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Sea change for joint marine research in Europe [Print to PDF] [Print to RTF]

Norway, together with Belgium and Spain has been given the EU's go-ahead last month for a large-scale joint European marine research programme. The planned cooperation aims to boost knowledge of environmental conditions, marine resources and commercialisation in the seas and o...
Sea change for joint marine research in Europe
Norway, together with Belgium and Spain has been given the EU's go-ahead last month for a large-scale joint European marine research programme. The planned cooperation aims to boost knowledge of environmental conditions, marine resources and commercialisation in the seas and oceans managed by European countries.

The programme, 'Healthy and productive seas and oceans', is one of six new European Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI) to gain the EU's approval last month. The new marine research programme will comprise three main areas: knowledge about the marine system; knowledge for the sustainable exploitation of marine resources; and knowledge for use in political decision-making.

Countries that sign up to thematically oriented joint programmes like this one agree to enter into binding research cooperation. Ten European coastal countries have already expressed interest in taking part in research cooperation on European seas and oceans, according to a statement by the Research Council of Norway, which coordinates this Nordic country's participation in the EU's research cooperation initiatives.

Participating countries provide their own funding for these initiatives as part of their existing national research programmes aimed at international cooperation, for example. This approach is designed to trigger a significant joint research 'synergy effect'.

The marine research JPI will have a broad-based scientific profile and put special focus on issues related to climate change. 'Common challenges call for more coordination of research efforts that will give Europe a better knowledge base for action,' commented Simen Ensby, director of the EU RTD department at the Research Council of Norway.

'This is the case both for global challenges, such a climate change and the energy and food situation, and for more Western-oriented health challenges, such as cancer and ageing," he added.

While Norway is not an EU Member State, it is a regular contributor to collaborative programmes and projects under the EU's Framework Programmes for research. And now, thanks to its strong marine and maritime experience, it will take a leading role in the 'Healthy and productive seas and oceans' programme.

'Never before has Norway made such a large investment in international research,' noted Mr Ensby, who emphasised that the new marine research programme will lay the foundation for Norwegian research policy in the years ahead.

In addition to the joint marine research programme, five other new research initiatives were approved by the Council of the European Union, on 26 May 2010, and involve different EU and non-EU countries:
- Coordination of knowledge on climate for Europe
- More years, better living - the potential and challenges of demographic change
- Microbial challenges - a growing threat to human health
- Urban Europe - global challenges, local solutions
- Management of water resources in a world undergoing change

Earlier this year, JPIs were also announced to tackle Alzheimer's and related diseases; agriculture, food safety and climate change; cultural heritage and global change; and health, food and prevention of diet-related diseases.

The Research Council of Norway's said it planned to participate in all of the JPI research programmes except the one on Europe's cultural heritage, in which Norway will most likely act as an observer.

About JPIs
EU Joint Programming Initiatives, according to the European Commission, are designed to address 'grand challenges' which cannot be tackled effectively and efficiently by any one country acting alone. The programmes, set up to study different themes such as the management of water resources and joint marine research effort, help the EU meet its Europe 2020 Strategy aimed at improving quality of life and delivering new sources of growth.
Source: Research Council of Norway

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Record Number: 32196 / Last updated on: 2010-06-10
Category: Miscellaneous
Provider: EC