Bringing the Ocean to Society
28 Mar 2019
New and noteworthy projects!

EurOcean started four new and noteworthy projects in 2019. Despite having the Ocean as backbone, their purpose and scope are quite different. One aims to develop research and innovation cooperation across the Atlantic, another aims to facilitate access to European research vessels, the third aims to disseminate information about European research infrastructure services, and the last aims to develop tools and methodologies to tackle marine litter originating from aquaculture industry.

AANChOR is an H2020 Coordination and Support Action (CSA) that aims to support the implementation of the Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation (co-signed by the European Union, Republic of South Africa and the Federative Republic of Brazil) by building the All Atlantic Ocean Research Community. AANChOR also aims to identify concrete collaborative research and innovation activities across the key areas of climate variability, ocean observation, ocean life, ocean technology, emerging pollutants and polar research.

EurOcean is deeply involved in AANChOR by participating in most of its work packages. As such, EurOcean is supporting the development of the multi-stakeholder platform and the baseline characterisation in the areas of knowledge transfer, common standards for data and information sharing, citizen ocean awareness and literacy, and convergence and alignment of R&I infrastructure initiatives. EurOcean further supports the legacy aspects of the project, namely through the identification of needs, gaps and synergies of online platforms for cooperation in the Atlantic. EurOcean’s major contribution is, however, with regards to dissemination activities, where it has taken leadership of the respective work package to ensure proper and wide communication and dissemination of the project and its outcomes.

Eurofleets+ is another H2020 project, funded under the infrastructures initiative and coordinated by the Irish Marine Institute that brings together a significant group of key marine research actors (especially research vessel operators) from Europe, North America and Oceania, thus comprising 42 marine institutes, universities, foundations and SMEs from 24 countries. The project will facilitate open- and free-of-charge access to an integrated and advanced research vessel fleet, designed to meet the evolving and challenging needs of the user community. The project will enable access to a unique fleet of 27 state-of-the-art research vessels, new AUVs and ROVs, as well as to a unique portable telepresence system, which will enable remote access to some of the available capabilities by researchers and diverse end users, including the public - a first for Europe. In addition to comprehensive transnational access activities, the project will undertake joint research in challenging and highly relevant areas, including deep ocean research and exploration, data management, and future virtual access.

In this project EurOcean is the leader of the communication and outreach activities work package. EurOcean is also responsible for the management and update of the Research Infrastructures Database (RID), and will contribute to the optimisation of the legacy of Eurofleets, building on expertise, know-how and successes of previous Eurofleets projects, and incorporating Eurofleets+ new and more extensive actions.

The CatRIS (Catalogue of Research Infrastructures Services) project aims at establishing a network of networks of research infrastructures (RI) communities across borders and beyond. CatRIS will centralise and make available information about RI services offered in Europe. Such information will improve the visibility of services, foster European and international collaborations, and enhance RI accessibility, usage, and impact. Currently, RIs provide information about their services mostly in free formats through websites, with varying completeness and detail. Existing initiatives will be analysed to identify best practices and to propose a service catalogue structure to respond to users’ needs.

EurOcean’s role in CatRIS is threefold. On the one hand, EurOcean is the leading partner for the communication, dissemination and exploitation of the project and its outcomes. EurOcean will also be involved in engaging the RI owners, funders, managers, users and policy makers. Finally, EurOcean will support the creation of an open online digital platform that will provide access to RI services to the pan-European research community involved in all major fields of science.

You can already get involved by participate in the CatRIS survey on the current European panorama of research infrastructure services.

AQUA-LIT is an ambitious two-year project, about preventive measures for averting the discarding of litter in the marine environment from the aquaculture industry, funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The project gathers seven partners from Hungary, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France and Germany, five of which are Members of EurOcean, and is coordinated by Geonardo, a company based in Budapest. In line with the new EU Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, AQUA-LIT will provide the aquaculture sector with a sustainable toolbox of innovative ideas and methodologies to address the three main components to tackle marine littering, which are prevention and reduction, monitoring and quantification, and removal and recycling.

AQUA-LIT will work face-to-face with stakeholders from the entire aquaculture value chain, organising meetings, webinars and learning labs in three European basins: the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. By co-working with aquaculture farmers, identifying and clustering existing, upcoming and already implemented tools to prevent marine littering, and by creating a platform that helps all the stakeholders of the aquaculture chain to increase the understanding, awareness and availability of solutions, a potential transformation of the aquaculture sector towards a less polluting sector becomes possible.

Within the project, EurOcean is leading the “Scaling up the tide” Work Package, which aims to develop policy recommendation for less litter, transferring the project outcomes to some of Europe’s outermost regions (Azores and Canaries Islands) and building the legacy of the whole project. EurOcean also plays a crucial role in the dissemination and outreach tasks, in supporting the development of learning labs and in the collection of relevant data through the Knowledge Gate database.

By participating in all these projects, EurOcean contributes not only to their specific outputs and outcomes, but also produces, manages and disseminates relevant and actionable information for the benefit of its members, the ocean community and society at large, and thus consolidates and enhances its role as the European focal point for information on marine science and technology.