Marine Institute welcomes European Marine Board’s ‘mission ocean’

Navigating the Future V Workshop, 8-9 November 17, in the Hotel Metrople in Brussels, (L-R): Sitting down: Jan Mees, Ferdinando Boero, Anne-Marie Tréguier, Colin Janssen, Francesca Malfatti, Sheila Heymans, Ralph Schneider, Valerie Cummins Standing up: Denis Lacroix, Paula Kellet, Jan Marcin Węslawski, Jeremy Gault, Sybille Van den Hove, Luiz Menezes Pinheiro, Kate Larkin, Geir Huse, Charlotte Simon, Joke Coopman, Ed Hill, Lizzie Curdgington, Sukru Besiktepe, Michiel Van De Gehuchte, Ángel Muñiz Piniella.  Not in picture: Jan De Leeuw, Katja Philippart, Ann-Katrien LescrauwaetThe Marine Institute welcomes commitments by the European Marine Board Forum to support the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The European Marine Board, an independent non-governmental advisory body, is strongly advocating for a 'mission ocean' under the upcoming ninth framework programme for research and innovation.

Experts from the European Marine Board have identified five key areas of marine science to guide both the research and the science policy agendas at a European and national level over the coming years. This research will help us to understand how our ocean works, and the role we play in its past, present and future. These 5 key areas are:

  • To understand that the ocean is part of planet Earth and helps to regulate the climate; and that humans have a great role in influencing and being influenced by the ocean. The ocean should be studied and managed, not in different compartments as it is done currently, but as a whole, 4-Dimensional system: horizontally, vertically and in time.
  • To assess how human influence is affecting the ocean, not only looking at the problems individually (microplastics, overfishing, climate change, etc.), but seeing how these interact and impact the ocean together.
  • To improve the predictions of extreme events, including natural hazards (like hurricanes and tsunamis) and climate induced impacts affecting the ocean (like ocean acidification and sea-level rise).
  • To benefit from developments in Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence and apply them to ocean technologies.
  • To foster the new discipline of sustainability science, that studies the interactions between natural, social and human systems, to contribute to solutions for complex challenges, like climate change or biodiversity loss.

These are identified as part of the process of developing 'Navigating the Future V', which will provide European governments with robust, independent scientific advice and expert opinion on future seas and ocean research to 2030 and beyond.

The European Marine Board is in dialogue with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO to consider these five key areas of marine science and to promote holistic and integrated approaches to develop the common Implementation Plan for the UN 'Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)'.

"Navigating the Future V will be regarded as an authoritative foresight report on European marine science" said Jan Mees, Chair of the European Marine Board. "These five key areas of marine science will serve as a compass for stakeholders to foresee the future of seas and ocean research, setting priority recommendations and future scientific challenges in the context of European needs."

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said, "Observing and predicting the changes occurring in the Atlantic Ocean remains a top priority for the Irish research community. The 'Navigating the Future V' process will identify the most important emerging marine research challenges and help mobilise the scientific community and policy-makers around joint research and technological programmes that are beyond the scope of any single country."

Work on 'Navigating the Future V' began last November with a workshop of 20 leading European experts in marine science and related disciplines, including Dr. Jeremy Gault, and Dr. Valerie Cummins from the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI). Throughout 2018, the European Marine Board will work on the document, engaging the European marine science community, and the final publication is expected in Spring 2019.

The European Marine Board has members from major national marine and oceanographic institutes, research funding agencies and national networks of universities from countries across Europe, including the Marine Institute and the Irish Universities Consortium. The Board provides a platform for its member organisations to develop common priorities, to advance marine research, and to bridge the gap between science and policy to meet future marine science challenges and opportunities.

For more information on the EMB visit