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Save the date for CommOCEAN 2016 (6-8 December 2016, Bruges-Ostend)

Wednesday, 06 April 2016

CommOCEAN 2016 (6-8 December 2016, Bruges-Ostend) is the 2nd in a series of International Marine Science Communication Conferences. Whether you’re a marine scientist keen to be speed-trained in modern ocean science communication skills or a communicator, working for a marine institute, NGO or governmental body, this CommOCEAN International Marine Science Communication event is for you. Following on from the successful IMSCC-1, organized by CIIMAR, Ciencia Viva & EMBCP in 2014, the Bruges-Ostend CommOCEAN event is a unique opportunity to make a major leap forward in communicating your ocean knowledge. The organizers (VLIZ, EMB, EMBCP, UNESCO-IOC-IODE) are developing an inspiring, innovative and interactive programme consisting of two separate events: a 2-day conference in Bruges (6-7 December 2016), followed by a 1-day high-level training program at the InnovOcean facilities in Ostend (8 December 2016).
The call for contributions (orals, poster, workshop) is now open for the 2-day conference. We encourage the submission of abstracts from all areas of science communication with a special focus on the ocean, marine and estuarine realm. Further information on how to submit an abstract is available on the CommOCEAN 2016 website.

EMB’s animation on the Connections between Human Health and the Ocean launched for the Sea Change Project

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

EMB has developed an animation explaining the links between human health and the ocean as part of the EU Horizon 2020 funded Sea Change project. The video highlights five ways in which the ocean affects our health and wellbeing. These links include climate regulation, food, pollution, medicine and the blue gym effect. The aim of the video is to raise awareness of how the ocean affects our health and therefore the importance of keeping our relationship with the ocean healthy. You can watch the animation below and subscribe to the Sea Change Vimeo channel at

Commissioner Vella meets European ocean research leaders (2 March, Brussels)

Thursday, 03 March 2016

“This will be the Blue Century”. That’s according to Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in his introductory remarks at a meeting of ocean research leaders in Brussels yesterday. Mr. Vella called the special roundtable meeting to discuss key ocean research challenges including climate change, food and energy security, and EU Blue Growth. The meeting was attended by the Heads of several national ocean research institutes and Directors of some of the key European and International cooperation platforms for marine science. The EMB was represented by Executive Secretary, Niall McDonough. Commissioner Vella, along with colleagues from DG Mare and DG Research & Innovation, listened as each of the invited guests gave a short presentation on the major research challenges. In the subsequent discussion, Mr. Vella emphasised the importance of enhancing collaboration between Europe’s leading research institutes. He strongly believes that ocean science has a critical role to play in addressing many of our most pressing societal challenges. “In the oceans, we can find solutions to our land-based problems, ” he said. All agreed that many of these challenges are global and enhanced cooperation is critical to achieve the scale of research efforts necessary. The Commissioner committed to playing his part in advocating for adequate investment for ocean research and technology development. The meeting with Commissioner Vella marks the first in a series and will be an important platform for the ocean research community to communicate directly with the Commissioner on ocean research issues.

EMB Oceans and Human Health Paper features in JMBA Special Issue

Friday, 26 February 2016

The February 2016 issue of the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK features a special edition on Oceans and Human Health. The EMB contributed to this issue with the paper ‘An economic perspective on oceans and human health’, highlighting the lack of economic data available in Europe regarding ocean and human health impacts and the importance of developing this area as the Blue Growth strategy progresses. The context for the paper is described in an accompanying blog post titled Public health costs and the ocean. Other papers in the special issue cover ocean medicines, the Blue gym effect, harmful algal blooms, marine bathing and infectious diseases, seafood and law. The Oceans and Human Health special issue is freely accessible until August 2016.

Citizen Science Working Group kick-off Meeting (18-19 February, Oostende)

Friday, 19 February 2016

EMB’s recently formed expert working group, WG Citizen Science, held its kick-off meeting over the past two days at the EMB premises in Oostende. Titled ‘Advancing Citizen Science for Seas and Ocean Research’, this working group has been convened to raise the profile of citizen science and advance its application in the marine context. Working group discussions focused on the current opportunities and challenges provided by marine citizen science as well as new ideas and directions for increasing marine citizen science into the future. The working group, comprising 12 marine citizen science experts from around Europe, will continue its foresight activities through 2016.
Picture features Working Group Citizen Science members. Back row, left to right:
Oliver Zielinski (University of Oldenburg, Germany), Jan Marcin Węsławski (Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland),  Karin Dubsky (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), Gérald Mannaerts (Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle, France), Jan Seys (Flanders Marine Institute, Belgium), Christine Domegan (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland), Karen von Juterzenka (Kiel University, Germany). Bottom row, left to right: Niall McDonough (EMB Executive Secretary), Jane Delany (Newcastle University, UK), Gro I. van der Meeren (WG co-Chair; Institute of Marine Research, Norway), Carlos Garcia Soto (WG Chair; Spanish Institute of Oceanography, Spain), Veronica French (EMB Science Officer), Gabriel Gorsky (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France).

Climate Change: Ignore the ocean at your peril

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

In the February edition of Adjacent Government, EMB Executive Secretary Niall McDonough makes the case for why the ocean should be part of climate change discussions. While commending the ambitious target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels set during the December COP21 talks, Niall McDonough highlights the almost complete absence of the relationship between the ocean and climate in the COP21 negotiations and in the final agreement, despite many years of advocacy from scientists and NGOs. The reason for omitting the ocean in discussions is seen as our (human society and political opinion) failure to understand the ocean’s importance as a planetary life-support system. The ocean provides an array of essential goods and services which support human health and wellbeing, yet at the same time is under increasing threat from issues such as pollution, ocean acidification and  hypoxia. Niall McDonough makes the case that to understand the role of the ocean in the earth and climate systems, and the implications of changing oceans for our environment and wellbeing we need to increase our efforts in a range of areas such as progressing ocean observing systems, increased support for more basic ocean science, more effective training for the next generation of marine scientists, and more efforts to achieve Ocean Literacy. The full article is available to read online.

EMB establishes its own legal organization (20 January, Brussels)

Thursday, 21 January 2016

On 20 January 2016, the European Marine Board formed its own legal entity as an international non-profit association under Belgian law (IVZW). An important day in the history of the Board, eight founding members signed the deed in the presence of a Notary Public at a dedicated founding meeting in Brussels (see picture). The EMB was originally formed as an expert board of the European Science Foundation and has operated as such for almost 20 years. During that time the EMB has flourished under the European Science Foundation, expanding its membership, activities and gaining a reputation for providing high-quality science policy advice to underpin the marine research agenda in Europe. Although EMB will remain for the time being associated to ESF, the foundation of a non-for-profit association in Belgium is the first step in a process to eventually become a fully independent legal entity and to secure the future of EMB as the primary marine science foresight and strategy think tank in Europe.
Picture features the EMB IVZW founding members, directors, secretariat, and notary public. Top row left to right: Yves-Marie Paulet (UBO), Colin Brown (NUIG), Karen Donaldson (EMB), Slawomir Sagan (IOPAN), Nan-Chin Chu (EMB), Jan de Leeuw (NIOZ), Veronica French (EMB), Lars Horn (RCN), Arturas Razinkova-Baziukas (KU), Notary Public. Bottom row left to right: Erlend Moksness (IMR), Jan-Stefan Fritz (KDM), Niall McDonough (EMB), Jan Mees (EMB Chair), Gilles Lericolais (Ifremer), Mark James (MASTS), Tarmo Soomere (EAS)

CoCoNet end user meeting & related funding information

Monday, 18 January 2016

The FP7 project, “Towards coast to coast network of marine protected areas (from the shore to the high and deep sea) coupled with sea-based wind energy potential in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea” (CoCoNet, 2012-2016), presented its achievements at their end-user meeting in Brussels (14 Jan. 2016).  The project proposed the concept of “Cells of Ecosystem Functioning” as a conservation and management unit to help in the development of a coherent network of MPAs and to identify suitable area for offshore wind farms. Further details can be found on the project webpage and documentary films. Their results are in line with previous EMB recommendations for an ‘ecosystem-based marine spatial management’ (EMB PP18) and a holistic approach to continue biodiversity research (EMB FSB1). The project also stressed the need for biological ocean observation and human capacity building. In 2016, the EMB will address both topics: to kick off an expert working group (website) and to publish a Future Science Brief on Marine Graduate Training based on the work of WG Training (website).

Related funding information:

DG MARE/EASME issued/will issues calls related to MPA, MSP and training:

  • Call for Tenders: Study on the economic benefits of Marine Protected Areas (deadline 14 March 2016) (EC website)
  • Call for Proposals: Projects on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) (deadline 31 March 2016) (EASME website)
  • DG MARE will launch a call for proposals (€3,4 million allocated) on ‘Blue Careers in Europe’ under the EMFF in 2016. (EMFF Work Programme)

The Sea Change Project’s ‘Think Big, Think Ocean Video Contest’ is Now Open

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

To increase Ocean Literacy in Europe, the Sea Change project is looking for innovative concepts for events, campaigns or any other activities that could help to increase people’s awareness and appreciation of the ocean. To enter, simply make a video to illustrate your creative, innovative idea and submit it online. Your idea will be in with a chance of becoming a reality and you could also win one of seven unique experiences, including ‘behind the scenes’ days at aquaria and science centres across Europe, or an exciting chance to experience a day in the life of a marine scientist. The closing date for entries is 20 March 2016. The winning entries will be chosen based on public vote as well as the innovation, feasibility and potential impact of the idea. The Sea Change project will release one short video every week for the next five weeks through social media to provide further inspiration. For more information on the Think Big, Think Ocean video contest, see: For queries related to the Think Big, Think Ocean contest, please contact: Mieke Sterken ( or Jan Seys (

EMB is at COP21 supporting the advancement of the ocean and climate change agenda (3-4 December, Paris)

Thursday, 03 December 2015

EMB is attending COP21 and participating in a number of events aimed at raising the profile of the integral role of the ocean in our response to climate change. On 3 December, Nan-Chin Chu is giving a presentation at an underwater cultural heritage event hosted by UNESCO. During this event Nan-Chin will highlight the Ocean-Climate Nexus Consensus Statement  and recent EMB publications on continental shelf prehistoric research as part of her presentation on ‘Projecting the climate future by understanding the past: Rescue historical data through maritime cultural heritage.’ The Ocean-Climate Nexus Statement will be further promoted during EMB’s participation in the Ocean & Climate Forum (3 December) and Oceans Day at COP21 (4 December). Activities during Oceans Day will report on the science of oceans and climate change; showcase successful efforts in policies on oceans and climate, identify key actions on oceans and climate change to be addressed through the UNFCCC process; and identify what the oceans community can do to advance the oceans and climate change agenda outside of the UNFCCC process. The expected result of Oceans Day is an action plan for the ocean and climate change agenda for the next five years.