Brazil recognized the major importance of the natural resources and mineral stocks along its 7,500 km of coastline (called “Blue Amazon” by the Brazil’s authorities). In this context the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), the Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE) and the IRD (research units: MARBEC, LEMAR, LEGOS and LOCEAN) joined their forces to build the International Joint Laboratory ‘Tropical Atlantic Interdisciplinary laboratory on physical, biogeochemical, ecological and human dynamics’ (IJL TAPIOCA). TAPIOCA convene > 100 researchers and students and aims at (i) enhancing the internationalisation of marine science in Northeast Brazil, and (ii) at filling the scientific, technological and methodological gaps by supporting the development of innovative research in areas not yet explored in Brazil. In the medium term, the IJL TAPIOCA ambitions a structuring role for the establishment of a Regional Centre of Excellence in Marine Sciences for the tropical Atlantic at Recife. The IJL TAPIOCA is organised along two Axes. Axis 1 ‘Observing ocean structure and dynamics along-scale’ will provide knowledge about the ocean structure. Axis 2 ‘Occupation of space by marine organisms and fishers using natural and artificial tags’ will document how organisms and fishers move within this ocean space. TAPIOCA scientific advances should feed related projects and provide elements to respond key climatic, environmental and societal questions. In addition, student training is a mainstay of the IJL TAPIOCA. For that purpose, TAPIOCA will focus on four transversal aspects: (i) encourage student co-advising and co-badging; (ii) provide capacity building on the disciplines to be developed in Axes 1 and 2; (iii) organise international multidisciplinary summer schools on Tropical Marine Science; (iv) disseminate the expertise through new educational tools.