Jörn Schmidt is Senior research scientist currently working in the realm of social-ecological systems and concepts of sustainability in the ocean in the Environmental, Resource and Ecological Economics at Kiel Marine Science , Kiel University, Germany.
My very first involvement was in 2001. I attended the second ICES Hydrobiological Variability symposium held in Edinburgh. It was already quite an experience having traveled with Christian Möllmann, Fritz Köster, and Hans-Harald Hinrichs from the then Institute of Marine Research (IFM) in Kiel. Despite the meeting being relatively small - 155 participants - I met a lot of people, many of whom have influenced my career, such as Jürgen Alheit, Franciscus Colijn, and others.
I slowly became engaged with other groups. Perhaps the herring assessment group has been the most influential one for me, as it brought me in touch with stock assessment, advice, and management questions. This probably led to my decision to move to the department of economics of Kiel University in 2009, as I was sure that advice should be more than biology and should at least include economic considerations, as we manage people, not fish.
I have played many different roles within ICES, starting with my very first workshop in 2004, the ICES/PICES/Globec Image Analysis Workshop in San Sebastian, Spain. Since then, I have been involved with many groups, including the Zooplankton Ecology Working Group (WGZE), the Herring Assessment Working Group (HAWG) and many, many more (on every aspect of integrated ecosystem assessments, integrating social and economic sciences, stock assessment, fisheries management, ecosystem overviews, marine systems, etc.)
I chaired my first ICES workshop on Introducing Coupled Ecological-Economic Modelling and Risk Assessment into Management Tools (WKIMM) in 2010. At the time, the social sciences were not a common feature of ICES work and this was my first step towards including them.
In 2011, the UN invited ICES as an observer to the first cycle of the World Ocean Assessment meetings and I had the pleasure to serve as ICES representative until 2014. In 2012, I joined the Science Committee (SCICOM) as German representative and also joined the Publications Committee. From 2014–2016, I co-chaired the Benchmark Steering Group and in 2015, I helped establish the Strategic Initiative on the Human Dimension and will serve as chair until end of this year.
Certainly, one of my ICES highlights was attending the UN Ocean Conference in 2017 where I had the opportunity to deliver a 3-minute statement at an official partnership meeting on fisheries.
In addition to expert group work, I often propose theme sessions for the ASCs or other ICES and ICES/PICES symposia as I am curious to see what science is being done in the area of socio-ecological systems research and the integration of social and natural sciences. A major driver for me is often to bring more social sciences into these conferences.
ICES has certainly been very influential on my career. My engagement was first driven by the chance to meet people, working on the same topics as myself (zooplankton, fish larvae, herring), but very quickly brought me in contact with other fields and world views that sparked my interest and led me to choose a different path than a straight scientific career. The influence of many people in the ICES network, which I certainly would not have met otherwise, has always been a huge inspiration and a huge challenge. I know it might sound a bit corny, but it is certainly true.
ICES is a large network and this in itself simplifies growing one's professional network! But it goes far beyond that. Being a member of ICES community will help you to grow scientifically, meet future collaborators, and provide opportunities to take part in new projects. You will grow personally, learn to take responsibilities, and become engaged. Finally, collaborating with ICES helps in shaping science, being strategic, and achieving goals.
All this is important for your career, so start engaging!
Jörn Schmidt is Postdoctoral Fellow currently working in the realm of social-ecological systems and concepts of sustainability in the ocean in the Environmental, Resource and Ecological Economics at Kiel University, Germany.