The Nippon Foundation-POGO Centre of Excellence (NF-POGO CofE) provides world class education and training courses in the field of observational oceanography, since 2008. Since 2013, Phase II of the Nippon Foundation-POGO Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography has been hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany’s foremost polar and marine research institution. Ten scholars per year are trained at the NF-POGO Centre of Excellence at AWI in integrated, multi-disciplinary oceanography. Scholars receive ten months of training to include general topics such as physical, chemical and biological oceanography, followed by more detailed courses on core skills and specialised scientific topics such as modelling, remote sensing, time-series observations and data management, as well as training in instrumentation, sample collection and analytical protocols. They also conduct an independent research project for several months during the programme. The Centre of Excellence is conducted at AWI’s site on the offshore island of Helgoland with focus on open-ocean sciences for, and further training at AWI’s site on the UNESCO reserve Waddensea island of Sylt where shelf/basin interactions are topics of study.