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A European strategy for marine and maritime research

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A European strategy for marine and maritime research

Science and technology offers an opportunity to reconcile the protection of marine ecosystems with the development of sustainable maritime activities, through a new integrated maritime policy. In this context, the Commission has developed a strategy with the aim of proposing means for better integrating marine research with maritime research. To achieve this aim the Commission plans specifically capacity-building, an increase in integration between established research disciplines and improved cooperation between all the stakeholders concerned with seas and oceans.


Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 3 September 2008 on “A European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research

A coherent European Research Area framework in support of a sustainable use of oceans and seas” [COM(2008) 534 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission’s strategy has been developed along two principal strands. The first consists of improving the capacity of European research to tackle the complexity of marine ecosystems, while the other aims to develop new forms of governance. A number of actions are proposed which apply to:

  • capacity-building in terms of infrastructure (for example, monitoring and data collection facilities, ocean observatories, sub-sea technologies and specialised research vessels), innovation and education;
  • the development of integration between knowledge and observation data as well as the promotion of interdisciplinary research activities on cross-cutting themes (for example the impact of human activity on coastal and marine ecosystems or the protection and exploitation of marine biodiversity), including technology transfer ;
  • the promotion of synergies through a combination of different forms of funding both private and at regional, national and Community levels. It also plans to develop international cooperation because the problems related to the oceans have a global dimension.

The new forms of governance envisaged in this Communication are based on the creation of a stable, open partnership, based on existing networks between researchers, policy-makers, industrial sectors and representatives from society. This partnership should lead to an agreement aimed at establishing research priorities and strengthening cooperation, for example by putting in place joint programming in the priority fields. The role of the Commission will consist of continuing to support its objectives by implementing the tools of the Framework Programmes and the principles of the European Research Area (ERA), in particular by identifying the most efficient means of taking advantage of new funds provided by Member States, regions and the Community.

The European Strategy for maritime research has to be approved by the European Council and the Parliament. The first report on implementation will be presented by the Commission no later than 2012.


This strategy follows the Communication of October 2007 called "An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union". In this Communication the Commission reasserted that its main objective was to create the necessary conditions for growth in maritime activities, whilst also ensuring the protection of marine ecosystems in accordance with the Strategy for the marine environment.

This strategy constitutes a separate element of the European Research Area. It represents one of the first attempts to fully establish the ERA within a specific research sector.

Last updated: 22.10.2008