Maritime integration into one network that comprises new EU Member States and countries surrounding the EU, particularly Russia and the Ukraine, is pivotal for research exchange and a buoyant economy. The EU-funded Encomar - Transport project aimed to shore up this integration. Through enhanced maritime transport, the project sought to promote innovation and exchanges in and around Europe, furthering the European Research Area (ERA) and creating a powerhouse of research and development. This was enhanced by establishing an official Network of Maritime R&D National Contact Points in New Member States and Associated Candidate Countries, as well as in Russia and the Ukraine. Encomar - Transport identified the principle maritime actors in the various countries, conducting nine workshops and four brokerage events to encourage the potential of European maritime research. This enabled industrial actors and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to voice their interests, needs, skills and services to the EU research community and maritime industry, opening the door to enhanced collaboration in the sector. Overall, the project effectively gathered new knowledge about research policy in the maritime sector, fostering exchange of experiences and best practices relevant to the industry. By mapping the maritime clusters for nations concerned, it also set the stage for joint activities, ultimately strengthening European competitiveness through technological and scientific excellence on a formidable scale.