Stress-testing European Marine Data Towards a European Ocean Observing System - EMODnet Stakeholder Conference & Sea-basin Workshops (14-15/02/2017, Brussels, Belgium)

The upcoming EMODnet Stakeholder Conference & Sea-basin Workshop will be held on 14-15 February 2017. The Final Conference Programme and list of speakers is now available for your information from the Conference webpage. The Conference brings together EMODnet experts and interested stakeholders to consider whether marine data collected via current observation and monitoring activities in Europe serve the needs of those who rely upon marine knowledge derived from observations and monitoring data. Findings of the EMODnet Sea-basin data stress tests (Checkpoints) will be presented to consider how open marine data repositories can better serve users facing real problems. Finally, the participants will discuss how to improve and better coordinate the existing and future monitoring and observation activities in Europe.

In short, the main objectives of the EMODnet Stakeholder Conference are to:

  •  - Inform interested stakeholders about the outputs and findings of the EMODnet Sea-basin data stress-tests;
  •  - Consider how to improve future data adequacy assessments and outputs by seeking input from stakeholders’ needs and identification of gaps.
  •  - Look forward with Stakeholders from science, policy, industry and civil society on how marine monitoring and observation activities could be improved and better coordinated in Europe. 

The Conference will take place on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 February 2017 at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in Brussels, Belgium.  

The Conference is free to attend but registration is obligatory.

About the Conference

The Conference aims to mobilise a wide group of interested stakeholders to consider joint issues, present common findings as well as highlighting differences between the Sea-basins as identified by the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints in terms of existing and future monitoring and observation activities, data availability and usefulness to address real problems.   

EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints assess the quality of the current observation monitoring data at the level of the regional sea-basins. By testing the data against specific end-user challenges, the checkpoints aim to demonstrate how well the current monitoring systems and data collection frameworks provides data to meet the needs of users. In doing so, data gaps and duplications as well as significant bottlenecks are being highlighted.

Six sea basin checkpoints are in operation. The first two checkpoints were initiated in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea in 2013. Four other Checkpoints covering the Arctic, Atlantic, Baltic and Black Sea were launched mid-2015.

For more information about the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints, consult the EMODnet central portal information pages at

About EMODnet

EMODnet is a network of more than 160 organisations working together to observe the seas, to make marine data freely available and interoperable, to create seamless data layers across sea-basins and to distribute the data and data products via the internet. The primary aim of EMODnet is to unlock already existing but fragmented and hidden marine data and make them accessible for a wider range of users including private bodies, public authorities and researchers. Currently, seven thematic assembly groups have been created to develop thematic web-based Data Portals covering data resources from diverse fields including hydrography, geology, physics, chemistry, biology, physical habitats and human activities. Many of these thematic portals are already operational. In addition, six Sea-basin Checkpoints have been established to assess the observation capacity and adequacy of marine data available at regional Sea-basin level. To strengthen the coherence and functionality for users, a common ‘EMODnet Entry Portal’ provides an entry point delivering access to data, metadata and data products held by EMODnet thematic sites.

ICKTC 2017: 19TH International Conference on Knowledge Transfer and Challenges

Marrakech, Morocco

April 13th-14th 2017

Leading scientists, researchers and research scholars will converge on Marrakech this year for the 19th international conference on Knowledge Transfer and Challenges. The conference will serve as an ideal meeting point for multidisciplinary researchers, practitioners and educators to present, discuss, and possibly synthesize their work for future research.

All papers submitted for the conference will be blind peer reviewed by three competent reviewers. The abstracts of the conference, alongside the proceedings book, CD, and certificate of presentation will be distributed to participants at the conference registration desk.

For the conference, ICKTC 2017 has collaborated with the Special Journal Issue on Knowledge Transfer and Challenges. All submitted papers for the event will be considered for this Special Journal Issue. Submitted papers cannot be under consideration by any other journal or publication. There are several important dates preceding the events of the conference that are worth noting:

December 20th, 2016: Abstracts/ Full-Text Paper Submission Deadline

December 30th, 2016: Notification of Acceptance/ Rejection

March 13th, 2017: Final Paper Submission & Early Bird Registration Deadline

April 13th-14th, 2017: Conference Dates

For information on the conference and all the related dates listed above, visit:

COLUMBUS brokerage workshop: Open-access marine data, an untapped resource? - October 2016

On 11 and 12 October, five partners of the EU COLUMBUS project: EuroGOOS, Seascape Consultants (hosting the EMODnet Secretariat), SmartBay, Marine South East and PLOCAN, had a successful marine data brokerage event for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The workshop titled ‘Power of open marine data for the blue economy’ took place as part of A Connected Ocean Conference and SeaTech Week 2016 in Brest, France.

Publicly available marine data resources offer a great potential for SMEs to create value-added products and services for their customers. The workshop aimed at linking with some of those SMEs as well as other users working on the public-private interface, and collecting their feedback on experiences, needs, bottlenecks, and suggestions for improvements.

The workshop was organized within the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 COLUMBUS project. COLUMBUS works to bridge the gap between the knowledge and information collected through EU projects and concrete applications for Blue Growth sectors. The engagement of the industrial users of marine data has been identified as a priority by the COLUMBUS Marine Observation Competence Node, bringing together EuroGOOS, NOC, UK, VLIZ and Marine South East with the node coordination by Seascape Consultants.

It has been recognized that making public marine data available to private sector will drive forward innovation and competition. The EU Member States and European institutions fund a large number of ocean observing research and infrastructure activities to derive marine data for various science, policy, and society needs. It has been estimated that making high-quality marine data held by public bodies in the EU widely available would improve productivity by over €1 billion a year (EC Roadmap for Marine Knowledge 2020).

The workshop included a mixture of open-floor discussions and presentations involving both EU marine data community, EuroGOOS, EMODnet, Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS), private sector, Open Ocean, France, dotOcean, Belgium, as well as the EU AtlantOS project, French maritime cluster Mer Bretagne Atlantique, and St. Lawrence Global Observatory, Canada.

A number of European initiatives have been harvesting marine data collected by publicly-funded national and pan-European initiatives. Commonly called data aggregators, these initiatives include, among others, CMEMS, EMODnet, and SeaDataNet. Much progress has been made over the last years in helping users to become informed about the data available, visualize these data, download them in required geographical location and format, and acquire the metadata for the required dataset. However, a number of bottlenecks still exist, spanning data availability, quality, user-friendly format and web services.

In addition, to the abovementioned issues, the workshop further demonstrated that the role of SMEs is critical as intermediaries in the marine data value chain – acting on the interface between the public marine data resources and industrial end-users. SMEs know their clients much better than the public data initiatives, and can orient them to look for required information, or create bespoke value-added products for their users’ specific needs. This is why SMEs are very well placed to advise public marine data initiatives, like EMODnet and CMEMS, on ways to improve their service.

The issue of confidentiality was also discussed at the workshop. While competition will automatically entail restrictions on opening data, progress may be achieved through sharing a very broad range of data and making a distinction between ‘strategic’ and ‘non-strategic’ data (for example, sea temperature data). Promotion and recognition of open data are also critical to attract more data from private companies into the open repositories, this can be achieved through the recognition of the companies’ corporate responsibility, for instance. Another idea which arose from the workshop is for public and private initiatives to co-write papers together. This would allow them both gain from having a publication while the data would be made available with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI).

It was re-emphasized that brokerage is important for gaining trust and understanding among public and private partners, and promoting a data sharing philosophy. This should also take into account the development of business models and openness to speak the same language. The role of maritime clusters was stressed in this respect. Finally, data discovery should be made attractive with user-friendly and efficient interface.

The workshop report will be made available on the workshop webpage

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COLUMBUS-EuroGOOS-EMODnet exhibition stand at SeaTech week 2016, 11-13 October 2016, Brest, France. From left: Dina Eparkhina, EuroGOOS, Jan-Bart Calewaert, EMODnet, Oonagh McMeel, Seascape Consultants, Vicente Fernandez, EuroGOOS. 

COLUMBUS drives forward on a wave of activity - July 2016

Representing the EC’s most substantial investment in Knowledge Transfer to date, COLUMBUS intends to capitalise on the EC’s much larger expenditure on marine and maritime research; by ensuring accessibility and uptake of research Knowledge Outputs by end users, policy, industry, science and wider society.

Recently, the project partners came together for their 4th Partner Meeting, held in Vigo, Spain on the 12th and 13th of July 2016. The aim of the meeting was to facilitate our Knowledge Fellows and partners to come together for focused Knowledge Transfer workshops - making science count! COLUMBUS brings together a new extended multi-stakeholder, multidisciplinary, transnational partnership with the experience, strategic positioning and track record in the marine and maritime sectors to achieve the ambitious impacts of the project.

To keep up-to-date on COLUMBUS visit this website often or contact the Project Manager, Cliona Ní Cheallacháin (email: or tel: +353 (0) 1 644 9008).

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The attendees of the 4th Partner Meeting, Vigo, Spain


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Call us at:
+353 1 644 9008

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