CEI.Mar's Marine Research Laboratory to be housed in the Castle of San Sebastian

Cadiz City Council and the University of Cadiz, coordinator of the Campus of International Excellence of the Sea, have signed an agreement to house the LABIMAR laboratory

The mayor of Cadiz, Teófila Martínez, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cadiz, Eduardo González Mazo, have signed a collaboration agreement whereby the City Council will cede premises located at the Castle of San Sebastian to the UCA, the coordinating institution of the Campus of International Excellence of the Sea (CEI. Mar), to house CEI.Mar»s Marine Research Laboratory (LABIMAR).

The Marine Research Laboratory is «the first purely Campus resource and a key part of CEI.Mar»s scientific infrastructure», the Vice-Chancellor explained. The castle is a historic building, he continued, «a heirloom of our past, part of the architectural and emotional heritage of all Cadiz, and a building that is now destined to become a stronghold for science».

González Mazo added that this agreement also reflected one of the University of Cadiz»s priorities: «to achieve a greater presence in and connection with society, besides the hard work that goes on in our centres, buildings and campuses». It would not have been possible to sign this agreement «without the sensitivity and commitment» of Cadiz City Council.

The mayor explained that the laboratory would be housed here for as long as the Ministry of Environment continued to cede the site to the Council. Teófila Martínez said that she was very satisfied with the agreement, which was further evidence of the city»s support for CEI.Mar and of its efforts to «breathe life» into the city»s heritage, «to open its doors to visitors and assist Cadiz institutions», as well as representing a means to contribute «a significant university and educational element to our cultural life», hand in hand with the UCA.

This decision entails expanding the Castle of San Sebastian»s range of uses, functions and services, mindful of the possibilities that this building offers for use by the scientific community. Under the terms of the agreement, the University of Cadiz is granted free (maintenance, water and electricity) and exclusive use of the premises located at the Castle of San Sebastian; 335 m2 on one floor, divided into three areas.

The City Council has agreed to restore the exterior of the building, the facilities ceded and means of access. «This military construction also has an all-day security guard and caretaker, another added value of these facilities», Martínez commented. Meanwhile, the University of Cadiz will assume responsibility for refurbishing the interior of the facilities and installing all the equipment necessary for research, teaching and the dissemination of marine science. CEI.Mar has received funding for this purpose through a grant for enhancing the Campus of International Excellence awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

The building will also serve as a venue for studies and activities organised by the International Doctoral School of Marine Studies, EIDEMAR, committed to raising awareness about the marine environment among the general public.

Teaching, research and dissemination activities

Three types of priority activities will be carried out at LABIMAR:

Teaching: fieldwork on first and master»s degree courses and doctoral programmes associated with CEI.MAR (Marine Sciences and Environmental Sciences, Oceanography, Conservation and Management of the Environment, Integrated Management of Coastal Areas, Historical and Archaeological Heritage) and EIDEMAR (Marine Science and Technology, Marine Management and Conservation, Maritime Archaeology and History, Marine Resources and Erasmus Mundus Marine and Coastal Management), as well as specialist courses on coastal ecosystems, phycology, malacology and marine ornithology.

Research: use of the laboratory to undertake marine research projects such as studies of the island»s flora and fauna, the rocky platform on which the Castle is built, or variations in sea level.

Dissemination: public access to a permanent exhibition of fixed panels and interactive presentations aimed at informing the general public about the work carried out at EIDEMAR, as well as temporary exhibitions of interest.

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