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STRengthening MARritime Technology Research Center

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - STRONGMAR (STRengthening MARritime Technology Research Center)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-12-31

INESC TEC is strongly committed to become a center of excellence in maritime technology and, in particular, deep-sea technology. It is strategically located, with fast access to deep-sea; it has been steadily building up its skills, capabilities and resources, and is presently in the process of implementing an open research infrastructure.
The STRONGMAR project aims at creating solid and productive links in the global field of marine science and technology between INESC TEC and established leading research European institutions, capable of enhancing the scientific and technological capacity of INESC TEC and linked institutions, helping raising its staff’s research profile and its recognition as a European maritime research center of excellence.
These objectives will be fulfilled through a set of measures: summer and winter schools, thematic workshops, scientific conferences, technology transfer workshops with stakeholders, short-term scientific meetings, long-term staff visits, networking meetings, and other dissemination activities.
INESC TEC (Portugal) coordinates the STRONGMAR project, and the consortium comprises five partners with multidisciplinary and complementary competencies, and with excellence in their scientific and technological areas of expertise: CINTAL (Portugal), Heriot-Watt University (Scotland), NATO Science & Technology Organization (Belgium), Universitat de Girona (Spain), University of Aberdeen (Scotland, United Kingdom).
WP1 – Management
Since the beginning of the project, the STRONGMAR project was expected to produce and submit to the European Commission 15 deliverables until December 2018, which report the project’s activities of all the work packages, all have been submitted.
The STRONGMAR project was expected to achieve five milestones: MS1 (Project launch/kickoff meeting), MS2 (First SIAB KPIs evaluation), MS3 (Mid-term review with the EC), MS4 (Second SIAB KPIs evaluation) and MS5 (SIAB evaluation on the positive impacts on the Region and Member State). The last one wasn’t achieved due to the busy agenda of the SIAB members.
According to the intellectual property development and management plan, INESC TEC has been assessing the outputs of the work conducted within marine science and technology related projects. As a result of the continuous assessment process, we have been seeking proper IP protection (by patents) of the outputs generated by the projects. During the STRONGMAR project we submitted six IP protection processes.
The Scientific and Innovation Advisory Board (SIAB) of the STRONGMAR project was created in 2017 and worked in close cooperation with INESC TEC towards the improvement of the policies implemented at each research centre concerning the marine science and technology area.
The R&D teams of INESC TEC produced 98 publications in the fields addressed by the STRONGMAR project (marine science and technology), in particular, 8 journal papers and 63 in conference proceedings.
WP2 – Reinforcement of scientific and technological potential
The STRONGMAR project organized three yearly summer schools: Summer School on Introduction to Advanced Marine Technologies, Summer School in Underwater marine environment perception and Summer School in Deep sea marine environment perception and operation.
Five winter schools were also organized during the project, one at Aberdeen , Scotland (Winter School on Underwater sensing science), two at Girona, Spain (Winter School on Underwater vision and robotics, Winter School on Advanced underwater perception), one in La Spezia, Italy (Winter School on Underwater system and communications science ), one in Edinburgh, Scotland (Winter School on Advanced autonomous marine operations).
The proposed 24 short-term scientific meetings (STSM) were expected to last for one week, and were designed to foster discussions and promote new joint research activities, and allow the exchange of know-how, experience and best practices among partners. We decided to concentrate them on the second (2017) and third year (2018) of the project. A total of eight STSM occurred with that

WP3 – Raising research profile
The networking meetings are designed to promote the launching of joint research initiatives, such as the preparation of project proposals and research contracts, and other initiatives that may raise INESC TEC’s research profile and/or increase the visibility of INESC TEC. So far, three of the proposed six networking meetings already took place in Norway, Scotland and Portugal.
The thematic workshops programmed for 2017 and 2018 were designed to provide faster scientific exchange mechanisms, by bringing together small to medium groups of researchers around specific topics and will be carried out at the partner’s locations. A total of four thematic workshops were organize: TW1: Deep communications, TW2: Sensing the deep sea, TW3: Underwater distributed perception and TW4: Robotics for underwater mining – from exploration to exploitation.
The three scientific conferences were designed to increase the visibility of INESC TEC and to improve the skills of its staff. They were organized by INESC TEC and took place at Porto (Portugal) during the national sea day, 16th November. “2016 STRONGMAR conference – A sea of science” and “2018 STRONGMAR conference – A sea of innovation” took place within the BUSINESS2SEA, which is a major sea-related event taking place in Portugal every year. On 2017 this event was anticipated to June, but we decided to maintain the date so “2017 STRONGMAR conference – A sea of technology” was held independently.
WP4 – Exploitation and outreach
The general dissemination activities comprised initial tasks like the design and development of the brand image, the document templates, the brochure, the fact sheet, the newsletter and the website. Based on these, the general dissemination activities involved content creation and management (mainly for the newsletter and the website) and press relations.
We sent 33 editions of the newsletter, communicating the core activities of the STRONGMAR project.
Nevertheless, the website – whose domain is – was the key communication channel of the STRONGMAR project. The main communication targets were the general public, our stakeholders and the project’s partners.
INESC TEC’s activities related with robotics and marine science and technology benefited from a significant press coverage (mainly at Portugal).
Besides, we also published 7 news and 1 event at the CORDIS website related with the STRONGMAR project, and issued 9 press releases related with INESC TEC’s robotics and marine science and technology activities.
The participation in international scientific events is an important instrument to disseminate scientific results and to obtain feedback from peers, and a privileged forum for networking and for obtaining scientific intelligence. INESC TEC attended 32 international scientific events (in Portugal and abroad), including 4 events that were co-organized by INESC TEC. Besides, INESC TEC attended 14 international trade fairs related with robotics and marine science and technology, 4 as a visitor and 10 as an exhibitor.