The Third Marine Science and Technology Conference took place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 23 to 27 May 1998, with the aim of providing a forum for the exchange of information on, and the development of, marine research policy in Europe. The event was organized and sponsored by the European Commission, within the RTD programmes in the fields of Marine Science and Technology (MAST), Agriculture and Fisheries (FAIR), and Environment and Climate. Opening keynote addresses from eminent scientists highlighted the common challenge of the sustainable management of oceans. The opening speech, given by Professor Jorma Routti, the Commission's Director-General for Science, research and development, underlined the essential role of scientific research in meeting this challenge. He outlined the key features of the upcoming Fifth RTD Framework Programme, particularly the Key Action on "Sustainable marine ecosystems", which, he stated, would not only improve the implementation of marine research actions in European programmes, but would also lead to better coordination of national, regional and European actions in marine research and ocean management. The importance of marine R&D in the context of fisheries policies was highlighted by the Commission's Director-General for Fisheries, Mr. Antonio Cavaco, who stressed the importance of R&D in support of sustainable fisheries and in promoting the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. Other highlights of the conference included the announcement, by the Portuguese Research Minister, of plans for the creation of a European Maritime Agency, the presentation of results from a large number of projects, and discussions on a wide range of issues: from opportunities for SMEs in the Fifth RTD Framework Programme to improved dissemination and exploitation of research results.