According to the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, Blue Growth is defined as “the long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. Seas and oceans are drivers for the European economy and have great potential for innovation and growth. It is the maritime contribution to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth“. The importance of the Blue Growth is obvious, taking into consideration that “the ‘blue’ economy represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year“. As a result, there are already some initiatives activated, aiming to improve various aspects of the marine and fisheries field.
One of these initiatives was the iMarine Data e-Infrastructure Initiative for Fisheries Management and Conservation of Marine Living Resources, a project funded under under the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration and provided “an e-infrastructure that facilitates open access and the sharing of a multitude of data, collaborative analysis, processing and mining processing, as well as the publication and dissemination of newly generated knowledge”. The project successfully ended in April 2014. The ultimate goal of iMarine was to “contribute to sustainable environmental management with invaluable direct or indirect benefits to the future of our planet, from climate change mitigation and marine biodiversity loss containment to poverty alleviation and disaster risk reduction”; based on my short experience I can confirm that the goal was achieved. The project left a wealth of outcomes to be exploited by all stakeholders, including, among others, the following:
- The iMarine Gateway, an access point to a number of Virtual Research Environments deployed and operated in the context of the iMarine project to support the Ecosystem Approach to fisheries management and conservation of marine living resources;
- A number of services, including an Infrastructure Capacity, a Catalogue of Applications, a Catalogue of Data Providers and a Collection of Policy Best Practices;
- An e-Library, which contains a wide variety of related documents, such as project deliverables, newsletters, papers and reports, publications etc.;
- The iMarine e-Training, a number web-based eTraining services are designed to empower current and future user groups, such as data managers, scientists and infrastructure managers.
One of the last events organized by the iMarine project was a Workshop titled “Ecosystem approach to marine and fishery data management“, which took place on April 4th, 2014, at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre, in the context of the 2nd International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI 2014) Conference. The Workshop aimed to present and disseminate the “expertise gained in the context of a series of parallel European projects which investigate the main aspects of environmental / biodiversity resources (population modeling, data refinement, taxonomy, ecological modeling, ecosystems services, etc.) and their associated challenges”. The workshop also provided the opportunity for further discussion on successful solutions and remaining barriers to achieve full interoperability.
The workshop consisted of a number of presentations from the iMarine project partners, while Nikos Manouselis, the Agro-Know CEO, was also invited and made a presentation titled “Can a data infrastructure become relevant to small businesses?” – Nikos has already shared his thoughts about that in another blog post. The outcomes of the iMarine Workshop, including the presentations and discussion outcomes were collected and are currently available through the iMarine website, in the form of a detailed report, while an executive summary is also available.
Agro-Know was included in the reports among several related initiatives, as an example of an SME which “develops and puts into real practice solutions that transform data into meaningful knowledge and services”; this is exactly what we are daily working on and it is always nice to see it acknowledged by related initiatives! The report includes a section dedicated to Agro-Know, based on Nikos’s presentation, while it also includes information related to the role that data-based SMEs like Agro-Know may play in the iMarine infrastructure as well as potential collaboration opportunities. Anyone working with data infrastructures in general should take some time to go through the report as it contains highly related information.
You may find detailed documentation related to the iMarine workshop at the iMarine website.