Integration of European marine research networks of excellence - Euromarine
405 30 Goeteborg
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
€ 160 714
Ludde Edgren (Dr.)
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Grant agreement ID: 265099
1 February 2011
31 July 2013
€ 1 198 853,80
€ 999 636
Integrating European marine research
CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT
The 'Integration of European marine research networks of excellence - Euromarine' (EUROMARINE) project brought together leading marine scientists and research organisations. By joining together three earlier initiatives (EUROCEANS, MARINE GENOMICS and MARBEF), a major international network for the marine sciences was created. An interdisciplinary approach enabled new emerging areas of research to be identified, where collaboration between disciplines will be particularly fruitful. It is hoped that these 'trading zones' can lead to major discoveries in epigenetics, chronobiology, and the sustainable use of marine resources and ecosystems. Integration of research spanning fields from genes to ecosystems enabled scientists to gain a clearer picture of how marine organisms and marine ecosystems function. This allowed them to determine how different factors affect biodiversity, and to understand how populations and species adapt to a changing environment. Knowledge generated through biodiversity research will benefit areas such as sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and marine biotechnology. Other applications of EUROMARINE results include natural products and pharmaceuticals for biomedicine and human health, industrial processes and clean energy. EUROMARINE covered three key areas: understanding marine ecosystems, scenarios for changing oceans and the use of marine science to drive innovation. The insights gained will serve as a basis for the foundation of the long-term sustainable management of the oceans. The research platform created will promote the sharing of facilities, thereby increasing economic efficiency. It will also increase collaboration and the integration of research among scientists as they conduct their work at institutes different from their own. This in turn will support the European Research Area (ERA). Thanks to EUROMARINE, integrated research will provide a rich and diverse source of the best expertise and innovation available in Europe, capable of responding to societal needs and environmental demands while promoting well-being. It will help ensure the sustainable development and exploitation of our fragile marine ecosystems, and provide expert advice for environmental managers and policymakers.
Grant agreement ID: 265099
1 February 2011
31 July 2013
€ 1 198 853,80
€ 999 636
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Final Report Summary - EUROMARINE (Integration of European marine research networks of excellence - Euromarine)
On completion of the EuroMarine coordinated action project, members of three former marine FP6 Networks of Excellence (EUR-OCEANS, MarBEF, Marine Genomics Europe), or their follow-up structures (EUR-OCEANS Consortium, MarBEF+) was invited to join a new integrated, durable consortium, EuroMarine+, designed to include the leading marine Institutes, laboratories and scientists in Europe. Day to day operation of Euromarine+ will be as a legal entity (Stitching under Dutch law) involving fewer partners and placed under control of the Consortium. Member fees will secure a budget to carry out a set of core activities.
As its motto – From genes to ecosystems in changing oceans – indicates EuroMarine+ will cover the complete spectrum of marine science, with a membership that includes climate scientists, ocean modelers, biogeochemists, ecologists, ecophysiologists, cell and molecular biologists and genomicists. It will also link with social sciences and economists. EuroMarine+ will thus represent a unique source of expertise to address complex scientific questions which require an integrated strategy across a wide range of disciplines, and which typically underlie pressing environmental issues and challenges facing Europe and the world. EuroMarine+ will be in a unique position to bring together experts and offer the strategic framework needed to assess climate and global change impacts on marine ecosystems, to explore possible future ecosystem states under different scenarios or policy options and thus serve as a European marine focal point for the newly launched Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Within EuroMarine, a group of world-class marine scientists has already developed a common vision and research strategy for EuroMarine+ and the next 10 years, including three key areas:
• Understanding Marine Ecosystems for Healthy Oceans
• Building scenarios for changing oceans
• Marine science as a provider of new concepts and as a driver for innovation
The knowledge generated, particularly within the so-called ‘trading zones’ where collaboration between disciplines will be particularly fruitful, will have important societal implications and impact. For example in the case of smart coastal zone planning, in order to achieve food security and sustainability by improved management of climate- and human-induced changes to marine food webs on one hand, and better productivity and efficiency for the improved application of marine aquaculture on the other hand. In addition, basic research in Euromarine+ will underpin “blue biotechnology” with more efficient discovery and application of natural products and pharmaceuticals for biomedicine and human health, industrial processes, clean energy and environmental sustainability. Such activities will require improved training and education programmes fit for the 21st Century; Top EuroMarine+ academics will be well-placed to deliver high-quality education programmes suited to the jobs that “Blue-Biotech” and efficient management and planning will increasingly generate.
To ensure cost effectiveness and efficient sharing of best practices or research strategies driven by societal needs, EuroMarine + will:
• Work closely with ESFRI programmes such as EMBRC, EMSO and Euro-Argo on the efficient use of expensive infrastructures,
• Work closely with the ERC, Marine Board and ESFRI on common strategic priorities
• Support the development of programmes established by the JPI Healthy Seas and Oceans,
Lastly, EuroMarine+ will carry out activities (e.g. exploratory workshops, conferences or courses on key topics, position papers) and pursue medium to long-term goals (e.g. improved data accessibility and interoperability, communication channels or web services) that will forge a strong shared identity and a better web environment, together with improved understanding of the societal importance of marine discovery and ecosystem health, for Europe’s marine scientists, policy makers and the public at large.
Project Context and Objectives:
EuroMarine is a FP7 coordination and support action designed to bring together the three FP6 marine Networks of Excellence (NoE) communities; EUR-OCEANS, MarBEF and Marine Genomics Europe. In doing so, EuroMarine will provide a rich and diverse source of the best expertise and innovation available in European Marine Research, that can respond rapidly to societal needs, environmental demands, well-being and sustainability.
As the last frontier on planet Earth our seas and oceans are still relatively unexplored, but are being increasingly exploited for their oil, gas, mineral and biological resources. Exploration and sustainable exploitation of the marine environment are enormous challenges that require new knowledge from the natural sciences together with good management approaches based on social, economic and political sciences. Many questions in marine research can only be answered using multidisciplinary methodologies, from the molecular level with genomics and other new emerging technologies integrated together with an ecological, physical and biogeochemical ecosystem approach. This will allow us to address novel questions in marine research, paving the way to new and more integrated knowledge systems that impact the way human society deals with the oceans. The challenge of EuroMarine will be to bring marine sciences into the multidisciplinary perspectives of the 21st century. The scientific theme of EuroMarine “From Genes to Ecosystems” reflects this dynamic development based on the emergence of systems biology, new observational, analytical and modelling tools, new learning environments and better integration of the natural and social sciences. The EuroMarine consortium will build and strengthen a community of marine scientists from several hundred marine laboratories at institutes and universities in Europe, building the academic foundation for marine research that is the base for innovation.
The main objectives are:
• develop a roadmap for common programming of research activities
• create synergies between different scientific fields
• move towards an integrated research strategy and shared vision for the oceans of tomorrow
• facilitate the long-term integration of data, historical, present and future
EuroMarine main results
Marine Research Strategy
EuroMarine is designed to bring together the three FP6 marine Networks of Excellence (NoE) communities; EUR-OCEANS, MarBEF and Marine Genomics Europe. In doing so, EuroMarine will provide a rich and diverse source of the best expertise and innovation available in European Marine Research, that can respond rapidly to societal needs, environmental demands, well-being and sustainability. EuroMarine will develop a common vision on research priorities and a common research strategy based on a shared vision for the oceans, regional seas and coasts of tomorrow, in order to create a strong marine R&D leadership for Europe based on scientific excellence. For this purpose, two workshops were organized with about 30 scientists from the three former FP6 NoEs communities. The first took place in Roscoff, France, from 11‐13 July 2011 and the second in Sète, France from 1-3 February 2012. The first workshop combined scientific presentations, general discussions and parallel working group meetings and led to the definition of three main research areas identified as key strategic scientific drivers for the future of Marine Sciences in Europe, based on the combined and comprehensive expertise of the large Euromarine Community.
During the second workshop key emerging fields were recognized, as well as exemplifying strategic issues common to the three NoEs communities and strongly requiring combined expertise for being addressed. These emerging fields are fully in line with the trading zone concept, which describes how exchanges across disciplinary boundaries and interdisciplinary collaborations can lead to new emerging concepts and new discoveries. They illustrate the added value of integrating the three former NoE scientific communities into one single consortium, namely Euromarine+, and they inform and provide targeted priority actions, for example, the organization of specific exploratory workshops:
1- Intra-generational (plasticity) and intergenerational (adaptation) evolution and forecasting of living marine resources. Contribution of genetic adaptation, including epigenetics, in ecological decadal time frames;
2- Complex interactions including tipping points, regime shifts and shifting assemblages;
3- Effects of global warming, acidification, sea level rise, hypoxia and biodiversity change on ecosystems;
4- Marine rhythms of life and their alterations. Chronobiology at tidal, diurnal, seasonal, annual and decadal scales: from molecule to ecosystem function;
5- Valuation of goods and services delivered by marine ecosystems;
6- Restoration and conservation of sustainable marine ecosystems.
This work has enabled the preparation of a report describing the strategy of Euromarine research that has been published and widely disseminated to the scientific community and to the relevant authorities.
Main points of the strategy report
Area 1- Understanding Marine Ecosystems for healthy oceans
• Determine the combined impact of many stressors – ranging from the environmental drivers to the human activities - which act differently according to locality and ecosystem, and with species- and life cycle/ stage-dependent effects - in order to predict future changes and to design and prioritize mitigation policies;
• Understand the resilience of marine ecosystems in general and food webs in particular, including the role of top down food web regulation and its vulnerability through global change including acidification and overfishing. This includes how adaptive processes will change species characteristics and therefore ecosystem functioning under increasing selective pressures.
• Understand the impacts of environmental change on marine ecosystem functioning and health;
• Sustain and restore marine ecosystem functioning and health.
Area 2- Building Scenarios for Changing oceans
• Develop and improve the predictive capabilities of a hierarchy of models to their full potential together with the use of a suite of integrated environmental, biogeochemical, and ecosystem end-to-end models to explore the range and extent of possible future ecosystem states under different scenarios;
• In order to meet the societal needs of preserving ecosystem services, a wide range of scenarios over long (50 - 100 year) time horizons for the future state of marine ecosystems need to be taken into account. Policy makers and stakeholders need to understand the fundamental uncertainties associated with predictive models and complex systems, the services associated with ecosystems and biodiversity, and the risks associated with degradation or loss of the latter. They also need to engage with scientists in iterative exercises for the construction of scenarios for regulatory or target state options or the evolution of drivers of environmental change and ecosystem dynamics.
• Combine disciplines to address complex questions and include key processes in models (scaling up from organismal processes to ecosystem functions and services);
• Define and implement a common strategy for next generation ocean and end-to-end ecosystem models;
• Develop and promote interoperability and free access to the great variety of structured observation/ data/information systems presently available in marine sciences;
• Use narrative scenarios to link socio-ecological scientific issues and to inform stakeholders;
• Promote scenario laboratories at the European level in order to facilitate communication, comprehension and discussion of available information and possible scenarios between stakeholders and the scientific community;
• Provide a European marine focal point and resource centre for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Area 3- Marine Science as a Provider of New Concepts and Driver for Innovation and Technology
• Unlock the potential of the marine realm through the development of marine research to discover and develop new biological models/concepts and to incorporate new discoveries into biomedicine, biotechnological applications as well as ecosystem models;
• Better understand fundamental life processes and special adaptations, from molecular to whole organism levels;
• Improve understanding of the importance and impact of marine discovery to the benefit of society;
• Satisfy the increasing need for marine-derived products, including food, biomedical and biotechnology products, energy and ores;
• Provide new services, including recycling and bioremediation.
• Facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction to underpin the exploration/discovery of marine organisms, systems and processes;
• Create innovative fundamental and strategic research through cross-disciplinary teams to address the key scientific and societal needs;
• Promote integration and synthesis in the trading zone. A common overarching challenge is to empower society through training, education and outreach; reinforce quantitative techniques for students and maximize the impact of research through a strong knowledge exchange program.
Marine Research Infrastructures
One aim of EuroMarine was to develop plans for an operational large-scale network of research infrastructures and sites, and promote shared use and access, over all European seas and coastlines building on the achievements of the marine NoE’s; EUR-OCEANs, MarBEF, and MGE. This action was aimed at facilitating a better exploitation of existing facilities and infrastructures and the fine-tuning and improvement of the access mechanisms and necessary and required state of the art technologies in European marine infrastructures.
This action was developed in collaboration with other NoEs, such as EsoNet, and more recently developed research infrastructure (I3 and ESFRI) initiatives such as LifeWatch, ASSEMBLE, EMBRC, EUROFLEETS, SeasEra, and the Ocean Facilities Exchange Group. In all cases careful analyses of the needs and requirements of users were assessed.
The function of these initiatives is to strengthen the knowledge-based within the community (by training, exchange programmes, shared access and use). Through the connected/related infrastructures the community will be better capable of assessing, and thereby promoting, insight as to the status and long-term changes of the marine realm and the possible causes due to natural and anthropogenic influences. This is vital for the sustainable development of European marine ecosystems as a unique resource for basic biology, ecology, and aquaculture, together with the continued protection of marine ecosystem health.
In contrast to the other networks, most of them with a stronger focus to institutes with genomic tools, larger ships (incl. ocean-going vessels), larger infrastructures (mesocosms, data acquisition systems as buoys, satellites, data-centres), and with aquaculture or fisheries (and blue ocean, marine renewable energy), EuroMarine has focused on a general overview including smaller individual institutions and smaller facilities and infrastructures, with an emphasis on ecology and on marine biodiversity observation (incl. taxonomy) and related user access aspects.
Due to the different focus, EuroMarine is distinct from, and complementary, to the other actions.
The objectives were:
1. To promote the integration, and update, of available information on marine research infrastructures and sites that can be made available to the marine science community
2. To stimulate the further development of the network of European observatory sites and sensors
3. To improve user access to infrastructures and sites
The main instruments to reach these goals were surveys (questionnaires), workshops, and networking/liaison activities.
EuroMarine conducted two surveys that were distributed through the networks of the 3 NoE’s.
A first survey was held on the available facilities and infrastructures at individual institutions and their suitability for biodiversity observation (the latter in cooperation with EMBOS). In total 63 surveys were returned. The second survey was held on user access modalities. Based on this information, insight was gained on the availability, and ways to promote the shared use, of facilities in Europe. Also for this survey 63 responses were received. In general two categories of providers of facilities can be recognized that have participated in the survey:
1. Members of large infra structural networks that can offer trans-national access sponsored by external funds (EC funding in I3 projects like EMBRC, or national for Infrastructures like LifeWatch)
2. Individual institutes that offer access to their facilities of observatories.
Mainly larger institutes, receiving considerable regional or EC funding, participate in the first category. The somewhat smaller institutes that mainly depend on national, or even local funding, are not part of these networks (and consequently the use of their facilities are not externally supported).
Although this finding might be an artifact of the survey (the fact that an institute is participating in an infrastructure does imply EC funding), it also could mean that for smaller institutes it is difficult to enter these kinds of networks as an active partner (full member).
The potential separation of larger and smaller institutions, i.e. exclusion of smaller institutions from large scale networking, might be solved in a dedicated action by EuroMarine. Bottom up initiatives, like EuroMarine are an important platform for these institutes to get in contact with the main players at the ESFRI and/or I3 level and to promote access for the category of smaller facilities.
Although it is obvious that expensive facilities are scarcer than more basic facilities, in general the more high-tech facilities are more abundant in the north-western part of the EU than in the southern part (with a few exceptions).
In cooperation with the COST action EMBOS a pan-European network of marine observatories is in development. Because the coverage of observatories in some regions could be improved during the course of the project, the present network of sites will be able to facilitate marine biodiversity observations and research in all regions of Europe up to a pan-European scale.
Although the network in its initial phase strives to structure its network along the most un-impacted sites, at a later stage a suite of sites, suffering from human impact, need to be added to distinguish human impact from natural dynamics and/or climate change.
The network of observatories can 1fulfill an important role within the MSFD, by describing the ‘Good Environmental Status’, and help with the way these goals are described from the perspective of marine biodiversity and or non-commercial (but important) species.
The further development of a network on observatories and facilities will need additional support and discussions have initiated at the level of I3 and ESFRI through participation in workshops in Brussels (EC Directorate B.3 Research Infrastructure meeting “Towards a roadmap for biodiversity and ecosystem research in Europe”, 19-20 March 2013 and CSA Oceans (JPI Oceans support action) Stakeholder Consultation Workshop on Marine Research Infrastructures, 5 June 2013) on inclusion of the topic in the Horizon 2020 programme.
In the meantime cooperation with the Jerico-FP7 project has begun, to develop a common strategy tin order to prevent duplication of effort and formulation of a single vision (supported by Jerico and EuroMarine).
In general, providers use three ways to promote access to their facilities: though the Internet, with flyers and mailings, and personal communication. Obviously the Internet is the cheapest way to promote access, but success can vary. Personal communication seems to have more success, but depends on possibilities to present the infrastructure/facility at meetings.
EuroMarine can provide a platform for this communication in the future. Apart from reports on research at meetings and other activities of the network (EuroMarine) itself, openings should be created for the promotion of research facilities.
Discussions during the EuroMarine dedicated workshops revealed that there is a possible mismatch between the demand and supply of offered facilities. Some infrastructural projects suffer from this. A minority of the offered facilities receive much more applications for access that the other majority of, yet similar, facilities. This indicates that there is some kind of (marketing) psychology that interferes with the process between the supply and demand of facilities that should be better studied. A possible way to cope with the mismatch between supply and demand is to carry out a subsequent analysis of the user needs.
A comment made by many participants in the EuroMarine and EMBOS activities, is that, although there is a wealth of possible facilities that could be used, there is a lack of basic internal resources for the users to use facilities (like budgets for travel and subsistence, and funds to compensate for the time needed to carry out the research at the sites). These costs are not eligible for e.g. the transnational access activities within I3 projects. Integration of these costs, i.e. to declare these costs eligible, would increase transnational activities. It remains a matter of dispute whether these costs should be included in these types of facilitating activities, the dispute being fed by principles (there should be own investment to demonstrate interest in the offered facility) and/or legal constraints (the project acting as a kind of broker of EC funding for non-participants).
SCIENTIFIC DATA INTEGRATION
Data integration is at the top of the challenging agenda for many marine activities and varies from gene sequencing to ocean physico-chemical data. EuroMarine aims to influence European marine data management to obtain long-term integration of data sets. In order to do, so a vision document was prepared having the following objectives:
• Describe the landscape of marine biological data in Europe, identifying the various communities, initiatives and types of information in need of integration.
• Propose methods to improve integration of marine biological data in Europe and internationally.
• Propose mechanisms leading to institutional commitments towards the implementation and funding of the proposed integration methods.
It has also been recognized by EuroMarine that there is a need to link data across disciplines from the point of data collection and key recommendations are:
1. Marine stations/institutes/labs should establish a sample tracking system based on barcodes
2. Metadata need to be stored electronically following established standards
3. Solutions for long‐term storage of specimens, tissue samples and DNA extracts are needed
4. Access to data needs to be guaranteed via defined exchange languages (e.g. based on XML)
5. Incentives for publication of data with clear feedback mechanisms need to be implemented and propagated
6. Explosion of (micro)‐standards and (small) databases needs to be avoided
7. Access to integrated data needs to be established, including easy retrieval of combined datasets
8. Interdisciplinary training of scientists is essential to enable knowledge generation in environmental sciences
Develop a vision for data integration in marine science
Institutes from the former NoEs were consulted via an electronic survey about their knowledge and use of several data systems currently available in marine science. The inventory of available systems and the results of the survey are available on the project website.
A “Vision paper for data integration in marine science” taking into account the latest developments in the community, e.g. EMODNET, Micro B3, Tara-Oceans and the Green paper on Marine Knowledge 2020 was discussed and drafted during a Workshop that was held in Bremen on 21-24 May 2013. This document provides vision statements and recommendations about the implementation of (1) The concept of EuroMarine’s Web Environment; (2) Scholarly services including data integration; (3) Social networks; (4) Directory and archive services; (5) News services and (6) Education and training services.
Link data across disciplines from the point of data collection
Workshops were held during the 2011 and 2012 Genomic Standards Consortium Meetings in Bremen (27 September 2011) and Oxford (21 September 2012). The workshops brought together international speakers to talk about data acquisition and sampling as well as data exchange and standardisation. In addition to the international speakers there were members of EuroMarine and other marine and standards‐related projects. The workshops were very productive with enlightening talks on many aspects related to data management from the time of sampling to data integration.
Link ontologies and vocabularies across disciplines during data curation
A workshop was held in parallel with the kickoff meeting of SeaDataNet II (Athens, 18 October 2011), bringing together 8 experts in the development of ontologies and controlled vocabularies (VLIZ/WoRMS, PANGAEA, NERC/BODC, EMBL-EBI, MPI-MM and MMI) and 6 data users from HCMR (Athens and Crete marine labs) across the fields of molecular biology, biodiversity and ecology in marine science. Participants discussed current developments and use of vocabularies & ontologies in the three fields and proposed methods to bridge current developments. Further work in this direction was carried out by Euromarine partners through the EMODNet-Biology, MicroB3 and Tara-Oceans projects.
Link data across disciplines at the point of dissemination and visualization
Workshops were held in Oostende (15-16 March 2012) and in Bremen (24 May 2013), bringing together participants from various information systems. The workshops showed that there are already several linkages between the different data systems, but these linkages can be improved and refined, and more systems can be added. MicroB3’s Ocean Sampling Day was selected as a case study to show how the different systems can link up and provides historical data for a number of observation sites in Europe.
Another important and groundbreaking activity carried out by EuroMarine has been to explore the idea of linking scientific journals and metadata publications across disciplines. A workshop in Bremen provided a rare and unique opportunity for various scientific journal and data publishers to present their most recent technological developments linking data and journal publications. Given the evident conflicts of interests among the commercial participants, a number of parallel technological developments were discussed (rather than a single concerted action) and these will be used as demonstrators of integration across the fields of molecular biology, biodiversity and ecology in marine sciences. A second workshop involving experts from additional scientific journal and data publishers is being organised by UniHB from 4-6 November 2013, in the context of the EUR-OCEANS Consortium.
Capacity Building (people), Training & Mobility (education)
One long-term goal of Euromarine was and is to fundamentally reshape the marine sciences educational landscape. To achieve this ambitious goal will require multi-scale actions undertaken through Euromarine+ that include: utilization of H2020 instruments for clustering and specialization of PhD programs such as Erasmus Mundus and Marie Curie and continuation of short-term mobility trainings, summer schools and webinar series. In addition to the standard instruments, however, Euromarine+ will explore and work to develop, with appropriate partners, novel massive open online courses (MOOCs)1 and integrated graduate programs (neither of which currently exist in marine sciences nor in Europe) that are designed to reach the entire marine sciences community and forge links with the maritime, business and policy sectors.
• Making the most of conventional MSc and PhD degree programs
- An inventory of the educational landscape for marine sciences throughout Europe was undertaken and resulted in an online-available database at http://econsort.ugent.be/exhibit/euromarine.html. This database will be maintained and upgraded in Euromarine+ as the central clearing house for MSc/PhD training, as well as for workshops, summer schools and job openings.
- More than 50 marine sciences degree programs were reviewed. Some 80% of 210 trainings/courses involved a Euromarine partner, thus verifying the representativeness of the consortium in graduate education. Whereas the MSc level is well defined, PhD programs are less visible and almost entirely mono-disciplinary, as normally required for this degree. New, cross-curriculum development within degree programs remains challenging (see below) but opportunities for clustering and cross-training have been identified and implemented. At present Euromarine participates in an Erasmus Mundus PhD programme in Marine Ecosystem Health and Conservation, MARES (led by EuroMarine Partner UGENT and also other members of Euromarine). MARES is an EM Action 1B programme approved by the EACEA under agreement 2011-2016, with 13 core and 11 associate partners (www.mares-eu.org). The program is a model for cross-disciplinarity.
- Within the upcoming H2020, Euromarine+ scientists envisage two additional PhD programme proposals: one in Marine Systems Biology (aimed at “omics”, computational biology and blue biotechnology); and one in Marine Sciences Modelling (aimed at both oceanographic and coastal modeling, ranging from refined climate models to biogeochemistry and foodweb dynamics, to niche models, trait-based models and functional biodiversity). While these EU instruments will continue to be important for cross-training and clustering of marine sciences across some disciplines and national boundaries, they will still fall short in the big picture because of their limited inclusiveness (only a hundred or so students at most/programme) and finite duration.
• Continuing short term training courses and mobility fellowships for PhDs, post-docs and senior personnel
- A review of the former NoE training courses and summer schools (PhD/post-doc/technician levels) concluded that a number of signature courses could be maintained and that a new set should be proposed, that will focus on hot topics, as well as facilitate cross- and trans-disciplinary education (Table 1). Euromarine also sponsored a short-term, pilot mobility-programme with stays of 1-3 months, demonstrating its capacity to integrate within the former NoEs. New and existing signature courses of 1-2 weeks will continue to be developed with an eye to cross-and trans-disciplinarity.
- Longer-term success of this class of educational instruments will depend on the confluence of a number of alliances and eventual awards that are currently in the planning stages. It is foreseen that EuroMarine+ and the nascent European Marine Biology Resource Centre (ESFRI-ppEMBRC) will function as a team in close linkage with JPI-Oceans and one or more EU training/mobility programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Marie Curie). Financial support from the business sector is feasible for some courses and is expected to increase as SMEs realize the long term benefits of “having a stake” in the educational process that produces cross-trained, Highly Qualified Personnel (HGP). For example, the Euromarine-allied, Coordination Action, Marine Genomics for Users (MG4U), collaborates with the AquaTT (www.awuatt.ie) in knowledge transfer between scientists, business and the public. The company has 15 years of experience in the development of teaching support methods (e.g. videos and webinars). As proof-of-principle, Euromarine also developed a series of >20 webinars among which 10 are available on the Euromarine website. The production of high quality, short-term mobility trainings across all categories will continue within Euromarine+ and opportunities for long-term funding to support individual courses/trainings are being investigated.
• Exploring novel approaches for permanent change
The currently available instruments through the European Commission (EM and MC PhD programs, short-term mobility programs, trainings, courses and summer schools) are important tools but do not cut deeply enough in to the educational landscape. Thus, by themselves, they will not be able to permanently reshape the educational landscape in marine sciences. Moving to larger cross- and eventually trans-disciplinary degree programs in marine sciences will require the removal of a number of obstacles and development of a set of instruments that do not yet exist in Europe.
The main obstacles identified include the observations that: 1) Faculties and Schools within universities (where degrees are awarded) are not generally aligned to support cross- and especially trans-disciplinary training. Moreover, the fact that marine institutes are almost always physically and financially separated (often involving different national money streams) from their partner universities makes smooth operation all the more challenging. 2) Infrastructural requirements for blue-water and coastal work are often very different which divides research domains in an artificial way, again hindering cross-training; and 3) Team science often means relinquishing control and authorships in large projects which, in turn, are not rewarded because of requirements for promotion that reward individualism; likewise recognition for teaching in non-university institutions can easily be sidelined. These three aforementioned problems will not be easily resolved but awareness of them provides the way forward and at least two of the four proposed new approaches can minimize them, especially if educational business links can be established.
Novel instruments that will permanently reshape the marine sciences educational landscape will have to be comprehensive and involve considerable upfront business investment —a tall order in these economic times. Nevertheless, Euromarine+ is up to the task. Euromarine, with support from the European Marine Board has recently put forth four recommendations (below) and in the new Navigating the Future IV (European Marine Board 2013) (Contribution to Chapter 12. Training and careers for the next generation of marine experts (pp. 156-166) in European Marine Board (2013). Navigating the Future IV, Position Paper 20. European Marine Board, Ostend, Belgium. ISBN: 9789082093100).
- Development of massive open online courses (MOOCs) following a Kahn-Academy, Udacity or Coursera-type-model could reach everyone and thereby reduce the fragmentation that currently exists between research institutions and universities, between marine laboratories (which are notoriously isolated), and between researchers and students working on the new large questions. Waldrop (2013, Nature 495:160-162) discusses how MOOCs are beginning to transform higher education in the USA, with major universities coupling with business. Waldrop: “When one professor can teach 50,000 people it alters the economics of education”. While there are many issues to be resolved with online teaching, course development, accreditation and financial sustainability, he emerging consensus is that this is a major way forward (not instead-of, but in-addition-to conventional learning). It is here to stay. This approach has so far not been applied to the marine sciences community and (as far as we are aware) not within Europe (but see footnote 1). Such an approach would also directly couple science to business and potential valorization (in all senses). With the commission’s support, Euromarine+ is poised to take on this mega-challenge in a business partnership with one of the above models.
- Development of a EU equivalent programme for Integrative Graduate Education (IGERT), as has been developed by the NSF-USA, follows more conventional lines but should be developed as “jewels in the crown”. For example, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California initiated the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation Biology (CMBC), which integrate conservation, socio-economics and law. Now in its 10th year it will expand as a fully imbedded cross-faculty program within the University of California. http://cmbc.ucsd.edu. Within the Euromarine+ consortium, two or three IGERT equivalents could be developed with assistance, e.g. from the ESFRI program in combination with Marie Curie-ITNs (or variant).
- Development of Ocean Schools would extend the IGERT approach by creating centers for life-long learning, where professional and policy people could refresh their knowledge and re-source their skills (Also part of the University of California plan). Linkages between marine and maritime institutes, as well as between marine and business schools could be highly productive and highly innovative. Euromarine+ will develop this line further in collaboration with, e.g. JPI-Oceans.
- Development of industry-funded third-level participation. Industry is often not interested in funding research per se, but they are often interested in funding the development of highly qualified personnel (HQP). Corporate sponsorships of PhDs in a tightly developed program of the future is one way to achieve this while greatly improving long-term trust, commitment and dialogue with industry partners, thus cementing permanency (as is often done in law, economics and business schools).
1 MOOCs are here to stay; they will both enhance and disrupt current practices in university teaching. They are part of the Open Educational Resources (OER) philosophy and promoted by UNESCO. Now that their feasibility is becoming more tangible, political bodies, funding organizations and venture capitalists are pointing towards integrating Open Science practices in research, especially in disciplines of direct relevance Societal Challenges. Open Science directly addresses issues raised in three separate EU Directives: Public Sector Information (PSI, COM(2011) 877), INSPIRE (COMM(2008) 46) and of course one of the main pillars of the EU Innovation Union dream, the Digital Agenda.
Euromarine+ is well-positioned (in combination with, e.g. EMBRC and JPI-Oceans to coordinate MOOC efforts relevant to marine science, i.e. marine sciences capable of cutting edge research and training for knowledge transfer through all steps: data generation, research publication, digesting research for non-experts and engaging stakeholders through effective media & social networks tools. One FP7 project is about to begin testing this over the coming 2 years with Grad Schools in Future Ocean, Kiel (http://www.futureocean.org) and Université Européenne de Bretagne (http://www.ueb.eu).
Table 1. Some examples of suggested course topics. Any combination of A and B is cross-disciplinary. Any combination with C is trans-disciplinary. Short term mobility courses of 1-2 weeks might choose to be mono-disciplinary, cross-disciplinary or trans-disciplinary.
A. Monodisciplinary-methods oriented courses
- Natural history courses in taxonomy and ecosystems (e.g. phytoplankton, specific animal phyla relevant to the system of interest)
- "Omics” technologies focusing on genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.
- Bioinformatics (especially in support of omics science sensu lato at different levels specific to particular types of questions)
- Modelling of all kinds (oceans, climate, ecological, ecosystems, trait-based, genes, pathways, GIS layers..)
- Ecoinformatics (generating and working with massive databases, meta data and “underneath” data)
- Advanced simulation and statistics, ABC methods
- Experimental design
B. Theory and/or topical courses
- Climate change and adaptation
- Ocean acidification
- Interactions, feedbacks and thresholds
- Invasive species
- Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
- Life history traits and trade offs
C. Trans-disciplinary courses
- Science communication
- Science and socio-economics
- Knowledge Transfer
- Ocean research and the maritime industry
- Interfacing with policy makers
- Communicating in the business sector
- Understanding the role of science in valorisation
Examples from the Euromarine portfolio:
Marine Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics (2 weeks, Roscoff every year) brought together pelagic and coastal scientists and representatives from the business sector (blue biotechnology) to discuss the changing role of science in society, how to (reciprocally) better communicate with the business and policy sectors.
Ecosystem Approach to Exploited Marine Resources (3 weeks in Sète - AERME –Approche Ecosystémique des Ressources Marines Exploitées) brought together modelers, ecologists, physicists, economists and lawyers to define the quantitative aspects of the ecosystem approach to manage renewable marine resources. This training course presents the major quantitative approaches needed to address ecosystem dynamics and management.
Advanced School on Complexity, Adaptation and Emergence in Marine Ecosystems (18-27 October 2010) International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP Trieste, Italy) brought together scientists in applied mathematics, marine ecology, sociology and economy to teach a large (>90) group of PhDs, postdoc and researchers about innovative tools to asses climate change and its effects on marine food webs, from genes, individuals, populations and communities to ecosystems.
Legal Work and Business Plan
Important goals of Euromarine were i) to define an action plan for establishing Europe as a leader in Marine sciences and ii) to develop and reinforce connections with other projects, entities, institutes and stakeholders that are currently structuring the European Research Area in Marine Sciences. Since the objective of EuroMarine was to ultimately set up a single stable long term structure uniting all members of the former marine NoEs (or their successors) it was necessary to identify the legal frameworks that would serve the combined communities best. Three different legal options were identified 1/ contractual form; 2/ dedicated legal entity; 3/ mixed model. A SWOT analysis for the identified three different legal options was then implemented to help identify the scenario that best fits with the vision and challenges of EuroMarine. This was discussed at the General Assembly plenary in Bremen in December 2012. The mixed model was validated by a majority.
In a next step we focused on the legal work. A EuroMarine+ Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which aimed at securing collaboration between Euromarine partners towards the setting-up of Euromarine+ as an independent and autonomous structure, was elaborated. This MoU set the ground for the creation and construction of an integrated network and was signed by >65 partners and stakeholders.
A major achievement of Euromarine was the elaboration and finalization of a business plan, which describes operational measures, networking activities, several scenarios and financial viability for the future Euromarine+. This work that included the assessment of financial figures required several adjustments and refinements in order to meet the needs of all Euromarine partners.
Finally the Euromarine+ Consortium Agreement which set-up the operational rules of Euromarine+ including its future management and governance structure was drafted and circulated among the signatories of the MoU in order to obtain their feedback. This document will be finalized very shortly.
Knowledge dissemination and outreach
EuroMarine has worked with both the current needs of the EuroMarine website as well as with developing the specifications of the future (post-coordination action) website. The EuroMarine website is hosted by VLIZ and contains information on the EuroMarine vision, activities, founding NoEs and partners. Also available: calendar, photo gallery, private and public document section. The website has been continuously update. Since the EuroMarine consortium should eventually integrate the former (and successor) NoEs websites, the potential specifications for the latter have been detailed in a “Vision document for the future website”. We were also using Facebook and Twitter for communication and outreach.
Integrate and develop resources for teaching and communication with the general public
A number of resources for communicating with the general public and to be used with schools have been developed, including a video to present EUROMARINE to the wider public (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsunGndM3-k&feature=youtu.be) a video to present the discovery of marine biodiversity at the beach (http://youtu.be/ixUIA4Yrzkk) targeted for younger people, a video explaining the aims of the Summer School on Marine Environmental Sciences to promote Euromarine.
A new web-app to help citizens exploit the rocky shore environment and its biodiversity was produced. This app has a field guide with the main seaweeds and animals that can be identified on rocky shores, and has the possibility of uploading pictures and information by the citizens. It also has a resource for monitoring the intertidal with schools and organized groups that can register and have their data stored and organized.
Production of information packages aimed at different stakeholders (policy makers, private companies)
Here the aim was to produce information packages that were formatted and suitable for different stakeholders, focusing on the policy makers. The idea was to look for information packages already produced by the former NoEs, to select those that were more relevant and to translate these and give them much wider access through the EuroMarine website to increase their use. These were transformed into Wiki pages at the EuroMarine Wiki Portal that facilitates the dissemination of knowledge to policy-makers and to the general public. The existing marine Wiki pages, developed by the NoEs (www.MarBEF.org/wiki) were maintained and new ones were produced. New Wiki pages were produced from fact sheets, reports and vision documents from the three marine FP6 networks MarBEF, EUR-OCEANS and Marine Genomics Europe and these are available in the Euromarine website.
To demonstrate the value of the EuroMarine network in the organisation of scientific activities for children and teachers across the member states a “Summer School in Marine Environmental Science Monitoring and Sciences Outreach” was held in Porto, Portugal. This brought together 48 participants from six countries: Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and UK, including high school students, teachers, researchers as well as other marine and non-marine participants from education, outreach and multimedia related projects.
A survey on existing educational and outreach resources was also carried out. The report includes a database with 32 resources for teaching purposes and learning tools designed for students of several ages related to marine environmental sciences. A strategic decision of collaboration with the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) to gather and provide access to these links was taken during the Summer School in Porto. A first outcome is that the “Acid Ocean” tool (http://i2i.stanford.edu/AcidOcean/AcidOcean.htm) was translated to Portuguese and is also available online.
EuroMarine+ will bring together leading European marine scientists and organizations to create a major internationally competitive network that will facilitate collaboration and promote interdisciplinary approaches in the marine sciences. This will allow Europe to remain competitive and at the leading edge in marine sciences worldwide. By integrating the three former Networks of Excellence (Euroceans, Marine Genomics, MarBEF), EuroMarine+ will be able to address some of the most urgent and challenging issues regarding the sustainable management of the oceans of tomorrow, This will require cooperation between various scientific disciplines through joint research programming activities and capacity building through the development of research infrastructures and cross‐disciplinary training.
By improving our baseline knowledge of marine biodiversity from genes to ecosystems at all relevant temporal and spatial scales, we aim to better understand the factors which generate, maintain or lead to a loss of biodiversity in marine environments. Understanding how species and populations may adapt to changing marine environments will have major implications for ocean function and thus human well-being. Such knowledge will form the basis for a much longer-term sustainable management of our oceans. The complexity of these issues calls for major integration of new transnational and transversal research activities. This effort is mandatory to identify common priorities, to exploit advanced tools, and to interpret emerging information. There is also an urgent need to deliver new products, processes and services with a direct economic impact, thereby meeting the EU Blue Growth agenda. Delivering economic opportunities through the application of the knowledge generated through biodiversity research will impact areas such as sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and marine biotechnology. Euromarine also aims to identify new emerging areas of research for which the combined expertise of the scientists from the three former Networks of Excellence communities is essential. These emerging fields are referred to as “the trading zone” where exchanges across disciplinary boundaries and interdisciplinary collaborations can lead to new concepts and new discoveries in areas such as epigenetics, chronobiology, and restoration and conservation of sustainable marine resources and ecosystems. It is expected that the cross-disciplinary expertise of Euromarine scientists will have a major impact on the marine community at large by defining a science roadmap and agenda for the future.
To meet these challenges, EUROMARINE+ will train a new class of scientists skilled in genomics, ecology and evolution of marine organisms and educated in the most modern techniques of molecular biology, geology, geochemistry, fluid mechanics and numerical modeling,. Businesses should also be more involved in curricula development and doctoral training so that skills better match industry needs. There are already examples of inter-disciplinary approaches in universities bringing together skills ranging from research to financial and business skills. Throughout Europe there is a need for researchers with cross-training because the integration of these methodologies is not a standard part of any university curriculum. Beyond basic research, integration of these advanced techniques can lead to new industrial applications and the creation of new jobs for the future.
Euromarine+ will strive to develop graduate education through conventional mobility measures as discussed in Section 1.3 and will also endeavor to develop novel approaches such as Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs) (Section 1.3 Footnote 1)
Major impacts will include:
- Greater consolidation and integration of the marine sciences community in the coming decades bringing together institutes which have not previously been involved in collaborations, but which have much to gain from each other (i.e. Massive consolidation and integration if MOOCs, IGERT-equivalents, Ocean Schools and Corporate participation can be added).
- A new generation of marine scientists with fluency in at least two disciplines and familiarity in a third, which will promote inter-disciplinary work, thereby enabling faster progress in answering major scientific and societally-relevant questions.
- Attractiveness and competitiveness of Europe: Development of a strong trans-national training programme (including non-European partners), with high-level scientific training and an individually-tailored personal and career development plan, will improve career prospects of young European researchers in both public and private sectors, making these careers more attractive to young people.
- A new generation of marine scientists who will be policy literate (and policy makers will be science literate) thereby accelerating planning and decision making processes.
- Fostering of careers in other allied domains.
- A new generation of scientists who will get the expertise to respond to scenario building promoted by the IPBES.
- Synergies with science education and public outreach: Development of Ocean Schools (Section 1.3) would be a further natural linkage.
- Media and Communication to the general public: Cury Philippe & Daniel Pauly 2013. Mange tes méduses! Reconcilier les cycles de la vie et la flèche du temps, Odile Jacob. 216pp. This book written in French for a very large audience describes the importance of developing an integrated science that can exploit marine resources in a sustainably way – there is a whole paragraph on scenario building.
The world is in an economic crisis, and marine science is impacted by/confronted with budget cuts at the European, regional and national levels. There is a tendency to focus more on collating information than on gathering data. It has become increasingly important to use the budgets that are available for research projects in the most efficient way, and to share the use of expensive equipment.
For the efficiency and feasibility of research projects, shared use of facilities is regarded as a workable way to increase the efficiency (do the same job with less money) of the project and to optimize the use of the available budget (lower running costs). Sharing of facilities is a relatively young concept and will become more important in the future because of the economic crisis and related budget cuts for research and investment.
The research platform that EuroMarine will provide is a good way to promote the sharing of facilities, and a way to do good research with fewer resources. This will not only have an economic impact but science will also benefit due to greater dialogue and collaboration among scientists performing their research at another institute. This will further stimulate transnational cooperation and the integration of research, and thus supporting the present ERA.
The range of ideas developed in EuroMarine on use and access of marine facilities and observatories, have been disseminated at several meetings of related ESFRI and I3 networks, and have been strongly advocated for further development and inclusion in Horizon 2020 at several high level meetings in Brussels. EMBRC (European Marine Biological Resource Centre) is one of the major ESFRI infrastructures for marine research. It will provide a major opportunity for EuroMarine scientists to come together and exchange their knowhow and expertise. EMBRC will also offer new opportunities for EuroMarine researchers to access state-of-art technologies and platforms, and to open to, and create partnerships with industry to help address societal challenges and to support EU competitiveness.
EuroMarine has publisished the Euromarine research strategy in the form of an illustrated brochure.
The report prefigures what in the short term will be the first activities of the consortium Euromarine +. For example emerging areas will be the subject of exploratory workshops to refine prospective thinking and implementation of research projects in these fields. It also describes the key challenges and priorities to be addressed in the longer term to create a strong marine R & D leadership for Europe based on scientific excellence. This report targets primarily the scientific community but also the European research operators and bodies involved in the future of marine sciences, and it was officially presented during the final General Assembly of Euromarine in December 2013 in Brussels. It has been widely disseminated to the scientific community of Euromarine as well as to research institutes which are interested directly or indirectly to marine sciences in Europe. Euromarine is aimed at playing an important role in interfacing the scientific community to the already existing European structures dedicated to plan research in the Oceans. Thus a major effort has also been made to present and/or disseminate the document to European structures, projects and institutions working in the field of marine sciences such as:
- European Marine Board
- JPI Healthy and Productive Seas and Ocean
- IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)
- CIESM (The Mediterranean Science Commission)
- The ESFRI project EMBRC (FP7- European Marine Biological Resource Centre)
- MarineBiotech CSA (FP7 - ERA-NET preparatory Actionin Marine Biotechnology)
- MARCOM+ (The European Marine and Maritime Science and Technology Forum)
- SEASERA ERAnet (FP7 -Towards Integrated Marine Research Strategy and Programmes)
- Eur-Oceans Consortium (EOC)
- EurOcean Portal
- EMODnet (European Marine Observation and Data network)
- ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea)
Two representatives of Euromarine were invited in June 2013 to the CSA Oceans Stakeholder Consultation Workshop dedicated to the European Scientific Organizations and Associations. The workshop was part of a broad mapping exercise that is being conducted by CSA Oceans, a FP7 Support Action to support the Joint Programming Initiative on Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans). This workshop was meant as a first step in building a long-term strategic relationship with European Scientific Organizations and Associations. This workshop was a great opportunity to present the priorities of Euromarine in terms of research strategy. The inputs provided in the framework of this workshop will be analyzed to inform the development of the JPI Oceans Draft Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda. One representative of Euromarine also took part, as a member of the French delegation, to the first plenary IPBES-1 in Bonn 21st to the 26th January 2013.
EuroMarine provided a forum to stimulate and promote a common vision. Nevertheless, the success of long-term integration depends on developments undertaken in projects lead by VLIZ (e.g. EMODNET-biology), Jacobs University/MPI-MM (e.g. Micro B3) and UniHB/PANGAEA (e.g. Tara-Oceans data integration). EuroMarine was the first opportunity for these three leading partners to work together and bring synergy among their initiatives. This synergy alone is a major achievement of EuroMarine and sets the basis and vision for long-term integration of data across the fields of marine ecology, biodiversity and molecular biology in Europe.
Additionally, the EuroMarine project is an opportunity to establish moderate but steady funding, via institutional contributions to a European marine science network (EuroMarine+ or EM+), towards the integration of data management practices across the fields of molecular biology, biodiversity and ecology in marine sciences. This goal was achieved by making data integration one of the key activities of the EM+. This is evidenced clearly throughout the EuroMarine+ business plan:
• One of the four overall objectives of EM+ is to “Facilitate the long-term integration of data”;
• One of the four main integrative sectors in which EM+ will provide products and services is “Infrastructure Services including Scientific Data”;
• 6% of the total EM+ budget (from institutional contributions) will be allocated to the organisation of experts- and users-workshops (4/year), thus continuing the work initiated during the EuroMarine project (see Tasks 4.2-4.5 below). Workshop topics will include linking data when they are generated, data interoperability, open access to data, and linking data to scientific journal publications.
Based on the synergy described above, and on moderate but steady funding planned for EuroMarine+, the impact will be to shape the long-term integration of of European marine scientists by defining common goals and fostering conceptual and technological developments.
The legal work with EuroMarine has set the foundation for a legal and scientifically relevant platform in the field of marine ecosystems.
There is now a strong momentum to drive progress in European marine sciences in the coming decade. The successful implementation of the integrated strategy presented in this document has the potential to significantly advance European research in the marine sciences by defining a science roadmap and agenda for the future.
Grant agreement ID: 265099
1 February 2011
31 July 2013
€ 1 198 853,80
€ 999 636
Deliverables not available
Grant agreement ID: 265099
1 February 2011
31 July 2013
€ 1 198 853,80
€ 999 636
Grant agreement ID: 265099
1 February 2011
31 July 2013
€ 1 198 853,80
€ 999 636