Debate on Marine sciences at European Parliament | JPI OCEANS

Debate on Marine sciences at European Parliament

2012.06.08

Debate on Marine sciences at European Parliament

The lunch briefing organised by the Parliament’s intergroup on Seas and Coastal areas in partnership with JPI Oceans on 30 may was an opportunity to debate with the Members of European parliament on the integration of marine and maritime research in “Horizon 2020”. The European Parliament played a major role in the establishment of a European Research Area for marine sciences and technologies within FP7 and is willing to pursue its role with the preparation of “Horizon 2020”.

The event was moderated by Mrs. Christina Abildgaard, Director, Research Council of Norway, Member of the Management board member of JPI Oceans. Speakers and participants addressed the need for marine and maritime research to be tackled through an integrated and cross-cutting approach in Horizon 2020, as well as the issue of synergies between Joint programming initiatives and the framework programme. Mrs Isabella Lövin, MEP, Sweden, (PECH committee) gave an overview of the H2020 policy context in an opening speech. The proposal from European Commission is currently negotiated with European parliament and the Council and the vote in committee is scheduled for October 2012. The adoption of the full package is expected end of 2013.

M. Atle Leikvoll, Ambassador, Head of the Mission of the Kingdom of Norway to the European Union, gave a keynote speech highlighting the economic potential of seas and oceans as well as its untapped potential which is even bigger. He gave the example of biotechnologies to underline the untapped potential of the seas. Oceans and seas offer a huge potential for discovery of new species and applications derived from biotechnologies, a sector foreseen to grow at a 10% annual in the coming decade. The ambassador therefore demonstrated to Members of European Parliament the importance of supporting marine and maritime research in order to unlock the “blue growth” potential.

Frank Monteny, Director ”Research programmes”, Belgian Federal Science policy office (BELSPO), member of the Management Board member of JPI Oceans, gave a presentation on the state of play and objectives of the Joint Programming Initiative ”Healthy and productive seas and oceans.” Joint programming is still a recent concept as European Commission introduced it in July 2008, and the Council adopted JPI Oceans even more recently in December 2011. In this context, Members of European parliament appreciated the overview of this new initiative which aims to increase the value of national and EU R&D and infrastructure investments by concerted and joint planning, implementation and evaluation of national research programmes.

Dr Melanie Austen (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Coordinator of FP7 project VECTORS - Vectors of change in European Marine Ecosystems and their Environmental Social-Economic Impacts) presented VECTORS as a concrete example of a crosscutting approach. She demonstrated that a multi-disciplinary approach is necessary as human use of the European marine environment is increasing and diversifying and current and emerging pressures are multiple and interacting.

Mrs. Eleni Marianou, Secretary General of CPMR (Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions of Europe) welcomed the recognition of marine and maritime research as a societal challenge within “Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime sciences and the bio-economy” challenge. She called for a strengthened strategic approach for marine and maritime research for which a specific budgetary line could be allocated.

Participants and speakers also raised a number of topics which should be better embedded and developed within the different H2020 societal challenges, such as the interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans, research focused on the implementation of MSFD, deep sea, marine biodiversity and marine ecosystems. To conclude, the moderator said that H2020 is an opportunity to implement a further integrated approach for marine and maritime research. This could be done by a multi-annual programming of scientific and technological needs.

Presentations and minutes available on request.

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