Ocean i3 is an interdisciplinary, cross-border and intercultural project aimed at the university community of the Université de Bordeaux and the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU from different undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Its core is the development of an inter-university intensive training itinerary and an employability plan in ‘blue skills’. Both are aimed at promoting employability, entrepreneurship and innovation with high added value for the cross-border employment zone linked to the blue economy.

The community works with a ‘Mission Oriented Research and Innovation’ approach to carry out research-based learning and intervention projects that respond to a common mission: to reduce plastic pollution on the Basque-Aquitaine coastline.

Ocean i3 works as a living lab in which interdisciplinary teams of students and teachers are formed to work on challenges in collaboration with public and private entities from the blue economy sector of the cross-border coastline.

The transdisciplinary community of Ocean i3 contributes to the development of a Civic University committed to territorial issues and a promoter of quality teaching and research at the service of the public good and in terms of sustainability.


The goals of Ocean i3 are to involve the university community together with territorial agents in highly complex Sustainability Education experiences due to their interdisciplinarity, multilingualism (Spanish, French, Basque and English), interculturality and cross-border-international territorial scope.

The project is aimed towards four types of goals:

This first objective is aligned with the UPV/EHU’s IKDi3 model. The training itinerary uses active learning methodologies based on research and oriented towards challenges in such a way that students, in teams: a) jointly define the scope of the problem, b) design collective and interdisciplinary projects, and c) elaborate results agreed with the stakeholders such as action plans, studies, prototypes, interventions, etc. It thus enables transversal competences to be exercised and developed in three dimensions:

a) Learning (Ikaskuntza)

b) Research (Ikerkuntza)

c) Sustainable development (Iraunkortasuna)

The employability plan in blue economy consists of the direct immersion of students in the professional environment through learning based on real challenges and practices.

In a process identified as ‘ongoing blue skills’, the teaching staff and socio-economic agents jointly identify the needs, dynamics and challenges of the sector in order to guide and train in blue skills that the cross-border blue economy is requiring and will require.  

The ‘International Pedagogical Innovation Team’, in addition to tutoring students, is responsible for the methodological design of the Ocean i3 device, the formulation of the learning module and its integration into the Bachelor’s and Master’s curricula. It works on the basis of experimentation and as a learning community with the support of the SAE/HELAZ UPV/EHU Educational Counselling Service.

It consists of developing the extended Ocean i3 multidisciplinary and multi-agent community that collaborates at different stages of the project in order to:

  • identify relevant issues
  • integrate context information
  • offer immersion learning (internships, visits, etc.)
  • contrast, enhance and disseminate results
  • evaluate the educational system
  • identify competences and professional profiles of the blue economy
EDICIONES (2019-20-21)


The Ocean i3 project is developed during the second semester of the academic year. Each student is integrated with his or her individual project that corresponds to a curricular activity of the curriculum of his or her degree (Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, subject work, PHD, or internship). The tutoring faculty proposes that they carry out their work in coordination with the Ocean i3 activities.

  1. Through a call for challenges, the stakeholders propose challenges
  2. Interdisciplinary work teams are formed to define a collective project associated with each challenge
  3. The students (tutored by the teaching team) will orientate part of their individual work and results to contribute to the collective multidisciplinary project
  4. Ocean i3 provides the collaborative and interdisciplinary context by developing 5 cross-border workshops during the academic year. The workshops alternate meetings with the stakeholders (presentation of challenges, contrast of progress, adjustment of the projects and presentation of results)
  5. The teams work asynchronously using innovative digital platforms such as Oktonine, Gather and other applications suitable for collaborative and project work.
  6. At the same time, citizen science activities or awareness-raising days are organised with different groups.


Ocean I3 responds to the object of the mission, which is the ocean, and to the UPV/EHU’s IKD I3 pedagogical model that combines learning –Ikaskuntza-, research –Ikerkuntza-, and sustainability –Iraunkortasuna– (three I’s that come from these concepts in the native language, which is Basque).


It is also aligned with the roadmap of transitions (environmental and social) of the UB’s strategic plan, giving meaning and materialising sustainability in tangible actions.

  • Addressing mainly SDGs 14 (Life Below Water), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and 4 (Quality Education), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and indirectly 13 (Climate Action) of the 2030 Agenda.
  • Introducing transformative learning approaches for the university environment,
  • developing competences, knowledge and promoting mindsets that embrace complexity and rely on collaboration as the main keys to contribute to the challenges and transformations required for sustainable development and the 21st century society.
  • Promoting interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity to understand problems in a transversal and integrated way and promote action-intervention research to produce relevant learning and align perspectives and capacities of all stakeholders in the cross-border territory (university and non-university, public and private).
  • Its mission-oriented approach allows for the integration of broad thematic agendas and the alignment of approaches and efforts to promote 'capacity to act' at the territorial level.


The inter-university itinerary in blue competences and employability is aligned with a commitment to mobilise the capacities of both universities in close collaboration with stakeholders to contribute to the development of the blue economy of the cross-border coast and with a projection to the Atlantic Arc as a basin of opportunities in training, research to promote employability oriented towards sustainability and with high value in knowledge.
The blue economy is taking shape worldwide as an area of opportunities for growth and sustainable competitiveness. The Basque Country and New Aquitaine share 896 km of coastline and a rich and diverse set of traditional and emerging activities that nurture a socio-economic dynamic with very high potential to make the cross-border blue economy a key element of Euroregional cooperation.
Numerous projects and initiatives are already underway in the territory, as well as strategies at regional level such as Croissance Bleue for New Aquitaine, and at European level such as the Atlantic Strategy Plan. All of them mark promising horizons and require coordinated commitments.