Skip to main content

Hybrid JPI Oceans Board meetings shine a light on a bright and busy future

The JPI Oceans Secretariat hosted the 31st Management Board and the 16th AISBL General Assembly meeting on 16-17 April 2024. Notwithstanding the hybrid format, the meeting saw plenty of fruitful discussions and clear decisions, related to JPI Oceans’ strategy, our governance, and our research and innovation foci through our many Joint Actions and Strategic Engagements.

Hybrid JPI Oceans Board meetings shine a light on a bright and busy future

  • 21 April 2024

Sunrise and sunset: changing JPI Oceans’ members

The Management Board warmly welcomed Koen Lefever from the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) as the elected new member of the Internal Advisory Committee (IAC), replacing Gilles Lericolais. The Board thanked Gilles Lericolais from the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) for his dedicated service and invaluable contributions on the IAC over the maximum period of 5 years. In spite of rotating off the IAC and other adversities, Gilles promised to stick around like ‘a barnacle holding on to the rock that is JPI Oceans.’  

Joint Calls from the deep dark sea to bright blue surface

The Board received updates on the two recently launched Joint Calls on the Ecological Aspects of Deep-Sea Mining and Changing Marine Lightscapes. The latter has just recently launched its portal to submit project proposals, with deadline on 30 May 2024. With these two joint calls, JPI Oceans demonstrated that thematically focussed calls on innovative ideas or emerging challenges remain an important implementation tool for JPI Oceans.     

Reflecting on concluding Joint Actions and lighting the path for their successors

Several key products of existing Joint Actions to be released were discussed, such as the first European report on Sea Level Rise, an information portal on Munition in the Sea, a handbook on Cumulative Effects of Human Activities assessments, and summary publications on the Ecological Aspects of Microplastics. It was confirmed that the related Joint Actions will conclude or be transformed upon delivery of their final outcomes, making space and freeing up capacities for new Joint Actions. 

Indeed, topics for scoping new Joint Actions were a prominent item on the agenda. The Management Board delved into a variety of innovative ideas for Joint Actions, selected from a robust response to our recent online solicitation for ideas. Given the diversity of the submitted ideas, the Board decided to take additional time to identify those with the highest potential for adoption as a Scoping Action. So please bear with us and look out for upcoming announcements. 

Successful proposals at the #HorizonEU

A fruitful information exchange session with European Commission representatives from DG Mare, Environment, and JRC further aligned JPI Oceans on common ocean goals by contributing to initiatives and policies such as on ocean observing, the Horizon Europe Ocean Mission, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and others. JPI Oceans' participation and leadership in various tasks in three successful Horizon Europe (#HorizonEU) proposals (OKEANO, AMRIT and one on underwater munitions) were commended and assessed by the Board for their strategic context. The Board provided overall strong backup for strengthening our synergistic business model of combining topical Joint Actions with strategic engagements in European and international initiatives. 

JPI Oceans’ bright future to be discussed at the Strategic Navigation Forum

Addressing the longer-term direction of JPI Oceans, the General Assembly confirmed details of a roadmap to revise the JPI Oceans strategy beyond 2025. An essential element of this process will be the JPI Oceans’ Strategic Navigation Forum, a high-level foresight event open to everyone interested in marine and maritime topics, to be held on 11 June at the Brussels Comic Arts Museum. The Forum emerges in response to the evolving needs of marine and maritime R&I priorities, fostering reflective exchange of national and European marine and maritime priorities post-2025. Learn more about, and register for, the Strategic Navigation Forum here.

The Forum’s outcomes will be scrutinised and turned into strategic pillars during a dedicated session at the next meeting of the JPI Oceans General Assembly and Management Board. Members of the Board and Secretariat look forward to that meeting, to be held in person sometime in autumn 2024 and probably at a Mediterranean location, to further implement our current strategic ambitions and chart the course for the second half of the decade. 

From left to right - Benjamin Kürten (Vice Chair, JPI Oceans), Peter Grönwoldt (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany), Gilles Lericolais (Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, France), Alain Lagrange (Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Professional Training, France), Maurice Heral (National Research Agency, France).