How can ocean science help Europe mitigate and/or cope with the effects of climate change? How could it contribute to the challenge of feeding a growing world population? How could science and innovation enable us to use our oceans' rich resources sustainably? These were some of the questions the Commissioner put on the table.
Marine research in Europe is world-class, and EU support for research and innovation has led to a quantum leap in the amount of cooperation between Member States in recent decades. But research efforts can still be diffuse, as recognised by the European Commission's 2014 Communication on Innovation in the Blue Economy.
At the same time, ocean research is vital: it paves the way for sustainable 'blue' growth and more effective ocean management. At today's meeting, Commissioner Vella therefore encouraged researchers to make the most of opportunities for synergy and cooperation, leading to marine research that is greater than the sum of its parts.