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Funding cooperation needed to foster research on Baltic Sea environmental issues


A total of 882 Baltic Sea research projects were carried out in 2004 in the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. A majority (71 %) of the projects were national, 25 % were multinational EU projects and 3 % Nordic cooperation projects. This was reported in the BONUS Publication Nr. 3 Baltic Sea Research and R&D Funding in 2004, published at the beginning of November.

Baltic Sea research is carried out in all countries surrounding the Sea in several research programmes, in dozens of research institutes and universities, in hundreds of projects and by thousands of scientists. The spectrum of different forms of Baltic Sea R&D funding is broad. The funding allocated by national sources, the EU and the Nordic Council of Ministers for Baltic Sea research in 2004 totalled 52 million euros.

The publication shows that all environmental issues are funded and intensively studied in the coastal countries. Most of the research funds, approx. 10 million euros, were used for studies supporting the sustainable use of the living resources of the Baltic Sea, i.e. fish biology and fisheries. Eutrophication and biodiversity were studied with some eight million euros each. Other thematic fields studied were climate change, contaminants, loading and coastal problems. The influence of the EU Water Framework Directive has triggered research aiming at the typological classification of the Baltic Sea ecosystem. The strategic goal of the European Research Area is reflected as networking activities in various fields of research. There was also considerable funding, amounting to 8.3 million euros, allocated for projects which could not be linked to any environmental issue, i.e. for basic research.

Networks of scientists and research institutes as well as international management agreements already exist in the Baltic Sea region, but there is lack of cooperation at funding organisations level.

- The BONUS ERA-NET project brings the key research funding agencies together, and fills in a gap, which so far has existed in the Baltic Sea protection puzzle. BONUS’ aim is to gradually and systemically create conditions for a joint Baltic Sea research and researcher programme. We are eagerly preparing a joint Baltic Sea programme, and many of the administrative issues have already been solved. BONUS Publication Nr 3 provides valuable information for the planning of scientific themes and funding of the future joint Baltic Sea programme, says Kaisa Kononen, Coordinator of BONUS.

BONUS is an EU 6th Framework Programme ERA-NET project with a total funding of 3.03 million euros for years 2004-2007. The project brings together 12 key research funding organisations in Russia and the EU Member States around the Baltic Sea. The aim is to establish a network and partnership of key research funding agencies to deepen understanding of the conditions for science-based management of environmental issues in the Baltic Sea. BONUS operates in close connection with scientific and management actors.

Terhi Loukiainen | alfa
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