The ALFF project, supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie innovative training network (ITN), aimed to better understand algal biology and its role in how the ecosystem functions. The team specifically studied and monitored both beneficial and harmful microbes, collectively known as the algal microbiome. ALFF was an international cooperation aimed at training early-stage researchers in the field, advancing algal cultivation and contributing to new biocontrol strategies. Project partners worked to identify naturally occurring algal symbionts and pathogens and characterise their interactions through state-of-the-art genomics, molecular and biochemical techniques. Importantly, one of the PhD researchers within the training network, Kathryn Morrissey, was seconded from Ghent University to a university in Turkey where she was able to conduct part of her research on algae. Essential knowledge generated during ALFF will help address the challenges associated with the commercial exploitation of algae and enhance the rapidly developing algal aquaculture industry. The second project highlighted is the GreenBubbles project, dedicated to maximising the benefits associated with diving, while minimising its negative impacts. The aim was to achieve environmental, economic and social sustainability in scuba diving. This Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) project produced a comprehensive set of guidelines and recommendations, a quality labelling system for the diving industry and an innovative underwater 3D mapping approach. This consists of new devices and online tools for use by researchers, managers of Marine Protected Areas, dive operators and citizen scientists. The project co-created a number of programmes linking diving, citizen science and ocean literacy. It also released a VR gaming experience and an online database and tool dedicated to diving safety. The knowledge generated during the project was used to develop new or improved services, devices and tools, which targeted areas for the sustainable expansion of the diving sector. A set of tools linked ocean literacy and citizen science with scuba diving, and included a modular teaching manual stemming from school curricula and official diving training programmes, a suite of university-level courses, and ‘train-the-trainers’ activities. Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) are another type of project, supporting research policy, funding cooperation or networking. The first example of a CSA is Oceans 2, which contributed to the first developments of the Joint Programming Initiative on ‘Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans’ (JPI Oceans), building further on the outcomes of the 7th Framework Programme’s first CSA Oceans project. JPI Oceans is an intergovernmental platform, established in 2011, that currently consists of 20 member countries, including Romania and Turkey which border the Black Sea. It adds to the value of national research and innovation investments by aligning national priorities and implementing joint actions. The CSA supported the implementation of joint transnational activities, facilitated the organisation of activities with stakeholders, information management and outreach, and provided a framework for evaluating, assessing and monitoring joint actions. Finally, BioHorizon (including Moldova and Turkey) and NCPs CaRE (including Moldova) are two networking CSA projects for National Contact Points (NCPs) for research. They created a network of NCPs to significantly strengthen transnational cooperation, enabling all NCPs to share knowledge through distributed knowledge and collective development and training. This increases the mutual understanding of different approaches and requirements in the daily work of an NCP, including complex and multidisciplinary aspects of Horizon 2020.
ALFF, GreenBubbles, Oceans 2, BioHorizon, NCPs CaRE, diving, algae, networking, Black Sea