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Discover meaningful ways to get involved and contribute to marine conservation. Dive into marine conservation through our Divemaster Internship, where you can gain hands-on experience. Explore Research Fellowships and work closely with experts on critical projects for a deeper commitment. Organisations passionate about ocean preservation can partner with us, amplifying our impact. Your support is crucial; consider making a donation to sustain our research and community initiatives.

Join us in safeguarding the Indo-Pacific’s marine ecosystems – your involvement makes a difference.

Research Fellowship

Thinking of conducting your independent research in Indonesia?

Indo Ocean offers support for independent research at the undergraduate and graduate levels, from proposal to publication. As you conduct your independent research at one of our three locations in Indonesia, our team of mentors will be able to help you with the logistics, planning, translation, and permits needed.

Before starting your study, you must seek a permit under Indonesian law to conduct research with the goal of publication. The language of submission for this application is Bahasa Indonesia. When done alone, this can be a protracted and difficult process, but Indo Ocean Project handles the translation and permission processing.

 Read on to learn more about collaborating with Indo Ocean for your independent research projects.

Read fellowship guide

Avoiding “Parachute Science”

Parachute science’ (also referred to as “colonial science”) is a term describing how researchers sometimes drop down from an ivory tower in the wealthy Western world into a foreign community for field work. They gather their data, and then zip off home without engaging with or acknowledging the contributions of the local researchers in that community

Science Friday


It is Indo Ocean Project’s policy that before you can be a good research diver you must first be a good diver. For our in-water fellowship topics, you must have a minimum of Advanced Open Water certification and 50+ logged dives.

Consider combining your Fellowship with our award-winning Divemaster and Research Diver internship!

Learn more…


Project Locations

  1. Nusa Penida (Bali) – Opened 2017
  2. Tanjung Bira (South Sulawesi) – Opened 2019
  3. Raja Ampat (West Papua) – Opened 2022

Our head office and research facility are based in Nusa Penida, Bali. You can conduct your field work at any of our three locations and use the space for in-country analysis.

Disicplines Available

We can host a variety of different topics of interest and are open to exploring proposals depending on the researcher’s interests and degree requirements.

  • Marine ecology
  • Marine molecular biology
  • Marine policy and management
  • Marine conservation biology
  • Statistical analysis
  • Other (please contact to request)


Conducting your independent research with Indo Ocean allows you to have access to local experts while planning and executing your field work.

  • Indonesian research and publication permit and translation English to Bahasa Indonesian
  • On-site mentor scientist providing support from application to publication
  • Collaboration and feedback in the authoring and editing stage
  • In-depth knowledge of areas logistics to develop an achievable research plan
  • One-on-one planning sessions with a mentor
  • Pre-arrival and VISA support
  • Guided proposal and application process
  • Assisting in building and managing realistic budgets and timelines with local considerations
  • Access to our ecological baseline data sets for supportive analysis
  • Accommodation, in-country travel, meals (if working remotely), and logistical organisation
  • Access to scientific and dive equipment rental
  • Research assistant (dive buddies)

Available Data Sets

Gain access to Indo Ocean Project’s catalogue of ecological monitoring and ongoing baseline data sets as supportive or statistical analysis for your independent project:

  • Roving Survey Data – data available from 2018 in Penida, 2019 in Bira, and 2022 in Raja Ampat
  • Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) Data – data available from 2018 in Penida, 2019 in Bira, and 2022 in Raja Ampat
  • UNITE Citizen Science Data – Data available from 2018 in Penida, 2019 in Bira, and 2022 in Raja Ampat
  • CoralWatch Data – Data available from 2018 in Penida, 2019 in Bira, and 2022 in Raja Ampat
  • Dive Against Debris Data – Data available from 2018 in Penida, 2019 in Bira, and 2022 in Raja Ampat
  • Beach Cleanup Data – Data available from 2022 in all locations
  • Coral Restoration Growth Data – Data available from 2021 in Penida, 2022 in Bira and Raja Ampat
  • Water Quality Analysis – Data available from 2019 in Penida and Bira and 2022 in Raja Ampat
  • Benthic and Coral Coverage Surveys – Data available from 2023 in all locations
  • Photographic Identification (Turtles and manta rays) – Data available from 2019 in Penida, 2019 in Bira, and 2022 in Raja Ampat


Researching effectively in remote regions of a developing nation requires careful planning and preparation. Still, it’s essential to be ready for the possibility that things won’t turn out as expected. Being adaptable and flexible is critical to navigating unexpected challenges and obstacles. To ensure the best outcomes for your project, we’ll consider regional considerations when writing your proposal. We will also be there to help you overcome any obstacles.

Undergraduate Thesis

For undergraduate students requiring a placement or internship with an independent research thesis without intent to publish.

Total minimum time: 4-9 months

  • 1 month for application and proposal approval
  • 2 months for preparation
  • 1-6 months of field and analysis

Postgraduate Thesis

For postgraduate students who need to structure their thesis, conduct fieldwork and manage analysis with the intent to publish.

Total minimum time: 9-12+ months

  • 2+ months for application and proposal
  • 3+ months for preparation
  • 6+ months of field and analysis

*Timeline will vary depending on the topic idea and field work required. This will be determined during the proposal stage of your application.


A based application fee of 12,000,000 IDR is required on successful proposals. This covers Indo Ocean’s services, mentors, pre-arrival support, Indonesian research permits, translations, and complete access to our catalogue of data sets.

The total cost for your project will vary depending on your requirements. We can assist with in-country transportation, accommodation, visa and permits, meals (if working remotely), diving and equipment. The more diving activities or equipment you will need to conduct your research, the higher the costs.

During your proposal phase, you can use the price list provided to design your budget based on the field activities required, length of time needed, and equipment rental. We are here to help answer questions and guide you in purchasing, but you will be responsible for managing your budget.

A-la-cart research!


The application procedure includes a critical component called your research proposal. It summarises the project’s objectives and the question you hope to solve. It shows your subject-matter expertise and the research techniques you want to use. Our team will help you through this process so that you can exercise critical thinking and consider regional constraints.

Start your application today by following these steps:

1. Initial Application

You can download the MARINE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION FORM and submit it along with a letter of introduction to

This will get the ball rolling and initiate first contact. It is meant to be a more general application form for us to know where you are in your planning. I’ve included your name, address, institution, a brief description of your intended field of study, and potential research topics. Please tell us where you are in the project planning process and why you want to collaborate with Indo Ocean Foundation.

Do you need help choosing a research topic? We have several issues in different disciplines at each project location that would benefit the region’s research and conservation goals. You are welcome to submit a general application, and we can offer you some topic options that you can choose from based on your interests. 

Just to let you know, while you can download this Google document, you cannot edit it directly. Please fill out the form separately and submit it for consideration. We will get back to you within 14 days of its submission.

2. Review & Communication

In this stage, we’ll talk more about the specifics of your research proposal, help you find research topics by the mission and objectives of the Indo Ocean (see CMP 2023 for more information), and talk about potential obstacles. We can set up our communication procedure and manage expectations throughout this time. We’ll send you a template for our research proposal once you’ve made a note of your topic structure and we’ve addressed any practical concerns you may have.

3. Submitting Your Proposal

Complete the research proposal and send it to Consider your project’s timeframe, budget, and sample design carefully. From planning, fieldwork, and analysis, create and present your entire budget and timeframe, then submit it for evaluation.

Please allow for sufficient time for revisions and adjustments based on feedback received.

Indo Ocean reserves the right to accept or reject any research requests.


Indo Ocean has set up a yearly grant of 30,000,000 IDR to award to Fellowship candidates. This fund is split between fellows based on the quality of the final proposal and is reset with the new year. We assure all applicants that grant money will only be awarded after carefully evaluating the project proposal and budget. This practice ensures that the funds are allocated responsibly, aligning with our mission to support impactful marine research initiatives.


Divemaster and research diver training program

Indo Ocean Project offers an innovative and award-winning dive master and research diver training program in Indonesia. Founded in 2017 by a community of marine biologists, dive instructors, and ocean educators, this Divemaster and Research Diver Internship is a platform for aspiring ocean professionals to gain hands-on experience while conducting critical research in remote regions of Indonesia.

We are collaborating with institutions, government agencies, NGOs, and local communities to carry out research that addresses marine conservation issues in Indonesia. We work on international and regional projects at each of our three project locations focusing on ecological monitoring, active conservation, educational initiatives, and community engagement.

Learn More

I have spent the last year taking part in various marine conservation internships, I can honestly say my time with Indo Ocean was unlike anything else – in the best possible way!

Natalie Del Mar

United Kingdom, Graduated 2023

Learn more…


Before you can be a good research diver, you must be a good scuba diver. This divemaster and research diver internship will give you the skills to work in marine research, conservation, or the professional dive industry. You will meet like-minded individuals and be able to network with experienced and aspiring marine biologists from around the world.

The Divemaster course will teach you to be a leader, and you will develop the skills to conduct a variety of scuba and marine research activities while working alongside a team of marine biologists and dive professionals.

The divemaster certification is only part of what we do, but it is a critical component and CV builder for any aspiring ocean professional.


It’s a packed course with a huge amount of knowledge to absorb and new skills to learn, so you shouldn’t be bored for a single minute!

We work on rolling start dates, which means when one intern leaves, another one arrives. The program runs 6 days a week. Your first few weeks are dedicated to diving, methodology, and fish ID training and workshops. Each practice task is paired with a workshop where you will receive in-depth training with an instructor before applying this knowledge in the field.

The days are flexible according to weather, scheduling, and coursework. The typical day begins at 8:00 am and finishes around 5:00 pm with an average of 6-8 hours of work per day. However, this can always change depending on the schedule of the day, which can include early morning activities or night diving.

With a goal of 6-8 dives per week, you will be in the water most days – whether on the boat, in the pool, from the shore or all three! You will assist staff members and each other throughout the day with their daily tasks. You will alternate between staff so you can see different diving and teaching styles to start creating your own.

Your time will be split between the following tasks:

  • GOING DIVING! – A lot of the divemaster courses are just going on dives; this is the longest training course you will ever do in diving and the one that contains the most in-water time. We do a mixture of scientific and fun diving to keep it fresh!
  • Divemaster and Dive Guides – Learning how to assist and guide certified divers (under supervision).
  • Instructors – Assisting courses from Discover Scuba Diving to Rescue Diver in the pool, classroom, and open water.
  • Research Team – Take an active role in the research team as a research diver and field scientist, contributing to many data sets, including collecting abundance data on dives, placing and retrieving the BRUVs, Dive Against Debris surveys, CoralWatch surveys, and helping with our coral restoration efforts. 
  • Data Entry / Workshops – Help the dive team in the office with scientific equipment maintenance/repair/preparation, data entry and analysis, project development, and enhancing your knowledge in the various conservation divemaster workshops.
  • Independent Study Time – Use this time to complete theoretical or independent projects including the knowledge reviews for your certification courses, study for exams, or work on independent research projects.
  • Independent Projects – If you would like even more, there is the opportunity to take on an Independent Project, such as being responsible for uploading our data to the relevant citizen science databases or using your creative skills to create our amazing bimonthly video logs. At Indo Ocean Project – there is always more to do!


Get ready for a knowledge-packed internship!

The divemaster course teaches you to lead and take charge of dive activities. You develop the skills to organise and direct various scuba activities through knowledge development sessions with your mentoring instructor, watermanship exercises and workshops, and hands-on practical assessments. In partnership with your research diver internship, you will be able to conduct and lead various marine research activities.

Ecology & Conservation Workshops 

  • Species Identification I & II Workshops – Become an Elite IOP Survey Diver and help us collect data on our survey dives by participating in these workshops. You will be introduced to the species we are surveying in scientific terms. How to record the size and sex of the animals you will see underwater, improving your fish identification tenfold.
  • Shark Conservation Workshop – It’s all about Sharks! The attributes that make them unique, the threats they face, marine policy and the changes that can be made to help save these incredible animals.
  • Manta Ray Conservation Workshop – It’s all about Mantas! The attributes that make them unique, their fascinating behaviours, the threats they face, marine policy and the changes that can be made to help save these incredible animals.
  • Turtle Conservation Workshop – It’s all about Turtles! Learn about the seven species of sea turtles, the attributes that make them unique, their fascinating behaviours, the threats they face, marine policy and the changes that can be made to help save these incredible animals. Lead our Nusa Penida and Bira Turtle ID projects through photographic identification and recognition software.
  • Coral Ecology, Taxonomy & Restoration Workshops – Coral reefs face ever-growing daily threats. Learn about them in this 3-day mini course during your internship and what you can do to help restore and protect them. Plus, there are tips on identifying the fantastic array of species we have around our project locations. Gain hands-on experience by growing, monitoring, and maintaining our coral nursery sites.
  • Mola Conservation Workshop – It’s all about Molas! Learn about the species of molas, the attributes that make them unique, their fascinating behaviours, the threats they face, marine policy and the changes that can be made to help save these incredible animals. Collect and submit photographic identification photos of Nusa Penida’s resident population of Mola alexandrini.
  • Nudibranch Workshop – Explore the fascinating world of Nudibranchs, learn what they are, how they feed, reproduce and all the other things that make them AWESOME. Plus, start to learn about the species found around Nusa Penida, how to find them and get involved in the hunt for new species!
  • Mangrove Conservation Workshop – Mangroves are arguably the planet’s most diverse and vital habitats. They are a nursery to most reef fish, creatures, and corals and provide essential support to other nearby marine and land ecosystems. They are also one of the best “Carbon Sinks”! In essence, mangroves are nature’s answer to climate change and contribute towards the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In this workshop, learn more about mangrove conservation and restoration and actively maintain and build our mangrove nursery.
  • BRUV Workshop – Learn how to participate in our research with a hands-on practical session that looks at how we deploy our Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs), what we are looking for and what we’ve seen so far!
  • BRUV Viewing Workshop – We will teach you how to analyse our BRUV videos and contribute to our growing BRUV database.
  • Citizen Science Workshop – In this workshop, we will also introduce you to citizen science and the various citizen science databases we collaborate with, including Elasmobranch Project Indonesia, Thresher Shark Indonesia, eOceans, MantaMatcher, ID The Manta, Internet of Turtles, Match My Mola, Wildbook for Whale Sharks, CoralWatch & Dive Against Debris.

Divemaster Workshops

  • Lift Bag and SMB Workshop – In this practical session, we will go through how to safely deploy your Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (dSMB) and use a Lift Bag. This workshop is sometimes combined with Fin Kicks and Buoyancy Workshop.
  • Fin Kicks and Peak Performance Buoyancy Workshop – This underwater workshop will show and practice the different types of fin kicks in the water. It will also work on your buoyancy, ensuring you have the perfect weighting and trim. 
  • Skill Demonstrations Workshop – Participate in at least three confined sessions where you are taught how to demonstrate skills from PADI and SSI courses by our highly experienced PADI Master Instructor/SSI Assistant Instructor Trainer, with additional video sessions and practice time. Divemaster candidates often find this one of the most enjoyable aspects of the course, as it is one of the first steps to becoming a great diving teacher!
  • Briefings & Assisting Dives/Courses Workshop – Learn how to give fun, thorough boat briefings, with the opportunity to practice and fine-tune in the classroom before giving them to customers. Also, understand how to behave and help when assisting customers and students with one of our experienced divemasters or instructors.
  • Knots/Search and Recovery Workshop – This part of the classroom, mainly a hands-on practical workshop, will refresh your compass skills, teach you how to tie knots, and prepare for those search patterns!
  • Gas Planning Workshop – As a future dive professional and scientific diver, you should be able to plan a dive properly by creating a dive plan based on your gas consumption. This workshop focuses on enforcing awareness underwater and pushes you to consider a safer approach to deep dives that require you to perform complicated tasks underwater, all in preparation for your Divemaster Deep Scenario. 
  • Rescue & O2 Workshop – We revisited the rescue scenario of locating, surfacing, and assisting an unconscious diver in the classroom, going through the steps required for a team rescue. We also revisited the practice of CPR with the aid of a dummy and how to set up and administer O2 to accident victims. All in preparation for the Divemaster Rescue Scenario.
  • Leading Dives & Tides Workshop – Another major part of the Divemaster program is learning how to lead dives and eventually guide customers. In this workshop, we look at how this can be enjoyable, safe and fun.
  • Mapping Workshop – You are expected to be able to produce a relatively accurate dive site map as a Divemaster. This workshop will give you the full briefing on the mapping project; in a team, you will complete a full guide to a designated dive site / or specific conservation dive around Nusa Penida, including a dive Site Map, Dive Briefing, Site Description and Species List.
  • Recreational Dive Planner Workshop – Many Divemaster candidates have never used the RDP/eRDPML or SSI Dive Tables. If they have, they may have only spent 15 minutes years ago going through it quickly as part of the Open Water course. This workshop is designed to make sure you know all about it, how to use both, and also how you can go on to teach it in a way that your future students will understand.
  • Basic Reg Maintenance & Equipment Workshop (Bira Only)  Learn the different types of SCUBA gear you can find now in the diving industry. So you know the equipment that keeps you alive underwater better, we will also give you the knowledge to perform some essential maintenance on personal regulators or the regulators of your guests.
  • Instructor Development Course Workshop (Penida Only) – Get a taster of the instructor development course (IDC) with one of Penida’s resident PADI Course Directors.
  • Introduction to Freediving Workshop (Penida Only) – Get a taster of the world of freediving in our training pool with one of Penida’s resident freedive instructors. 

Practical Assessment and Scenarios

The following scored assessments and practical scenarios will be conducted during your Divemaster to confirm you are ready to be a certified dive professional;

  • Deep Dive Scenario – How to conduct dives to the deeper depths (30m maximum) and notice signs of narcosis.
  • Search & Recovery Scenario – How to conduct search patterns and organise teams to locate a missing object/diver.
  • Watermanship Skills – 400m timed swim, 15-minute survival float, 800m timed snorkel, 200m tired diver tow, and 25m underwater swim (SSI Only) to be completed daily.
  • Equipment Exchange – Tackle a novel challenge whilst on SCUBA in confined water with a trusted dive buddy. 
  • Rescue Assessment – Locate, surface and support an unconscious diver underwater.
  • Skills Circuit – Assessment of your ability to professionally demonstrate all skills from the open water course.
  • Exams – Testing your newly acquired Divemaster knowledge as you progress through the course.
  • Professionalism – You can act as a dive professional and team player.

Nusa Penida


Project Highlights: BRUV, coral restoration and Penida Turtle ID

Diving Highlights: Manta rays, molas, turtles, thriving coral reefs, occasional pelagics like hammerhead and thresher sharks.


Southern Sulawesi

Project Highlights: BRUV, shark ID, coral restoration, MPA development

Diving Highlights: Reef sharks, turtles, incredible coral reefs, occasional pelagics like hammerhead and thresher sharks.

Raja Ampat

West Papua

Project Highlights: BRUV, shark and manta ID, high levels of biodiversity

Diving Highlights: Reef sharks, manta rays, biodiverse coral reefs, macro critters, occasional whale sharks and marine mammals.