The European Commission will tomorrow present to stakeholders and potential participants its €45 million investment in research projects on maritime activities. "The ocean of tomorrow 2011" call for research proposals invites funding bids from projects proposing innovative, forward-looking and sustainable approaches to reap the great potential of our seas and oceans. The money will be allocated to large multidisciplinary research projects involving partners from different EU and partner countries. Tomorrow's information day will take place at the ‘‘Albert Borschette’’ Conference Centre (ABCC), 36 Rue Froissart, Brussels, with opening speeches by EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki at 10h00 followed by a press conference at approximately 10h40 in ABCC Room 4C.
Commissioners Geoghegan-Quinn and Damanaki said: "Oceans cover 70% of the Earth's surface. They are key to our eco-system. But they are also key to our current and future economy and we need 'Smart Seas' to help us meet the challenge of creating sustainable jobs and growth in the 21st century. Selecting the best proposals from this call will help Europe move forward in areas like offshore energy and "blue biotechnologies".
Oceans offer substantial opportunities for sustainable economic development. However, human activity is exerting increasing pressure on our seas. In particular, the growing demand for maritime transport, offshore energy, coastal development and over-exploitation of resources is threatening both marine ecosystems and the development of sustainable maritime activities.
This cross-thematic initiative, the second of its kind within the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), bears a strong innovative and forward-looking component. For example, bids are invited for the design of a small research vessel adapted to shallow waters, the investigation of multi-use offshore platforms and new bioinformatics approaches for the exploitation of marine biodiversity.
Partly focused on the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the call for proposals will foster closer cooperation with neighboring countries. It should provide a scientific basis for sustainable management measures and improved governance in these regional seas faced with tough sustainability challenges.
Promoting integration between complementary research areas
"The ocean of tomorrow 2011" call was launched on 20th July 2010. It shows how the EU's funding programme for research can address global issues in an interdisciplinary way. The projects selected will be funded by several funding themes:
4 topics, €45 million
The call is split into four "topics", of which two are generic and two are of particular relevance to the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. Within each of these topics, projects will cover these themes: food, agriculture, fisheries, and biotechnology, energy, environment and transport.
- The first topic (€14 million) addresses innovative designs for multi-use offshore platforms including their economic and environmental viability;
- The second topic (€9 million) focuses on bioinformatics approaches to foster new insights into the functioning of marine ecosystems and their biotechnological potential ;
- The third topic (€13 million) deals with combined effects of natural and human pressures on the marine environment in the Mediterranean and Black Sea and the responses of ecosystems;
- The fourth topic (€9 million) deals with integrated management of networks of marine protected areas and wind energy potential.
The application deadline for the call is 18th January 2011 and projects selected will be announced by Autumn 2011.