AWIMRI e-conference
 E-conference on Marine Research Infrastructures
   the need for better Information and Co-ordination
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 This e-conference will be held to inform the marine science policy conference EurOCEAN 2004 in Galway 10-13 May 2004. EurOCEAN 2004 provides a forum for policy makers and strategic planners from EU Member State administrators to interface with the marine research community and marine stakeholders.

This e-conference is a VLIZ - AWI co-operation with the collaboration of EurOcean, ESF/Marine Board and IOC/UNESCO.

Europe has sizeable marine and coastal resources which are observed, studied and monitored by means of a variety of sophisticated and expensive marine research infrastructures. The optimal use of, and access to these research facilities are a prerequisite to a successful European Research Strategy. The Commission's European Research Area (ERA) initiative is stimulating Members States to join efforts and to contribute also - often in a regional context - to the establishment of a European Marine Research Area, EMRA. This will underpin the networking and help to identify and plan co-ordination for future needs.

The question is: ARE WE ON THE RIGHT TRACK(S)?

The European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures, established as high level advisory body to CREST, aims to co-ordinate development and facilitate access to research infrastructures in the ERA concept.

In April 2003 an ad hoc Working Group on Marine Research Infrastructure was appointed by the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructure.

The scope of the Strategy Forum is:

The Working Group reported on the 'hot topics' with regard to marine research infrastructure (MRI) that need to be addressed in order to improve the current situation, and thus provide material conditions for the development of the marine science field within the ERA. The EU 6th Framework Programme offers mechanisms that should be used by the marine research community towards the advancement of the marine ERA.

The working group looked into the existing and planned larger marine research infrastructures. What the group couldn't do was to consult the marine scientific community at large on what they feel and expect from a possible common approach for the optimalisation of the marine infrastructures. Also possible needs in research infrastructures, taking into account the already formulated recommendation from major conferences organised by the commission in the last years (Strasbourg 2000, Hamburg 2000) and the effort made by specific working groups (e.g. ESF/Marine Board).

EurOcean, European Centre for Information on Marine Science and Technology, has officially opened its Internet Portal in March 2003 with a priority given to the compilation of information on marine research infrastructures (go to infrastructures) and the initial focus has been on national research vessels of which the compilation of the specifications is nearly completed. Regarding the information on the other European marine infrastructures, a repertory of existing compiled information is also available. The information collected include databases, directory of URLS and virtual library."

The introduction of the new funding instruments 'Integrated Project' and 'Network of Excellence' in 6FP is characterised by the stronger networking of very performant institutes. Several member states adapted their science policy by pooling highly qualified institutes. The restructuring was accompanied by rationalisations of these often well-equipped institutes, and consequently on their infrastructures. Sometimes new possibilities were offered.

The problem is that one has to invest in very large infrastructures, and that these may not always meet the requirements or expectations of the marine science community. To consult this community, an e-conference is an appropriate tool to collect the views out of different stakeholders.

Three topics will be considered:

  1. Bottom up approach: what does the Marine Scientific Community expects from optimising MRI and perspectives related to new developments (both institutional and infrastructures); Input into the decision making process; improving co-ordination and collaboration , with a view to optimise the use.
  2. Rationalisation of information. Optimise by integration of information and avoid duplication. Several NoE and ERA-nets have similar work packages. Some of the deliverables need action beyond the competence and possibilities of the single activity. Need for a single platform with is integrating information, data and services. This requires a more complex architecture than an "ocean portal" and this is the challenging task undertaken by EurOcean through its website.
  3. New technologies: What could be expected from new technologies + their needs for information, data management and products & services?

The E-conference will take place from 26-30 APRIL 2004.

Registration is needed (for day-reports and synthesis and final report)


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General coordination: Rudy Herman
Web site and conference hosted by VLIZ
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