driven Innovation Centre for Closed-containment Aquaculture (CtrlAQUA) and 2) Center of Excellence in Biology Education (bioCEED). Several of the industry partners in CtrlAQUA are also partners in the Bergen Marine Cluster, which has CtrlAQUA and bioCEED as a part of their relational prerequisites. Furthermore, we engage our Japanese partners in the new Center for Sustainable Aquaculture, which is a consolidation of researchers at Uni Environment and Department of Biology. This provides an important interactive platform for transfer of knowledge that will aid in developing and accessing innovative and sustainable solutions for aquaculture.

All ExcelAQUA partners are involved in teaching and supervision at all levels in fish biology and physiology. ExcelAQUA will establish and run institutionalized joint courses, seminars and educational programs that will support and facilitate mobility of students and researchers during the project period. We aim to build an exciting, innovative and stimulating intellectual and world-class milieu for students, scientists and visitors alike.  The main deliverable of an established ExcelAQUA platform will be production of high quality candidates, thesis and research papers resulting from research-based education. Of key importance will be dissemination to the Seafood Innovation Cluster and the aquaculture industry through popular science papers and presentation at seminars and meetings.

Specific research areas
The research collaboration targets fundamental questions in science and also has a huge current international research focus and impact. e.g. neuroscience and the gut brain interactions. Specifically, WP1 will work towards describing some of the key signalling factors involved in appetite control, feed uptake and digestion. WP2 target to research on environmental factors that impact stress, growth, homeostasis and fish welfare in aquaculture production.

These basic research questions is also closely linked to some of the key challenges in the aquaculture industry in Norway- novel feed ingredients, increasing growth while reducing feed waste, production of robust smolts and post-smolts. We will therefor make links to some of the key commercial partners in the Seafood Innovation Cluster to secure efficient dissemination of the research activity and results.


Partner institution

Project manager

University of Bergen, Department of Biology

Prof. Ivar Rønnestad


Dr. Tom Ole Nilsen

UNI-Environment, Department of Biology   

Dr. Lars Ebbesson


International partner institution

Project manager

Nagoya University, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Laboratory of Fish Biology

Prof. Naoyuki Yamamoto

Fisheries Research Agency, National Research Institute of Aquaculture,  Aquaculture Systems Division               

Dr. Koji Murashita

Hokkaido University, Faculty of Fisheries Sciences    

St. Marianna University, School of Medicine

Prof. Munetaka Shimizu

Associate prof. Junya Hiroi

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