Towards a Baltic and North Sea research and innovation programme Activities shall focus on creating the necessary conditions for coordinated research and innovation efforts in the North Sea and Baltic Sea region in cooperation with BONUS by bringing together the main national funding agencies (programme owners and/or managers). They shall map and engage with relevant stakeholders in the region and especially further strengthen a possible new/successor programme with a sound North Sea component. Taking into account of existing commitments in relevant fora the activity shall focus on the preparation and delivery of a Joint Baltic-North Sea Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, the creation of conditions (governance, management, financial, legal aspects and administration) and the development of an effective mechanism for its implementation, showing a strong commitment to achieve a sound level of integration (scientific, management and financial). Furthermore, they shall ensure visibility and broad involvement of the scientific community, public authorities, decision makers, and other stakeholders (including industry) in the region. The action shall facilitate consultation, awareness and commitment by all parties involved. The action shall also prepare and launch a long-term partnership ensuring appropriate funding from all the relevant participating states and a high leveraging effect. Finally, the action shall demonstrate the rationale of the initiative, EU added value, clearly identifying the problems that it proposes to tackle, likely impacts (scientific and technological, economic, social, environmental including climate-change, administrative, impacts on SMEs and on competitiveness and innovation) and main drivers. Synergies and harmonisation should be sought with other relevant ongoing national, regional, EU and international initiatives and institutions such as the Joint Programming Initiative ‘Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans’, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR Convention), the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), etc. In agreement with the Commission services, projects should ensure appropriate flexibility so as to respond in real time to potentially fast-changing policy scenarios.The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 2.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be adequately addressed. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. The northern seas of Europe - the Baltic Sea and the North Sea - are at the forefront of the global surge to enhance and realise marine and maritime potential. This enormous economy is directly and critically dependent on the quality and extent of the ecosystem services provided by the two regional seas and their coasts. In order to foster understanding of these coastal seas and the sustainable use of their goods and services (within the context of the EU Blue Growth Strategy, related policies and environmental legislation) challenges need to be addressed such as: fragmentation among nations and sectors, gaps in interdisciplinary knowledge, inadequate information on potential synergies and trade-offs between different sectors and the environment (including climate change issues), insufficient exchange of knowledge among scientists, industries and policy makers, and a need to increase attention to the societal inclusiveness and human well-being. To address these challenges, it is recognised that a significant and well-coordinated research effort between these two regional seas is necessary. BONUS, the Joint Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme, implemented under Article 185 of the TFEU, has already progressed towards consolidating such efforts among the Baltic Sea Member States. There is now an expressed interest and willingness to prepare conditions for launching a broader European North Sea and Baltic Sea Research and Innovation Programme. In order to contribute to the implementation of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy, the EU Blue Growth Strategy, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, the EU International Ocean Governance Communication, the EU Communication for a Sustainable European Future and other EU initiatives such as the Blue Growth Agenda for the Baltic Sea Region, Blue Growth and North Sea related activities, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and the UN SDGs, activities shall contribute to the following:In the short term: Overcome fragmentation in research and innovation by developing a joint Baltic-North Sea Marine and Maritime Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda by the Baltic Sea and the North Sea countries. Create lasting marine and maritime stakeholder platforms and integration mechanisms in the area, and establishing appropriate stakeholder collaboration mechanisms between the North Sea and Baltic Sea regions. In the medium term: Create a framework and deliver the necessary mechanisms, based on experience gained by the current BONUS and other equivalent initiatives, for developing a European Baltic-North Sea Research and Innovation Programme. Contribute to improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy. Contribute to policymaking in research, innovation and technology.