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Commissioner Vella meets European ocean research leaders for third time

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries is meeting today with ocean research leaders at the European Commission’s Berlaymont building, to discuss perspectives on the future of marine research in Europe. After two successful meetings on 2 March 2016 and 8 July 2016, heads of several EMB member national ocean research institutes are discussing with  Commissioner Vella their perspectives on the recommendations from the SAM High Level Group report Food from the Oceans, and on how to bring research outcomes closer to market. In addition, an update on European ocean observation, the preparations for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), and future marine research priorities for the upcoming EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon Europe, are on the agenda  for discussion today.

12 representatives of EMB Member Organizations, including the EMB Chair Jan Mees (VLIZ), attended together with representatives from the European Commission DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and DG Research and Innovation. The EMB Secretariat was represented by Executive Director, Sheila J. J. Heymans and Senior Science Officer, Kate Larkin

The meeting with Commissioner Vella marks the third in a series and is an important platform for the ocean research community represented by EMB to communicate directly with the Commissioner on ocean research issues.

SOPHIE Project website launched

Monday, 09 July 2018

Research in the field of Oceans and Human Health gets a big boost this week, as the Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe project launches its new website. Designed to encourage debate between different sectors, Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE for short) will build a community of researchers and practitioners to explore the links between our oceans and our health. The new website will share information about the project and provide a platform for bringing marine specialists together with experts from medicine and public health. The site also provides wider opportunities for the public to get involved, with researchers keen to hear from those with an interest in marine issues, ‘blue’ tourism, or healthcare. In one example, members of the public are being encouraged to share their experiences of interventions which harness the benefits of interacting with the ocean, in the hope of inspiring similar initiatives. EMB is leading on foresight and community building related activities for the project, which has attracted €2 million in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. It is a collaboration between several partners across Europe.

You can view the new website at https://sophie2020.eu and follow SOPHIE on Twitter here https://twitter.com/@OceansHealthEU. More information on EMB's role in the project can also be found here.

Paying Tribute to Professor Mário Ruivo

Wednesday, 06 June 2018

Today the marine science community is paying tribute to Professor Mário Ruivo at a commemorative event organised by EurOcean in Brussels, entitled "Your Ocean, Your Future". In his role as EMB Chair and Director of Flanders Marine Instiutute (VLIZ), Prof. Jan Mees is giving a presentation on "A science perspective on Mário Ruivo's legacy: future challenges for European marine research in a global context". The event also includes other current and former EMB members.

For many years, Prof. Ruivo was an active Delegate of EMB, representing the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). Throughout his long career, Prof. Ruivo was a champion of ocean issues. First and foremost, he was a biologist and oceanographer, an accomplished scientist and teacher. But he was also a gifted politician, and he put his political skills to use in promoting a greater appreciation of the ocean among the general public, and in advancing the political case for better management and governance of ocean resources. Prof. Ruivo leaves a significant legacy in bringing ocean affairs and environmental issues to the fore in political discourse both in Portugal and internationally. Everyone who knew him will remember his generosity of spirit, his integrity, his vast historical knowledge and his passion for the ocean.

You can find more information about the event on the EurOcean website.

AtlantOS European Strategy Workshop

Tuesday, 05 June 2018

On 4-5 June, the European H2020 project AtlantOS held a workshop to develop a European strategy for the future Atlantic Ocean Observing System in Brussels, hosted by EuroGOOS.

This was co-organized by EMB together with EuroGOOS, IOC and GEOMAR with the aim to deliver a European contribution to the wider Blueprint for the Atlantic Ocean Observing System.

More than 20 experts actively discussed key components of a future basin-scale observing system, from user-driven requirements, data and products, to infrastructures, capacity building and resource mobilization. Cross-cutting all of these is effective coordination and governance. The European Commission (DG Research and Innovation) joined discussions from the Marine Resource Unit, Earth Observation Unit and Executive Agency EASME. The workshop will deliver a strategy paper by the end of 2018 on Europe’s contribution to the AtlantOS legacy. This has strong links with the developing European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) framework, which has a public consultation running until 15 June 2018. More information is available in the 3rd AtlantOS Newsletter. Key messages from the workshop will also be taken forward in a EMB-led foresight paper on ocean observing coordination and governance linking European and Atlantic developments (see Task 10.6).

European Research Vessels Working Group Kicks Off

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The EMB Working Group on "Next Generation European Research Vessels" formally kicked off activities on 15-16 May 2018 at a meeting kindly hosted by Chair Per Nieuwjaar at the Havforskningsinstituttet (Institute of Marine Research, IMR) in Bergen, Norway. This activity is a collaboration with the European Research Vessel Operators (ERVO), who are also a former Marine Board panel.

In March 2007, the Marine Board - ESF Position Paper 10 European Ocean Research Fleets – Towards a Common Strategy and Enhanced Use" was published. This Position Paper included an inventory and description of the existing fleets, and recommendations on their enhanced use and management at pan-European level. Ten years on, the research landscape has evolved and there have been significant technological advancements adding new methods for autonomous sampling and observing our ocean. This also includes the Deep Sea and Polar frontiers. It is therefore timely and opportune for a EMB Working Group to produce an updated foresight report on European Research Vessels, assessing the progress made towards collaboration and interoperability and taking into account the latest technology and emerging areas of activity.

You can find more information on the Working Group and it's activities here. A position paper is expected to be published in 2019.

Have your say on the future of EOOS - Consultation 2018 on Strategy and Implementation Plan

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

On 25 April, EOOS stakeholder consultation is launched to collect feedback on the draft strategy and implementation plan 2018-2022. Stakeholder co-design and engagement are key to achieving a truly integrated and sustained ocean observing framework, EOOS. In 2017, an open consultation took place to collect stakeholders’ feedback on the EOOS consultation document developed by the EOOS Steering Group. Based on this survey and the EOOS forum 2018, draft EOOS strategy and implementation plan were developed. Those are now released for an open consultation running from 25 April to 25 June. The results will be released on this website and the documents finalized for adoption at the EOOS conference 2018 (21-23/11, Brussels).

Go to the consultation page to read the EOOS draft strategy and implementation plan and submit your feedback.

EMB are working with EuroGOOS and related organizations and stakeholders to facilitate the development of EOOS. More background could be found here.

Training the 21st Century Marine Professional

Monday, 23 April 2018

Today we launch our new Future Science Brief 2 on “Training the 21st Century Marine Professional” (pdf). This publication presents a vision for the future marine graduate education in Europe, to ensure that the marine professionals of tomorrow are ready for the challenges ahead.

The Ocean is a focus for economic development in Europe with the ‘blue’ economy representing roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year (EC, Blue Growth communication, 2014). Further ‘Blue Growth’ of marine and maritime industries will require a skilled workforce of highly trained and multi-skilled graduates from a wide variety of marine and maritime professional backgrounds.

The EMB publication examines the current marine graduate education and training system, identifying issues, challenges and opportunities for improvement. It also explores the complex landscape of marine graduate training and education in Europe and highlights ways in which the current system could be modernized and adapted to the changing needs in science and society. Case studies are presented to illustrate good practice, alongside interviews with recent marine graduates who have themselves benefitted from innovative training opportunities. It then presents 6 key recommendations for development, encouraging the marine community, industry and research funders to work together towards a common vision.

The Future Science Brief can be downloaded here and the news release can be found here.

EOOS holds its first Forum

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

On 8 March 2018, the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) initiative held its first Forum in Brussels. This brought together more than 80 ocean observing stakeholders from across Europe to discuss critical components of the European ocean observing system and ways to improve the existing coordination efforts. EOOS is a community-driven framework jointly driven by EuroGOOS and the European Marine Board (EMB), in collaboration with experts and advisers from many regional, national and pan-European organizations across the ocean observing value chain. The EMB (as co-Chairs of the EOOS Steering Group) were involved in the organization and running of the event.  EMB Executive Director Sheila Heymans stated in her closing remarks that “2018 is a crucial year for EOOS and it’s great to see the wider community engaging and shaping the future planning.” A draft Strategy and Implementation Plan 2018-2022 is in preparation by the EOOS Steering Group. The recent Forum was an important step to move this forward. An open stakeholder consultation will follow in Spring 2018. Following community feedback, the Strategy and Implementation Plan will be launched at the EOOS Conference on 21-23 November 2018 in Brussels. Conference registration is open and is free at no charge.

The “most intelligent picture” in marine science?

Monday, 19 February 2018

Strongly advocating for a Mission Ocean under the upcoming ninth framework programme for research and innovation (FP9), the European Marine Board has begun the work on the new instalment of its flagship series, Navigating the Future V (NFV). This position paper will provide robust, independent scientific advice and expert opinion on future seas and Ocean research to 2030 and beyond.

On 8-9 November 2017, the NFV Foresight Workshop took place at the Hôtel Métropole Brussels, a historical hotel that hosted in 1911 the first international Physics Solvay Congress. That same conference led in 1927 to “the most intelligent picture ever taken”, where 17 of the 29 attendees were or became Nobel Prize winners, including Einstein, Bohr, Skłodowska-Curie, Planck, Schrödinger, Heisenberg and Auguste Piccard. The latter built the Bathyscaphe Trieste, the underwater vehicle that brought his son Jacques Picard and the American mariner Don Walsh to the very depth of the Challenger Deep. Auguste Piccard inspired the Belgian cartoonist Hergé, the author of The Adventures of Tintin, for the character Professor Calculus, the inventor of the “shark-proof submarine”, the famous submarine appearing on the cover of the volume 12 of the series: Red Rackham's Treasure.

The experts of the EMB identified 5 key areas of marine science, during the NFV Foresight Workshop in November 2017, to guide both the research and the science policy agendas at European and national level:

  • Improve knowledge of the 4-Dimensional Ocean (a volume that changes in the time dimension) and its role in the earth and climate system, including the human component;
  • Assess impacts of multiple and cumulative human stressors to the dynamic, non-linear and rapidly changing Ocean system;
  • Improve understanding and predictability of extreme events through an integrated approach, including natural hazards and climate induced impacts affecting the Ocean;
  • Advance capabilities in ocean technologies leading to wider developments in Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence;
  • Foster sustainability science integrated with marine science as a core component of natural and social sciences.

The European Marine Board (EMB) is in dialogue with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO to consider these 5 key areas of marine science and promote holistic and integrated approaches to develop the common Implementation Plan for the UN ‘Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)’.

Keep track on developments about Navigating the Future here and a news release can also be found here.

EMB releases 6th Forum Message

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Integration, capacity-building and engagement in science, along with science-based societal debate, are key to support the Sustainable Development Goals, and the European Marine Board is committed to help in achieving this. EMB is releasing the 6th Forum Message highlighting the needs for marine science to be at the core of the ocean governance debate, and also presenting 8 specific commitments that EMB is making to underpin those needs and support future development. This Message outlines the marine science needs at the core of the ocean governance debate. The Message also presents 8 specific commitments that EMB is making to underpin development ocean governance and the integration of marine science within it. The Message can be downloaded here, and a news release can also be found here.

This Message stems from the 6th Forum Event which EMB held on 6 December 2017 that in Brussels, on the topic of “Implementing the UN 2030 Agenda: What role for Marine Science?”. In answer to this question, the main message of the Forum was that the role of marine science should be to provide a solid and sound evidence base to enable science-based societal debate on the future direction of ocean governance. Speakers, panelists and attendees alike also highlighted the importance of integration, moving away from silo thinking and towards greater collaboration among stakeholders to address the upcoming challenges. They also added to the growing voice calling for greater engagement of marine science with society, and improved ocean literacy. More information about the event, including the presentations given, can be found here.

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