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News Alert

"The ocean of tomorrow": €34 million dedicated to multidisciplinary research projects to reconcile maritime activities with the preservation of seas and oceans

 

Brussels, 30 July 2009

Today, the European Commission launched "The ocean of tomorrow" call for research proposals. Oceans cover about 70% of the Earth's surface, but human activity is increasing environmental pressure on them. This is threatening both marine ecosystems and sustainable maritime activities. The objective of this call for proposals is to help us understand how arctic and marine ecosystems respond to a combination of natural and human-induced factors. This should provide a scientific basis for sustainable management measures, supporting policies and possible related technologies. Up to €34 million will be allocated to large multidisciplinary research projects involving partners from different countries and research fields. It is a concrete example of the cross-thematic approach recommended by the European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research, adopted in September 2008.

EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik stated: "Human maritime activities impact on the marine life that lies beneath the ocean's surface, and vice versa. We want to encourage marine scientists, oceanographers and researchers in various maritime sectors, such as transport or energy, to work together in order to better understand the interconnection between marine ecosystems and maritime activities. "The ocean of tomorrow” call will help us to reconcile the potentially competing goals of sustainable economic growth and preservation of our seas and oceans. This can only benefit current and future generations".

EU Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg said: "When it launched the Integrated Maritime Policy for the Union in 2007 the European Commission declared that marine science, technology and research are crucial for the sustainable development of sea-based activities. In line with this, the Commission committed to build a knowledge and innovation base for maritime policy and has adopted the first ever European Maritime and Marine Research strategy. "The ocean of tomorrow" call is one of the most welcome concrete developments of this vision."  

Promoting cooperation between complementary research areas

"The ocean of tomorrow" call shows how the EU's funding programme for research (FP7) can address global issues in an interdisciplinary way. The projects selected will be funded by several funding themes: Theme 2 - Food, Agriculture, Fisheries, and Biotechnology (€9 million), Theme 5 - Energy (€6 million), Theme 6 - Environment (€10.5 million), Theme 7 - Transport (€7.5 million) and Theme 8 - Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities (€1 million).

3 topics, €34 million

The call is split into three topics:

  1. The first topic (€11 million) addresses the far reaching consequences of changing climatic conditions in the Arctic, both economically and environmentally;
  2. The second topic (€12,5 million) focuses on the human and natural impacts on marine life and their subsequent impact on economic sectors such as transport, fisheries or tourism; and
  3. The third topic (€10,5 million) deals with the potential impact of sub-seabed Carbon storage on marine ecosystems.

The application deadline for the call is 14 January 2010 and projects selected will be announced by Autumn 2010.

Information Event on the 16th September 2009
Commissioners Potočnik and Borg will open the Information Event on "The ocean of tomorrow" call. A detailed presentation of the call for proposals will be followed by brokerage sessions. The registration deadline to attend the event is the 8th September 2009.

 Background

The growing importance of sea and ocean-based activities such as maritime transport, offshore energy, tourism, coastal development, fisheries and aquaculture poses a major threat to the marine environment. The European Union has established in 2008, a new integrated maritime policy, of which the "European Strategy for Marine and Maritime research" is a fundamental part. It highlights the importance of integration between established marine and maritime research disciplines with the objective of reinforcing excellence in science and reconciling the sea-based activities with environmental sustainability. Among other actions, it suggests the use of cross-thematic calls for proposals under FP7 on major research topics.

For more information:

Contacts:
Jacques Fuchs Tel: + 32 2 29 51 282
Charlotte Gugenheim Tel : + 32 2 29 64 343