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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PORTWIMS (Portugal Twinning for innovation and excellence in marine science and Earth observation)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-11-30

European Twinning projects serve to directly promote research in countries that are lower performing compared to the average in Europe. PORTWIMS is one such Twinning project, which has the goal to enhance the science, technology and innovation profile of the University of Lisbon Faculty of Sciences (FC.ID) and its individual faculty staff members, through twinning with two leading institutes in the field: the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Germany, and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), in the United Kingdom.

In order to achieve this goal, the following objectives were established:
• Undertake collaborations between the twinned institutes through exchanges of personnel, and expert visits focusing on one-to-one mentoring.
• Organize summer schools focusing on MSc, PhD students and post-docs.
• Exploit the access to expensive research institutes through on-site training of FC.ID students at the twinned institutes;
• Preparation of research proposals involving FC.ID with the twinned institutes and European-level projects;
• Provide 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.
• To leave a long-term legacy of Research & Innovation enhancement beyond the end of the program.

Tasks in the first reporting period have been completed and tasks for the second reporting period are planned or underway
The main activities during this first reporting period, RP1 (1 September 2018 until 30 November 2019) can be summarized as follows:

• A Kick-off meeting in Lisbon and an annual progress meeting in Bremerhaven were organized, allowing for preparation, assessment, and planning of activities and collaborations between all participating members.
• Ten training exchanges were conducted for FC.ID young scientists to train at the laboratories of PML and AWI and/or prepare for participation in research cruises such as the annual Atlantic-Meridional Transect (AMT) cruise and the South-North Atlantic Transect (SoNoAT). Furthermore, participation in future cruises has been planned (namely, participation in the AWI Heincke Arctic cruise (July 2020) and PML AMT (March 2021)
• Participation of five FC.ID young scientists in three oceanographic cruises along the Atlantic, namely AMT in 2018 and 2019 and Polarstern in 2019.
• Two FC.ID students participated in high-profile conferences outside of Portugal, where ongoing research performed at FC.ID was presented by the students;
• Steve Groom, PML had an expert visit to FC.ID and presented a seminar related to PML research to Lisbon staff and students and worked with FCUL staff on a €3M Horizon 2020 proposal.
• Dr. Eberhard Sauter (AWI) had an expert visit to FC.ID where Dr. Sauter participated in a comprehensive program of meetings with several Portuguese government institutions, private companies and funding entities, discussing knowledge transfer gaps in Portuguese marine sciences. The visit plan was organized by Prof. José Guerreiro, who participated in all meetings, together with Prof. Vanda Brotas
• Four staff exchanges where Prof. Vanda Brotas travelled to PML and AWI to coordinate future collaborations and exchanges in an effort to raise FC.ID’s involvement in high-profile research
• Two summer schools were organized (one more than originally planned), inviting students from FC.ID and other institutions to participate in intensive training and lecturing: one summer school organized by FC.ID in Lisbon, with staff from PML participating, and one summer school organized by AWI at the Helgoland research site, involving a number of FC.ID students and involving AWI training infrastructure and faculty.
• Six proposals were submitted for international funding, with five successful: three were related with Earth Observation: this is well in advance of that expected in the first reporting period:
o Horizon 2020 “Copernicus Evolution: Research for harmonised Transitional water Observation” (CERTO): a three-year project led by PML, with ten European institutions (started on 1 January 2020) where FC.ID leads two Work Packages.
o European Space Agency “Sentinel-5p+ Innovation”, Two-year project lead by AWI, with FC.ID as partner, funded by (ESA) (starting July 2019) and
o Eumetsat (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites “Multi-mission Ocean Colour Algorithm Prototyping” (OMAPS) a two-year project lead by PML with FC.ID as partner, starting July 2019.
o H2020 “Climate change and future marine ecosystems services and biodiversity”. (FutureMares)
o European Space Agency “Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative CCI+ Phase 1” (OC-CCI+)

• Two co-authored papers between partners were published open-access. More publications are being prepared to be published before the end of the project
• Joint supervision of Portuguese PhD students is being planned for the next PhD applications of University of Lisbon
FC.ID and AWI participated in an intercalibration exercise related to chromatographic analysis of phytoplankton pigments. FC.ID aims to obtain international recognition to be able to develop a start-up providing these analyses as services.
• All PORTWIMS activities were effectively communicated to the public through the appropriate means, such as the official website (https://www.portwims.org) social media, newsletters, webpage of Faculty of Sciences University of Lisbon, MARE centre webpage, and press releases that have been prepared specifically for the project’s communication.
The PORTWIMS proposal SWOT analysis recognized a series of weaknesses hampering the scientific potential of FC.ID marine sciences. From the 6 points identified, key actions have been taken and we can say that we have made crucial developments, namely:

• Weak networking capabilities & low involvement in the EC Framework programmes
PORTWIMS action: networking capabilities have improved, and the result is clear in the number of successful proposals funded: 5 out of 6.

• Low Portuguese contribution to European Space Agency (so low geo-return)
PORTWIMS has actively contributed to increase the Portuguese geo-return with 2 funded ESA proposals.

• Marine Sciences have not promoted Entrepreneurship and Innovation, hence mismatch between research and innovation
PORTWIMS is addressing this complex problem. As a result of the meetings between Portuguese governmental institutes and funding entities and a PORTWIMS team (including Dr Sauter, AWI, visiting FC.ID on an expert visiting) a Summer School dedicated to Innovation is planned for in Lisbon, June 2020,.