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Stančič addresses media on EU marine and maritime research

On 14 June 2007, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Research Directorate-General, Zoran Stančič, discussed marine and maritime research with members of the press, stressing the EU’s full commitment to making the world’s waters cleaner, safer and more productive.

Zoran Stančič
Zoran Stančič

“Marine research is essential to the implementation of a whole range of EU policies,” said Stančič. “This is a major challenge in itself, trying to make sure that a European Maritime Policy is truly comprehensive, encompassing many fields and priorities.”

Stančič reminded his audience of the longstanding support by the Commission for marine and maritime research, beginning in the late 1980s with the Fourth Research Framework Programme (FP4). “Over subsequent Framework Programmes,” he said, “our commitment has grown very significantly. Under FP6, we funded more that 250 research initiatives and this trend will continue under the current FP7.”

The Maritime Green Paper

The press briefing took place in the context of the wrapping up of the Maritime Policy Green Paper consultation. This process has been aimed at integrating maritime activities, so that actions are more coherent and multidisciplinary, to include all EU departments and all public and private sectors and communities.

The consultation process will lead to the drafting of a new White Paper on European Maritime Policy, expected later this year. One of its likely conclusions will be that there is a strong need for a consistent and unified Marine Research Agenda, to eliminate segregation and duplication of activities and to draw maximum returns on every taxpayer euro invested.

“Despite our many successes in the maritime research sector,” said Stančič, “we still see some work being carried out in isolation and in an uncoordinated way. A marine Research Agenda will represent a common position on priorities for the science and research communities, covering a range of domains.”

Shining examples

Stančič was joined by a select group of top marine and maritime researchers who have transformed EU support into real success. They included:

  • Anthony Grehan of National University of Ireland, presenting the results of the ‘HERMES’ project, aimed at improved our understanding of the marine environment and supporting infrastructure;
  • Jacques Delincé of the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, who discussed the ‘Vessel Detection System' project, developing new technologies for marine vessel monitoring and tracking; and
  • Duncan Forbes of Rolls Royce Marine, who presented the ‘VISIONS’ project, aimed at stimulating innovation in the marine engineering sector.

Also speaking was Luisa Prista, Head of DG Research’s Surface Transport Unit. She presented EU activities and commitments under the current Seventh Framework Programme and beyond.