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Research and innovation

Integrated Maritime Policy

Marine research and innovation is part of an integrated strategy which deals with 5 specific areas. These are detailed below.

What the Integrated Maritime policy is

The Integrated Maritime Policy seeks to provide a more coherent approach to maritime issues, with increased coordination between different policy areas.

There are 5 cross-cutting policies in the Integrated Maritime Policy where research and innovation plays a large part - blue growth, marine data and knowledge, maritime spatial planning, integrated maritime surveillance, and sea basin strategies.

Blue growth

This policy is the marine and maritime contribution to achieving the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. 

Related to this is the Commission communication: Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth.

Horizon 2020 has Blue Growth calls for proposal dedicated to implementing the strategy. 

Marine data and knowledge

Ocean science and research are technology and observation driven. Ocean observations are difficult to do and expensive. Therefore cooperation in Europe and globally is essential and data must be shared and secured for the long-term.

EU-level activities and cooperation in international frameworks bring many countries, organisations and the private sector together. This is being supported by a number of research and innovation projects including SeaDataNet and SeaDataCloud.

Read more about marine data and knowledge

Maritime spatial planning

There is an increasing demand for physical space for new maritime activities ranging from renewable energy to aquaculture installations.

Coherent planning and scientific knowledge are needed to support the development of strategic plans for regulation, zoning, management, protection of the marine environment.

Some examples

  • The interaction between aquaculture and the marine environment and the resulting competition for space has been addressed in the COEXIST project.
  • Similarly, the PERSEUS project helped to foster and strengthen cooperation and paved the way to advance the work with international partners in the Mediterranean, within the BLUEMED initiative, and also in the Black Sea.

Read more about maritime spatial planning

Integrated maritime surveillance

Integrated maritime surveillance provides authorities interested or active in maritime surveillance with ways to exchange information and data. Sharing data makes surveillance cheaper and more effective.

Several infrastructure projects contributed to improving ocean observations

  • EMSO a seafloor laboratory;
  • EuroARGO the European part of the global ARGO floats infrastructure;
  • SeaDataNet a standardised system for managing data sets collected by oceanographic fleets and automatic observations;
  • EuroFleets2 which is developing services and providing access to modern research vessels and equipment.

Read more about maritime surveillance

Sea basin strategies

There are specific agreements and research activities in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean, Baltic and the Black Sea basins.

Atlantic Ocean

The EU pursued the implementation of activities under the All Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance with the 

  • signing of the EU-USA-Canada Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation in 2013 
  • signing of the EU-Brazil-South Africa Belém Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation in 2017

There are now over 500 international research teams working together towards a healthy, productive, secure and resilient Atlantic Ocean.

There are also wide-ranging cooperation agreements with other countries.

The ambition is to have more than 1,000 research teams funded by Horizon 2020 working from Antarctica to the Arctic by 2020.

The Galway and Belém Statements address the challenges put forward in the EU Atlantic Strategy and its associated action plan, and are recognised as major achievements of both the strategy and the action plan.

More information about Atlantic Ocean sea basin strategies

Baltic Sea

BONUS was the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme from 2010-2017.

BONUS website

BONUS strategic research agenda

More information about Baltic Sea strategy

Mediterranean Sea

The BLUEMED Initiative is supporting and coordinating research and innovation to build sustainable Blue Growth for a healthy, productive, resilient, better-known and valued Mediterranean Sea.

The BLUEMED initiative will contribute to the creation of new blue jobs, social wellbeing and prosperity for sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors through the implementation of its Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, the BLUEMED SRIA.

The countries around the Mediterranean Sea, the European Commission and the Union for the Mediterranean secretariat have launched a pilot action on a healthy plastic-free Mediterranean Sea under the umbrella of the BLUEMED initiative, as agreed by the Group of Senior Officials (GSO) BLUEMED working group. This pilot initiative is supported by 10 countries bordering the Mediterranean and aims to tackle plastic pollution in the basin by

  • mobilising stakeholders
  • sharing knowledge and solutions
  • promoting partnerships
  • raising awareness
  • scaling-up operational actions

This pilot is an effort to contribute to the global challenge of plastic-free oceans as identified in the Updated Bioeconomy Strategy. Action 1.6 of the strategy sets out to mobilise the key actors in the plastics value chain to support the development of substitutes to fossil resources, in particular bio-based, recyclable and marine biodegradable substitutes for plastic.

More information about Mediterranean Sea strategy


Black Sea

An initiative for research and Innovation in the Black Sea was launched in May 2018 with the aim to advance a shared vision for a productive, healthy, resilient, sustainable and better valued Black Sea by 2030.

This is one of the main pillars of the Black Sea Maritime Strategy and was launched during the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU during a conference on 8-9 May 2019.

This builds on the 2015 European Union External Action Service and the Commission staff working document on Black Sea synergy.

More information about Black Sea strategy

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