APRIL 2020

EMODnet Coordinators and Technical experts meet to discuss progress, challenges and opportunities


For the very first time in its history, EMODnet organized its Steering Committee (21-22 April) and Technical Working Group (23-24 April) meetings remotely. These meetings provide the opportunity to exchange information and opinions on the progress of the various EMODnet projects and initiatives, European and Global developments, identify strategic and technical challenges which may affect EMODnet, as well as to discuss opportunities and solutions for future improvements. 

Both meetings also provided an opportunity to look ahead following the recent announcement by DGMARE that, in the next phase of EMODnet, all data and data products should be findable, visible and downloadable directly through the EMODnet Central portal. This move forward responds to feedback received from users and stakeholders, including through the recent OpenSeaLab hackathon, and constitutes a natural evolution of EMODnet to become ever more service oriented. At the meetings, experts recognized the need for EMODnet to undergo continual development to ensure that, as an essential tool for scientists, engineers, managers and policy-makers analysing the state and dynamics of Europe’s seas, it can continue to meets these users needs.

The meeting documents, presentations and minutes will be made available on the Maritime Forum.

Collaboration between EMODnet and Copernicus Marine

On 20 April, the EMODnet thematic Coordinators and Secretariat met with Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) management (Mercator Ocean International) and in situ thematic assembly centre, (TAC), together with European Commission DG MARE, DG DEFIS and EASME representatives. The coordination meeting is a regular one, bringing together the two long-term European marine data services to discuss strategy and operational developments and synergies. 

EMODnet and CMEMS have been collaborating at coordination and operational levels for some time. In 2016, EMODnet (Secretariat and Physics) and CMEMS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pave the way for closer collaboration on their respective marine data activities and provision of services. These efforts aim to emphasize the complementarity of their respective marine data offers (available under and portals respectively) for marine data and information users. Further MoUs are in place since 2019 also for specific thematic areas, including between CMEMS and EMODnet Chemistry.

Discussions helped to identify key areas for future collaboration, including developing joint workshops and use cases (e.g. see here for EMODnet Physics). In a similar vein, EMODnet is working with CMEMS and the European Aquaculture Technology Platform to co-organize a workshop on marine data for the aquaculture sector on 20-21 October 2020 in Norway, in collaboration with DG MARE and DG DEFIS. CMEMS and EMODnet also identified interest to work on common thematic areas of interest e.g. the coastal area and land-sea interface.

Strengthen international ocean data through the EU’s ocean diplomacy with China - EMOD-PACE (EMODnet Partnership for China and Europe)

 ‘通过欧中海洋外交促进国际海洋数据资料合作’ - EMOD-PACE (面向中欧合作伙伴关系的欧洲海洋观测和数据网络)


In April, the ground-breaking EU-China collaborative project EMOD-PACE (EMODnet Partnership for China and Europe) entered its second month after kicking-off mid-February 2020. The project is the result of continued efforts in Europe and China following high-level conferences and forums during the EU-China Blue Year 2017. EU EMOD-PACE aims to promote international ocean governance with China and support the implementation of global commitments by providing better ocean data and data products and making these more accessible. More specifically, the project establishes closer collaboration between EMODnet and its Chinese counterpart the National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS). Together with NMDIS (China), the EMOD-PACE partners bring together leading European marine data management infrastructures, policy makers and top-level marine researchers.

Unfortunately, due to the global COVID-19 health crisis the physical inception meeting originally planned to take place in March 2020 in Tianjin (China) has been postponed until the end of this year. As a result, project teams from Europe and China had to establish contact remotely. Despite the initial setback, the remote exchanges are leading to steady progress at this time. Joint efforts of EU and China are underway and good progress has been made, with both Chinese and European colleagues collaborating on the workplans and the sharing of data and information and looking forward to meeting in person at the end of the year. 

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The European Strategy for DATA: European Commission Launches Online Public Consultation

The European Commission wishes to consult all stakeholders with an interest in the EU data economy, including governments, companies and business organisations, public sector content holders and users, experts and academics as well as citizens. The public consultation will help shape the future policy agenda on the EU data economy. It will feed into possible Commission initiatives on access to and re-use of data in the coming months and years. While the Strategy covers much more than ‘marine’ related data, the EMODnet Secretariat welcomes all contributors to provide their input to this survey and where possible to highlight the importance of continued efforts to unlock key marine, maritime and fisheries related data in support of the Blue Knowledge-based Economy as these often remain difficult to access.

Delivering an Oceans and Human Health Research Capacity for Europe: the importance of accessibility and usability of existing data


A Strategic Research Agenda outlining the next decade of oceans and human health science across Europe has just been launched by the European Marine Board in the context of the H2020 ‘Seas Oceans and Public Health in Europe’ (SOPHIE) project. The Agenda sets out existing evidence that the health of seas, oceans and humans are inextricably linked and outlines vital research priorities and collaborations needed to inform policies and practices to protect them. To better understand the interactions between oceans and human health and to develop a body of evidence to demonstrate these interactions, the Agenda calls for policy advice regarding the additional data collection and monitoring needs for both marine and health parameters, to consider also issues of accessibility and usability of existing data and monitoring systems and propose relevant indicators and indices.

The role of data to advance oceans and human health is explored in another important output of the SOPHIE Project: the report on  Human Health and EU Maritime Policy. This report explores opportunities to better align existing marine and maritime policy goals (and related monitoring procedures) with human health and wellbeing policy goals, particularly in the context of big data. It highlights the success of the EU’s Marine Knowledge Strategy and the work of EMODnet in establishing Europe as a global leader in marine data management and sharing, and notes that many of the generic problems faced by the health community in developing a more integrated data architecture (cross-border data sharing, differing formats, nomenclature, standards,..) have already been tackled successfully by Europe’s marine data community, as is evidenced by the array of harmonised data and transnational data products available via

EMODnet presents at the JPI Climate / JPI Ocean workshop: 
Establishing a Knowledge Hub on Sea Level Rise


Figures showing examples of key EMODnet data and data products relevant for sea level rise. Links to EMODnet Geology and EMODnet Physics map viewers
Sea-level is one of the most important Essential Climate Variables (ECV), considering that its evolution over the next few decades is predicted to impact millions of people, especially in vulnerable areas. EMODnet is well placed to provide key datasets and data products relevant to sea level rise and coastal behaviour. 
On 22 April, the EMODnet Secretariat presented EMODnet’s potential contribution to a Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Climate and Oceans Knowledge Hub on Sea Level Rise. This focused on EMODnet’s added value as a marine data service, facilitating the integration and access to data and information, thereby increasing the transfer of knowledge to users including scientists, policy makers, industry and beyond. The presentation highlighted integrated data and data products relevant for sea level rise that have been produced by the EMOD-network & the European & International collaborations. In particular this included inputs from EMODnet Geology  and EMODnet Physics, both of which have existing datasets and data products relevant for assessing sea level, including shore-line migration maps and relative and absolute sea level trends and anomalies (see images below). The EMODnet Secretariat acknowledge and thank Antonio Novellino, Patrick Gorringe (EMODnet Physics) and Henry Vallius and Sytze van Heteren (EMODnet Geology) for their inputs to this presentation. 

The JPI knowledge hubs are networks consisting of selected research groups and their scientists from JPI member countries within a defined area of research. This instrument is developed to contribute to optimizing research outcomes by facilitating the exchange of information among the actors, creating critical mass and avoiding duplications. Read more about the JPI Knowledge Hubs.

The 7th European Marine Board Forum  
Big Data in Marine Science

Together with many of the EMODnet partner organisations, the Secretariat attended the European Marine Board (EMB) online webinar on Big Data in Marine Science on the 29th April with a forward look to actively contribute as Speakers to the 7the EMB Forum on the same topic which has been postponed until the 23rd of October 2020 (BluePoint, Brussels). The webinar marked the launch of the EMB Future Science Brief No. 6 on “Big Data in Marine Science”. The document raises awareness of big data i.e. large volumes of high variety data collected at high velocity, and explores its potential to both impact and help drive the future of marine science, as well as to provide novel approaches for managing the use of our marine resources. It also notes the diverse landscape of marine data initiatives in Europe, many of which are collaborating towards a Blue-Cloud cyber platform to boost European capability and interoperability in marine data and marine science. The 7th EMB Forum will build on the webinar and Future Science Brief 6 to foster further discussion and collaboration between diverse stakeholders to identify Big Data enabled solutions to support marine science.
Prepared and published by the EMODnet Secretariat
The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) is financed by the European Union under Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

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