EU funds further Integration and Advancement of Europes State-of-the-Art Research Vessel Fleet in new €9.9 million H2020 project: EUROFLEETS+

1st February 2019
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EUROFLEETS+: An alliance of European marine research infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of the research and industrial communities.

The Marine Institute, Ireland will coordinate the new €9.9 million H2020 project granted under the ‘Integrating and opening research infrastructures of European interest’ call.

With 42 partners from 25 countries, including Europe, Canada, and the United States and 40 research facilities, EUROFLEETS+ will facilitate open access to an integrated and advanced research vessel fleet. The fleet is state-of-the-art and designed to meet the evolving and challenging needs of the user community. European and international researchers from academia and industry will be able to apply for several access programmes, through a competitive Call process. With a prioritisation on assisting research for sustainable, clean, and healthy oceans.

Blue Lobster will lead the Branding, Functional Specification, Website Design, Development and Management. Design and development of interactive GIS maps that show real-time cruise information. Development and implementation of a Bespoke Transnational Access Portal for management of competitive calls through a single-entry system. Stakeholder Forum Development and Integration of existing Software into the project website.

Project Summary

The 4 year project (2019-2023) will provide open access to an integrated and advanced research vessel fleet of 27 research vessels (13 Global/Ocean and 14 Regional), 7 ROVs, 5 AUVs, and a telepresence unit. It will enable researchers to access the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Black, North & Baltic Seas, Pacific Southern Ocean and Ross Sea through its extensive Transnational Access (TA) programmes.

In addition to comprehensive transnational and virtual access activities, the project will undertake joint research activities to meet the evolving challenges of marine research, in particular, deep ocean research and exploration, data management, and virtual access. Multiple networking activities will ensure robust Call processes; wide stakeholder engagement; development of a strategic roadmap and long-term sustainability plan; diverse training and education activities; management of innovation; and widespread dissemination and communication.

EUROFLEETS+ will facilitate access to unique marine infrastructure, enabling excellent research, increasing ocean literacy, and providing a clear road map for the continued integration and advancement of the European research fleet.

EUROFLEETS+ is intentionally ambitious, building on achievements of two preceding Eurofleets projects. It will integrate a larger number of research vessels and extend the research infrastructure by adding a range of advanced mobile marine equipment. The project is likely to attract the attention of marine research communities, in particular given the unprecedented access to European and global seas and oceans. Plans for open science will provide access to new data and information for scientists from different domains. The number of days of ship time has been increased relative to previous projects, and new user groups will be sought; from emerging early stage researchers, to those from less equipped countries, to increased participation by women scientists. Advanced IT systems, a multi-functional website, and robust logistical management will provide seamless integration of services and easy access for user groups.

EUROFLEETS+ will extend and enhance the capabilities of the European research vessel infrastructure, bringing new perspectives, new ideas, and new research and innovation tracks.

This project has received funding from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 824077. Project coordinator: Marine Institute, Ireland. The information and views of this website lie entirely with the authors. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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Image: Celtic Explorer. Photo Credit: Marine Institute, Ireland