Bringing the Ocean to Society
28 Feb 2019
Happy birthday to us!
EurOcean just turned 17 and the best is yet to come...

The European focal point for information on marine science and technology is celebrating its 17th year producing, managing and disseminating relevant and actionable information for the benefit of its members, the ocean community and society at large.

On February 28th 2002, a new actor in the European marine science and technology domain was born. Following the report presented on June 15th 2000 to the European Research Council, titled "Towards a new marine dimension for Europe through research and technological development", the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) decided to implement its recommendations and so signed a cooperation agreement to setup EurOcean.

Since then, EurOcean has, in various occasions, facilitated access to information to enhance cooperation between scientific and technological institutions, industry and other stakeholders.  Most notably, EurOcean provided information on marine research infrastructures to the European Marine Board (EMB) report on European Research Vessels and is currently supporting the new version of this project, and information on marine research projects to the European Commission Joint Research Centre, to JPI Oceans CSA Oceans project, to CPMR and to the EMB. 

EurOcean has also contributed to public awareness and educational programmes on marine issues by developing relevant initiatives (i.a. Mário Ruivo prizes and tribute, Blue Society), training activities (i.a. EUROFLEETS Training Activity), projects (i.a. Sea for Society) and dissemination materials (i.a. Uncovering the Ocean Secrets: A cruise through the Blue, EuroFleets Educational Brochure).

EurOcean has also supported decision makers by developing position papers that contributed to the European Maritime Policy, producing policy briefs (i.a. RISC-KIT), organizing events (i.a. Accelerating Blue Growth through Marine and Maritime Knowledge Transfer, EurOcean Facilitating Transnational Usage of Europe´s Marine Research Infrastructure, European Parliament Event Supporting Marine Research Knowledge Exchange for Blue Growth, Perspectives for enhancing co-ordination and support of Europe´s Ocean Observing System) and workshops (i.a. Marine Knowledge Transfer & Innovation: Learning from Regional & European Initiatives).

EurOcean has compiled and prepared relevant information on trends on marine science and technology through reports (i.a. An overview of potentially relevant European and National research by the STAGES project, A way to enhance access to European and National public funded research with relevance for MSFD implementation, An insight into country participation in potentially relevant European and National research by the STAGES project), analysis (i.a. Assessment of H2020; INTERREG V and LIFE and Knowledge Outputs) and workshops (i.a. MARINA Responsible Research and Information workshops to obtain insights on European priorities for marine research),  as well as other communication and dissemination materials (i.a. European Research Fleet & Underwater Vehicles Geo-Statistical posters).

EurOcean's members have increased significantly over the last 17 years. Currently, EurOcean comprises 13 full members (CESAM, CNR, FRCT, FCT, GeoEcoMar, IEO, Ifremer, IMR, IOPAN, Marine Institute, Nausicáa, Submariner Network and VLIZ) from 10 European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain) that are outstanding funding, outreach and marine research organisations. In particular, the latter comprise thousands of scientists working in various ocean matters and related disciplines, as well as about 100 research infrastructures, out of which around 40 are research vessels. In addition, EurOcean counts with the important support of four cooperating members that are also outstanding ocean stakeholders (i.e. CPMR, Fondation de Malte, IOC and IOI).

Nowadays, EurOcean has consolidated its unparalleled identity in the European marine science and technology landscape, and continues determined to add value to its members, the ocean community and society at large. Every day, EurOcean works to produce and manage high-quality and up to date information on marine science and technology and to disseminate it across policy makers, funding organisations, researchers, industry and the public at large. Presently, among its many commitments, EurOcean is participating in seven marine research and innovation projects, enhancing its databases and services on marine research infrastructures and projects and actively looking for new members, partners and opportunities that may contribute to its mission and objectives.

In the future, EurOcean's role may be even more relevant. Policy makers have an increasing need for global marine science and technology information. In addition, more global and multidisciplinary marine science and technology research and innovation initiatives are needed. Finally, ocean literacy activities worldwide also need to increase. EurOcean can help tackling all these needs, and so its future looks very promising.

Happy birthday and many more to come!