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Strengthening marine research in the upcoming EU research programme


Along with Ireland and Portugal, Norway is now working to make marine research a priority focus of the 7th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development (2007–2010). The goal is to develop a vital, beneficial marine and maritime economy in Europe with the help of interdisciplinary research.

Seafood, transport, security, recreation and ecology are important key words for the ocean theme in Europe. Oceans encircle a great deal of the continent. This has played a crucial role in Europe’s economic development and will continue to do so. The ocean also plays an important role in relation to global climate. And – not least – the oceans continue to be the least researched areas of our planet.

One of the goals of this initiative we have chosen, in relation to the EU Commission, is to contribute to a better administration of ocean resources for the European population and to strengthen European competitive vigour within the marine and maritime sector,” explains department director Lars Horn of the Research Council of Norway.

Marine research has been chosen by several EU research programmes earlier, and parts of it are well established. The greatest shortcoming is that the research is not co-ordinated in such a way so that the potential reaches Europe in the best possible manner,” says Horn.

High profile initiative

As a follow-up to the Ocean2004 conference in Galway, Ireland, in May 2004, the Norwegian Minister of Research, Kristin Clemet sent a letter to the Irish EU President and at that time Research Commissar of the EU Commission, Philippe Busquin. Clemet proposed to discuss The Oceans as a priority topic during the international seminar in Brussels, 11 June 2004.

As a background for the discussions, Norway, Ireland and Portugal shaped a groundwork document on The Oceans that has now been entered into the record of the EU Commission.

After our experience that this document was well received by the EU Commission, we look forward to a breakthrough for the Oceans initiative. It is our hope that it can shape an important basis for development of the 7th Framework Programme, says Horn.

Lars Horn | alfa
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