The Flanders Marine Institute (Belgium), the Institute of Oceanology – Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland) and the Marine Institute (Ireland) have decided to become members of EurOcean, European Centre for Information on Marine Science and Technology, joining the two founding member organisations: the Foundation for Science and Technology (Portugal) and Ifremer (France).
EurOcean operates an Internet portal, focal point of information on marine science and technology. EurOcean maintains the regional portal for Europe for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO). The EurOcean Internet portal was opened in March 2003, providing efficient interactive facilities and dedicated search engines for easy access to the information by a large spectrum of end users: scientists, engineers, decision-makers, journalists, educators, students and the public.
Regarding the content of the portal, priority has been given to marine research infrastructures and a database of 186 coastal to high seas research vessels is now available as well as a directory of more than 700 websites related to marine science and technology in Europe. In the context of the EC project MarinERA -Coordination of National and Regional Marine RTD Activities in Europe- which will soon be implemented after a favourable evaluation, EurOcean will be in charge of providing the communication tools and disseminating information.
The Foundation for Science and Technology provides the hosting and the technical support to EurOcean in Lisbon (Portugal) while Ifremer is providing expertise as required by the information centre. The new partners will contribute by assembling, organising information and elaborating indicators in new domains like education, science and technology or industrial activities.
The creation of EurOcean resulted from governmental initiatives engaged by Portugal with the support of France during the International Year of the Ocean in 1998 in order to promote a European policy of the Ocean. EurOcean was officially launched on 28 February 2002 and its office is based in Lisbon (Portugal).
The overall objective of EurOcean is to develop the exchange of information and derived products in the field of marine science and technology between a wide range of governmental and non-governmental bodies, by contributing to the creation of a comprehensive and integrated vision on the state of research activities and related resources in Europe, thus enhancing the development of a Marine European Research Area.
The specific objectives of EurOcean are to:
- Compile, process and facilitate access to appropriate information on marine science and technology;
- Stimulate the development and use of quantitative indicators related to marine science and technology;
- Facilitate communication between European research organisations having activities in marine science and technology;
- Prepare analyses, reports and other products, in accordance with requirements of the members of EurOcean, partner organisations and other appropriate organisations.