JPI Oceans partners and Brazil fund five international joint projects of cutting-edge research on microplastics in the ocean | JPI OCEANS

JPI Oceans partners and Brazil fund five international joint projects of cutting-edge research on microplastics in the ocean


JPI Oceans partners and Brazil fund five international joint projects of cutting-edge research on microplastics in the ocean

Five projects are selected for funding to conduct research on sources of microplastics, methods for identifying smaller micro- and (nano-) plastics and monitoring their circulation in marine systems and their effects thereon.
Plastics in the marine environment have become a major concern because of their persistence at sea and adverse consequences to marine life. According to estimates from Eunomia (2016) between 27—67 million tons of plastic could be found in the world’s ocean as of 2016. Microplastic particles are by far the largest quantity of plastic pollution in the ocean. Microplastics are persistent environmental contaminants whose potential for physical harm and toxicity has been highlighted in various studies. However, knowledge and understanding about smaller microplastic particles (from 10 μm to even smaller particles - nanoparticles) is still limited.
Five new JPI Oceans projects will embark conducting research on sources of microplastics and looking into analytical methods for identifying smaller micro- and (nano-) plastics. The projects will also focus on monitoring and mapping of microplastics in the ocean including its effects on the marine environment. The five selected projects are: 
  • ANDROMEDA - Analysis techniques for quantifying nano-and microplastic particles and their degradation in the marine environment – Coordinator: Dr Richard Sempéré, Université d'Aix-Marseille, France
  • HOTMIC - Horizontal and vertical oceanic distribution, transport, and impact of microplastics – Coordinator: Dr Mark Lenz, GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel, Germany
  • FACTS - Fluxes and Fate of Microplastics in Northern European Waters – Coordinator: Prof Jes Vollertsen, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • microplastiX - Integrated approach on the fate of MicroPlastics (MPs) towards healthy marine ecosystems - Prof Luca Brandt KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • i-plastic - Dispersion and impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans: from regional land-ocean interface to the open ocean – Coordinator: Prof Patrizia Ziveri, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
The new round of projects build on an initial call for proposals of which four international research projects were funded from 2016 until 2019. Those projects had focused on ecotoxicological effects of microplastics, weathering of plastics, and baselines and standards for microplastics analyses in European waters. These research projects have substantially improved the knowledge about the analysis, weathering and ecotoxicological effects of microplastics in the marine environment. But not all relevant questions have been addressed in the four earlier projects, leading to this second joint call for transnational research projects. 
Funding for the research projects was awarded through a competitive call process in which 38 joint proposals requested in total €42 million. 
Based on the evaluations by peer referees and an expert panel, five proposals were selected. The expert panel consisted of the following scientists: 
  • Philippe Corvini, School of Life Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Switzerland
  • Thorsten Hüffer, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Hrissi Karapanagioti, University of Patras, Greece
  • Thomas Maes, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), UK
  • Lorena Rios Mendoza, University of Wisconsin Superior, USA
The total budget of these five projects is €12.3 million with a requested part of €8.4 million. Researchers from UK, Canada and the Netherlands are participating with their own resources in the selected projects.
The projects are expected to start in the spring of 2020. A joint kick off meeting between the projects will be organized early in May 2020 in Oslo to facilitate exchange and synergies between the projects. 
In supporting these projects, JPI Oceans aims to promote European and transatlantic research cooperation and knowledge advances on the issue of microplastics pollution of the oceans. From a policy perspective, results are anticipated to contribute to the Regional Seas Conventions, the implementation of the Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation as well as G7, G20 and UN aims of reducing (micro-) plastic pollution in the ocean.

Funding partners 

For this joint call for research proposals funding partners from Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden allocated funding. 

  • Belgium | Belgian Science Policy Office, BELSPO
  • Brazil | National Council of State Research Support Foundations, CONFAP
  • Denmark | Innovation Fund Denmark, IFD
  • Estonia | Ministry of the Environment of the Estonian Republic, MoE
  • Estonia | Estonian Research Council, ETAgz
  • France| National Research Agency, ANR
  • Germany | Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF
  • Iceland | The Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, MFRI
  • Ireland | Marine Institute, MI
  • Ireland | Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, DHPLG
  • Italy | Ministry of Education, University and Research, MIUR
  • Latvia | Ministry of Education and Science, IZM 
  • Malta | Malta Council for Science and Technology, MCST
  • Norway | Research Council of Norway, RCN
  • Portugal | Science & Technology Foundation, FCT
  • Spain | Spanish State Research Agency, AEI
  • Sweden | Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning, FORMAS


Photo credit: Angela Compagnone on Unsplash


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