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MarinERA - Coordination of national and regional marine research projects

Summary information

Funding:FP6 - ERA-NET
Total cost:2950000
Ec contribution:2950000
Start date:2004-11-01
End date:2009-04-30
Duration:54 months
Coordinator:Maurice Héral, French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea – France (deputy:Niamh Connolly, Marine Board-ESF)
Project name:MarinERA - Coordination of national and regional marine research projects
Project summary:Abstract
An ERA-NET Scheme has been established within the 6th Framework Programme to catalyse the mobilisation of the European Research and Development sector to the Lisbon challenge. The MarinERA proposal represents the positive response of the European marine science community to this challenge. MarinERA is a partnership of the leading Marine RTD Funding Organisations in 13 European Member and Accession States, supported by the European Science Foundation Marine Board (ESF-MB). Together, these Funding Agencies represent an investment of circa 100 million / annum in marine research. In addition, amongst a range of Observer Groups, six international networks of research organisation (BONUS, EFARO, EuroGOOS, European Polar Board, IACMST, ICES) and a further Member State funding agency have associated themselves with the project.

The main MarinERA project objectives are:
- Map European marine RTD programmes and specialised infrastructures to contribute towards the development of the marine element of the European Research Area, facilitating the creation of an internal market and quantifying the existing European marine research capacity.
- Facilitate the networking of Marine RTD Funding Agencies in the European Union, leading to a more cost effective and efficient use of Member State resources including scientific personnel, specialist infrastructures and planned investments.
- Contribute to the development of a European Marine Research Policy, identifying future challenges and opportunities and the priority research programmes that need to be put in place to address / benefit from them.
- Provide a basis for the sharing of available resources to address priority issues which are beyond the capacities of individual Member States.
- Progress the reciprocal opening of Member State Marine RTD Programmes.
Project outputs:The MarinERA project has been a highly successful pilot ERA-NET project and has succeeded in:
Fostering an operational European Research Area Network of leading Marine Research Funding Organisations from 13 European coastal states.
At the outset of the MarinERA project, the diversity of research funding structures (e.g. Research Councils, Government Ministries and Research Funding Agencies), the scope of eligible topic areas that could be addressed, and the range of implementation procedures applied by the various agencies seemed an almost insurmountable obstacle to cooperation. However, recognising the great benefits of cooperation in terms of adding value to existing national budgets, sharing the cost (and risk) of large scale projects, providing improved access to specialist expertise and research infrastructures, the MarinERA partners persisted towards the ultimate realisation of a joint call of mutual benefit.
Implementing a ca. € 5 M competitively funded Joint Call for Proposals involving five participating partner countries (with associated infrastructure support representing a total estimated at € 8 M).
As anticipated, diversity proved to be a challenge that could be successfully addressed and answered through partnership, good will, and an appreciation of the scientific and financial benefits of cooperation.
Laying the basis for a pan-European Marine Research Funding Organisation Network
The MarinERA project was also successful in establishing operational links with other marine related ERA-NETs, such as BONUS and ECORDNet, and developed an advisory role towards AMPERA and MariFish, while providing a focal point for regular interaction with the wider European marine science community. Indeed, MarinERA successfully addressed all of the concepts encapsulated in its first five original objectives, and has gone beyond them to achieve a level of cooperation that will endure beyond its lifetime.
Towards integrated European marine research strategy and programmes
The SEAS-ERA FP7 proposal, for an Over-Arching Basin Scale Marine ERANET, aims to bring together 22 major European Marine Research Funding Organisations from 20 countries in the basin regions of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The success of the MarinERA partnership, coupled with the publication of An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (October 2007) and the European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research (September 2008) were critical catalysts in the preparation of the SEAS-ERA proposal, which in turn is poised to play a major role in the implementation of both these policies. This evolution to a partnership of 22 Research Funding Organisations from 20 countries within SEAS-ERA, from the original MarinERA consortium, confirms the realisation of the impact of the MarinERA project, and awareness of the benefits and opportunities for increased cooperation between national funding programmes.