A new integration step within European research fleets: launching of the EUROFLEETS2 project

EUROFLEETS LOGOGathering more than sixty scientists and research fleets operators from all European eco-regions, the kick-off meeting of the European project EUROFLEETS2 was held in Brest, France, on the 19th to 21st of March 2013, at the invitation of the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) and the French Polar Institute Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV).  

Thirty-one research organizations, research fleet managers, universities, industrialists, from 20 Members States or Associated Countries of the European Union, participate in the EUROFLEETS2 project, whose main objective is the integration of research fleets, currently managed at national level. This project amplifies the effort initiated since 2009 with EUROFLEETS, which ends in August this year. Again coordinated by Ifremer, EUROFLEETS2 has a strong operational component.  

This project receives significant funding from the European Commission (€ 9 million of a total budget of approximately € 10.8 million) over four years.  

Mr Aodhan Fitzgerald, of the Marine Institute’s Ocean Science Services Team, said, “This provides a fantastic opportunity for Irish researchers to access a wide variety of vessel and equipment  across Europe. The Marine Institute is proud and pleased to offer ship time on the national research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager  as part of this project.”    

EUROFLEETS2 is organized into three complementary activities (trans-national access, joint technological research and networking) promoting information sharing, identification of new collaborative frameworks, development of common software tools and also testing innovative integration schemes.  

Trans National Access offers the opportunity, fully funded by EUROFLEETS2, to international scientific groups to access Research Vessels on the basis of scientific excellence of the cruise proposals. After seven European calls for ship-time organized within targeted maritime regions, these scientific groups will embark on 8 Global/Ocean and 14 Regional European Research Vessels distributed all over European and world seas and oceans.  

Two new initiatives are also planned in EUROFLEETS2: the first aims to attract scientific leaders and/or non traditional end users to make proposals for a flagship project involving several vessels (“Super-integration” call for ship-time), the second makes available an original set of five underwater vehicles or scientific embarked equipment.  

Joint Research, through dedicated actions, contributes to more modern infrastructures and enriched information services. Three key activities are considered: the definition of Regional Research Vessels guidelines and generic designs, the development of innovative functionalities for underwater systems, and the implementation of data acquisition systems in standardized formats, contributing to a higher interoperability between Research Vessels.  

Networking Activity, will consist in working groups for a better coordination of European research fleets. It will aim to establish a common strategic vision including Polar research fleets, experiment new integration schemes like the virtual fleets and strengthen links with industry. Floating universities will complement the actions already undertaken for the training of young European scientists.    

The long-term objective of EUROFLEETS2 is to prepare the insertion of a group of innovative and inter-operable Regional Research Vessels in the ESFRI roadmap (European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures).        

Polar and Subpolar Call for Fully Funded Ship Time- NOW OPEN  

EUROFLEETS2 is a EU funded project providing scientists with 200 fully funded days of ship-time and 104 fully funded days of marine equipment to carry out ship-based research activities within any field of marine sciences.  

Polar and Subpolar Call – OPEN – Application deadline: 24th of May 2013  
Super-Integration Call – Expression of interest – OPEN –  until the 15th of May 2013. 
This Call seeks a truly cross cutting proposal which needs to mobilise a combination of EUROFLEETS Research Vessels (RVs) together with other appropriate scientific tools like nationals RVs, research planes or onshore infrastructures with their own EC or national funding. All EUROFLEETS RVs and equipment are available for this call.

The “Expression of Interest” is not binding but desirable. Logistically accepted pre-proposals will be invited to submit a full proposal from the 14th of June till the 16th of September 2013.  

For more information and eligibility criteria visit: www.eurofleets.eu

If you have further questions please contact: eurofleets2@awi.de