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Portugal Twinning for innovation and excellence in marine science and Earth observation

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PORTWIMS (Portugal Twinning for innovation and excellence in marine science and Earth observation)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2022-08-31

PORTWIMS was a Twinning project with overall objective to enhance the science, technology and innovation profile of the Faculty of Sciences University of Lisbon (FCUL/FC.ID) and individual faculty members in marine sciences and Earth Observation (EO), through twinning with two leading marine institutes: the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) Germany, and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), UK.

In order to achieve this goal, the following objectives were undertaken:

o Collaborations between the twinned institutes through exchanges of personnel, and expert visits
o Summer schools focusing on intense training for MSc, PhD students and post-docs.
o Access to expensive research facilities through on-site training of FC.ID students at the twinned institutes and oceanic research cruises
o Preparation of European research proposals involving FC.ID/FCUL to raise profile in the EC Framework programme and in ESA and European Research Infrastructures
o Advice to the University of Lisbon on scientific innovation, applications of outputs for policy and governance, and exploitation of results for the purposes of knowledge-intensive services and products
o Activities to leave a long-term legacy of Research & Innovation enhancement beyond the end of the program.

PORTWIMS was severely impacted by the unprecedented COVID pandemic that prevented most travel over a two year period.
PORTWIMS was severely impacted by the COVID pandemic that prevented most travel over a 2 year period and the project was extended by 1 year.

The work performed was as follows:

WP1
- A KO meeting, Lisbon , progress meeting in Bremerhaven and final meeting in Plymouth were organized; a project steering group monitored progress and worked to mitigate effects of the pandemic on the project objectives

WP2
- 22 staff exchanges were held in person or virtually between FC.ID/FCUL and PML or AWI
- 32 Expert visits were organised with staff from PML or AWI visiting FC.ID/FCUL in person or virtually (with 11 associated with one-to-one mentoring and training on research vessels or at offsite training courses)

WP3
- Four summer schools were organized (one more than planned), with FC.ID/FCUL students & staff participating in intensive training and lecturing on: Copernicus marine data; Marine phytoplankton; Blue Growth & Innovation; and Advanced EO and Artificial Intelligence
- Two additional workshops organised on Ecosystem Services and on Impact
- 20 training exchanges were conducted of FC.ID/FCUL scientists visiting PML/AWI laboratories and/or prepare for participation in research cruises
- Participation of 5 FC.ID staff/students on three oceanographic cruises in the Atlantic: Atlantic-Meridional Transect, 2018 and 2019 and Polarstern, 2019.

WP4
- 17 proposals were submitted (well in excess of target of 4) for international funding, with 10 successful, bringing €684k new funding to FC.ID/FCUL including EC H2020 (3), ESA (3), EEA (1) and Eumetsat (1)
- 60 national (Portuguese) proposals submitted to FCT and national funding bodies with mixed success
- Involvement of FCUL in European international initiatives: Copernicus service evolution; Sentinel data exploitation and validation; core involvement in DANUBIUS-RI; and successful applications to Assemble+ and EuroFleets+
- successful proposal submission to the EEA (on Training for Employability and Technology in the Atlantic, TECATLANTIC) to set up a multidisciplinary integrated program of awareness, education and training to the different sectors of the blue economy
- 4 Collaboration agreements established with the business sector

WP5
- 58 papers were published that were supported by PORTWIMS (in excess of target)
- average impact factor (IF) of the publications increased from an average of 1.5-2 (before PORTWIMS) to 5, exceeding the initial IF target of 3
- 57 scientific conference attendances were undertaken (lower than the 75 expected primarily due to COVID)

WP6
- PORTWIMS activities were effectively communicated to the public through: the website (https://www.portwims.org) social media, newsletters, FCUL webpage, MARE centre webpage, and press releases.
The PORTWIMS SWOT analysis recognized a series of weaknesses hampering the scientific potential of FCUL/FC.ID EO and marine sciences. Key impacts have resulted as follows:

o Weak networking capabilities was addressed through PORTWIMS staff exchanges and expert visits, conference attendance, publications supported open access, summer schools and workshops

o Low involvement in the EC Framework programme addressed by involvement in 3 successful Horizon 2020 proposals

o Low Portuguese geo-return from European Space Agency addressed through 3 ESA and 1 Eumetsat proposals funded.

o Limited Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Marine Sciences was addressed in PORTWIMS
through meetings between Portuguese governmental institutes and funding entities and a PORTWIMS team leading to a Summer School dedicated to Innovation in Lisbon, June 2022
and through a successful EEC grant (TECATLANTIC) focussed on Blue Economy

o Limited employment opportunities for young researchers in Portugal addressed thru new funding supporting employment for 6 Portuguese early and mid-career researchers, plus 8 PhD students, as well as supporting existing staff.

PORTWIMS benefitted 75 staff and students at FC.ID/FCUL undertaking one or more activity such as Staff Exchanges, or Summer School attendance, or publication supported as first author or a combination thereof.

PORTWIMS supported 225 individual person-activities undertaken in the project.
Participants of the PORTWIMS Summer School in LIsbon, June 2019.
Carolina Sá, Giulia Sent, and Andreia Tracana, the three FC.ID researchers on board AMT29.
FC.ID scientist Carolina Sá on board AMT-29 operating the Coulter Counter during a staff exchange.
Mara Gomes lecturing POGO students in her laboratory during the PS120 cruise
Participants of the Helgolands Coastal Summer School 2019 with PORTWIMS lecturers.
A screenshot of the Portwims website main page.
A World map distribution showing the countries from where the PORTWIMS website has been viewed.
Main participants at the PORTWIMS Kick-off Meeting in Lisbon, 2018
A time series graph showing the monthly number of page views to the PORTWIMS website.
Flow Chart showing the PORTWIMS Work Package Structure