Today EMB launches Position Paper 25 on “Next Generation European Research Vessels: Current Status and Foreseeable Evolution” (pdf) at its Autumn Plenary Open Session, co-organized with the EurOcean Foundation.
This publication, produced in collaboration with the European Research Vessel Operators (ERVO) community, is a comprehensive look at the current research vessel fleet in Europe, updating the findings and recommendations of EMB Position Paper 10 from 2007 on “European Ocean Research Fleets - Towards a Common Strategy and Enhanced Use”. It is the result of the activities of the EMB working group on Research Vessels.
Further developing our understanding of the ocean is fundamental to addressing many of the global challenges, such as climate change and food security, facing society today. Research vessels are a key infrastructure enabling scientists to gather the data and conduct the research required to expand our knowledge. However, research vessels and their equipment are large and sophisticated, and inevitably costly, infrastructures. It is therefore critical that their importance and indispensable role is clear and that appropriate investments are made to ensure the ongoing provision of scientific support.
This publication presents an overview of the current fleet, its capabilities and its management. It then looks to the future, highlighting what will be needed to ensure that the European fleet can continue to provide the same high level of support to science, in particular in specialized areas such as the deep-sea and Polar regions. It also goes beyond the fleet itself, to consider the training of fleet personnel, fleet management, and the role of research vessels in the wider context of ocean observations and the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS).