T5.2 Stakeholder dialogue and workshops

T5.1 Strategic agenda for stakeholder engagement
T5.2 Stakeholder dialogue and workshops

Lead: HCMR

Key stakeholders are largely known to the consortium due to their involvement in many major marine initiatives and given that Eurofleets+ is an Advanced Community. A considerable database has already been established in the preceding Eurofleets projects, and this will be the starting point for the new Eurofleets+ database. There will be a renewed focus on industry, developers of new technologies and relevant innovations, internationalisation, new end user communities, and coherence with the many marine organisations relevant to research vessel infrastructure. Stakeholders will include research communities from different disciplines, sectors, and countries, who are potentially interested in using Research Vessel infrastructure or conducting multidisciplinary marine research. The creation of the Eurofleets+ database will allow the identification of stakeholders by thematic type (user, partner, supplier, funding,), geographical coverage (country, incl. extra-EU, sea basin within the Economic Exclusive Zone), and type of entity (scientist, public authorities, technological partners, research institutions, international agencies, industry, policy maker, civil society, public, and so on).

Target stakeholders will include: infrastructure managers; research vessel operators; researchers and the scientific community; industry, innovators, technology developers; decision-makers, including policy makers, public agencies, funders, planners, science managers/research managers; media, to include science writers, journalists, documentarists; the general public; existing projects and initiatives; the World Ocean Council; representatives of national and European non-governmental organizations; representatives of international non-governmental environment organizations, for example WWF; those involved with ocean observing systems, research and mapping communities (GEBCO, UNCLOS, Habitat Mapping, etc.); legislators, regulators; and key marine users. Preliminary discussions with key stakeholders will help to identify their interests, expectations and networks of influence. The database will be continuously enriched and will be an important tool for WP8 and for the project legacy. There are likely to be several options to maintain it, for example transfer to European Research Vessel Operator (ERVO and/or EUROCEAN), with permission of the stakeholders.

An initial register of stakeholder needs will be created, of relevance to a catalogue of high quality and integrated services to be developed in WP8. Stakeholder dialogue will be fostered through three main approaches: semi- structured interviews; a web-based discussion forum; and two international workshops – described below.
Semi structured interviews: the interviews will provide information to promote JRA from WP3 and TA from WP2, and Innovation Management and Exploitation from WP7, among other WPs. These will establish connections between Eurofleets+ and stakeholders. Interviews will be focused on the identification of the stakeholder’s offer and need, on the overlaps between stakeholder and Eurofleets+ missions and strategy, on the mutual collaboration opportunities. This will also lay the foundations for a lasting communication channel between Eurofleets+ and the stakeholder. At least 20 interviews with Key Stakeholders will be carried out using Virtual rooms (e.g. Adobe Connect). The interviews will contain a set of standardised questions per stakeholder, useful to compare the answers, and a set of specific questions for the type of stakeholder interviewed. The semi-structured interview aims at establishing a direct contact with the stakeholder and to identify a first list of specific needs that will be further elaborated during the two workshops.

Discussion forum: a discussion platform to be established on the Eurofleets+ website (WP9) will enable interested parties to interact with project participants. This will gather all relevant stakeholders and RV operators in one virtual place and will connect the work done for the interviews with those for the preparation of the international workshops. The task leader will foster the discussion, identifying specific topics that will be discussed by the stakeholders and asking for specific contributions. The outcomes of this activity will be a starting point of the workshops, where the discussion will continue and specific topics will be further investigated.

Workshops: The Eurofleets+ international workshops will use participatory methodologies, with potential to be organised in collaboration with ERVO (European Research Vessels Operators).

Workshop 1: Combining fixed and mobile ocean observatories and their link with satellite observations. Month 18. Many of the current environmental infrastructures were established according to specific scientific needs and, therefore, focused mainly on aspects or limited phenomena of the Earth system. However, the interdisciplinary nature of the Earth System demands a much more coordinated and interconnected organization of research infrastructures and significant efforts for interoperability and harmonization of research infrastructure operations to meet the environmental challenges of today. The fixed submarine observation systems of the EMSO ERIC Ocean with the EuroArgo mobile systems and with the research vessels are oceanic detection assets that together with the Earth Observation System’s satellite sensors provide detection on a larger temporal and spatial scale, and better resolution and accuracy. These communities were dispersed and somewhat disconnected, however from ENVRI plus (community of the Environmental research infrastructures, projects and networks) a significant effort is being made to foster coordination between infrastructures. Therefore, the participation of the Board of European Environmental Research Infrastructures (BEERi) in this workshop is essential. The workshop aims to connect the main operators and stakeholders for the benefit of greater coordination that will undoubtedly translate into efficiency and more and better data and connecting to public/society concerning climate change for example – integrating fixed observatories + vessels – portable observatories. There will be an opportunity to hold part of the workshop on a research vessel or aquarium.

Workshop 2: Synergies with the Atlantic Mapping program linking with AORA, EMODNET bathymetry and Belém statement. The European Commission considers that the Seas and Oceans studies play a key role in developing national and regional economies and have great potential for innovation and growth. Blue Growth is the long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. Therefore, the integration of different national and local systems into a coherent whole is driven by the EU. On different topics, such as the environment, environmentally friendly fishing, transport, research, business and industry allow it to provide funding and legislate for marine knowledge 2020, with special emphasis to access to bathymetric data (EMODNET) and to facilitate to all scientific stakeholders towards a reliable access to an Open Science System (EOSC). Europe also favours coordination and synergy in other areas of the planet, hence a series of initiatives in the Atlantic, such as the mapping of the seabed of AORA, Atlantos or the declaration of Belém to deepen knowledge and sustainable resources. This second workshop will bring together different stakeholders together with industry (marine biotechnology, ocean energy, seabed mining, etc.) that have a high potential for sustainable jobs and growth.

The first workshop will be organized at M18 of the project, after review of the strategic agenda and identification of target stakeholders (T5.1), and review of completed interviews and outputs of the discussion forum. The second workshop will be organized at M24. Between the two workshops, we are planning a series of reduced meetings that can be done as virtual meetings such as audio-conferencing, multimedia conferencing, screen sharing etc., aiming to prepare the various stakeholders a fruitful exchange of information and coordinated actions to foster the cross-fertilization between different research infrastructures and to achieve a productive and large second and final workshop. The participatory methods used during the workshops will stimulate the interaction of the participants and focus on delivering the specific needs of the stakeholders. The participants will be guided to identify their needs, the gaps, the services already in place etc. The methods will be adapted to the audience and target outputs and will include the World Café; Brainwalk; and the Disney method. User needs will be mapped. Outputs and main ideas will be summarized in a plenary session and follow-up possibilities discussed.