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The achievement of economic, environmental and societal sustainability of Blue Growth in the Mediterranean area requires that we understand and are able to forecast the evolution of the ecological, social and economic processes in the region. This must take into consideration the proper functioning of vulnerable marine ecosystems and sea-related economic sectors. In the Mediterranean region, several issues are specifically acute such as the vulnerability and poor resilience of ecosystems, the over-exploitation of seabed and biological resources, the severe pollution events and limited remediation actions, the drastic climate change effects, the frequent extreme events and geohazards, and the uneven protection of coastal infrastructures and populations. The EU is committed to supporting the development of solutions to solve the above mentioned issues through several policies and international agreements such as the EU Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EU neighbourhood policy, the Barcelona convention and more recently the EU BLUEMED Initiative[[The "Research and Innovation Initiative for Blue Jobs and Growth in the Mediterranean Area (The BLUEMED Initiative)" aims is to advance a shared vision of a Mediterranean Sea that is healthy, productive, resilient, understood and valued so as to promote the well-being and prosperity of our citizens and future generations and boost socio-economic growth and jobs. It was jointly developed by Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain and presented by the Italian Presidency during the Competitiveness Council of 04-05 December 2014.]]. One of the main goals of the latter is to create an interoperable, fully integrated multiplatform observing and forecasting capacity to support the conservation of biodiversity, and to forecast and manage risks and emergencies at the coast and at sea. The implementation of these policies and conventions requires a strong knowledge base and predictive capacities that are derived from Earth observation data. These observation data are, however, still very fragmented, or are even lacking for certain areas of the Mediterranean Sea, in particular in the southern part. They are also still difficult to access, partly because of the many initiatives and systems that exist. The challenge here is to conduct the research and innovation activities that are necessary for the integration of the existing Earth observation facilities and networks in the Mediterranean Sea building on relevant initiatives such as Copernicus[[www.copernicus.eu. The Copernicus data and products, where available, should be used by the research and innovation community following the free, full and open access approach approved in the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1159/2013 of 12 July 2013. This includes the data from the Copernicus space infrastructure (Sentinel missions) and, where affordable, the Copernicus Contribution mission data, where the latter can be of use for Horizon 2020 projects developing new Copernicus Services. Applicants are advised to consult published information on the availability of Copernicus Sentinel Data, access to Copernicus Contributing Mission data at the Commission’s web http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/space/research/index_en.htm. Wherever possible, applicants are also encouraged to use the Earth Observation Data Warehouse (http://copernicusdata.esa.int/web/cscda/home).]], GEOSS[[GEOSS – Global Earth Observation System of Systems]], GOOS[[GOOS – Global Ocean Observing System]], EMODNet[[EMODNet – European Marine Data Observation Network]], ESFRI[[ESFRI – European Strategy on Research Infrastructures]] and in particular all those with strong links to marine and maritime issues, and national initiatives. This would fill out the existing observational gaps, and would help exploit the relevant data to build the necessary knowledge base and prediction capacities.Scope:
The research and innovation activities to be included in the proposal should contribute to the development of an integrated observing system for the whole Mediterranean Sea building on existing facilities (remote sensing and in-situ) and initiatives, and addressing both the open sea and the coastal zone. This should be based on open data and should facilitate easy access to those facilities and the data. Another focus should be on conducting the research and innovation necessary to underpin the full and open discovery and access to the ocean observations and to facilitate the interoperable exchange of ocean observation as promoted through the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) for the Mediterranean Sea. The proposal should also address observational gaps in the Mediterranean Sea, in particular those related to the in-situ component of the observation system. Optimising existing systems and using new ocean observation technologies make in-situ ocean observation and the integration of the biological dimension into observing systems more cost-effective. The proposals should also focus on the use of in-situ measurements to calibrate and validate relevant remote sensing data and products, including possible new products derived from space infrastructures such as the Sentinel and Earth Explorer missions that support the improvement and evolution of operational services in the Mediterranean Sea. The above activities should include the participation of international partners from the coastal states of the Mediterranean Sea.
In line with the objective of the EU Strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation (COM (2012) 497), proposals should contribute to implementing the Research and Innovation Initiative for Blue Jobs and Growth in the Mediterranean Area (The BLUEMED Initiative)[[The "Research and Innovation Initiative for Blue Jobs and Growth in the Mediterranean Area (The BLUEMED Initiative)" aims to develop a shared vision of a Mediterranean Sea that is healthy, productive, resilient, understood and valued so as to promote the well-being and prosperity of our citizens and future generations and boost socio-economic growth and jobs. It was jointly developed by Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain and was presented by the Italian Presidency during the Competitiveness Council of 04-05 December 2014.]].
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 8 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Projects funded under this topic will by default participate in the Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020, with the option to opt-out, as described in the introduction.Expected Impact:
To contribute to the implementation of the BLUEMED Initiative's vision and its related Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and Implementation Plan, in particular as regards the goal to develop an integrated Mediterranean observing system, proposals must:
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