On 8-9 July 2015, over 30 participants were involved in the second COLUMBUS partner meeting, held in Berlin, Germany. The Coordination and Support Action kicked off in March 2015 and has since been working hard to put a strong and robust work plan in place to ensure success. The COLUMBUS overarching objective is to ensure that applicable knowledge generated through EC-funded science and technology research can be transferred effectively to advance the governance of the marine and maritime sectors while improving competitiveness of European companies and unlocking the potential of the oceans to create future jobs and economic growth in Europe (Blue Growth).
COLUMBUS has established a “Knowledge Fellowship”, a network of nine full-time Knowledge Transfer Fellows whose role will be to carry out Knowledge Transfer. These Knowledge Fellows will work across nine Competence Nodes, each with a specific focus area: Aquaculture; Fisheries; Monitoring and Observation; Marine Biological Resources; Maritime Transport and Logistics; Marine Physical Resources; Maritime Tourism; Marine Governance and Management; and, Marine Environment and Futures. To provide a focus, based on real-time requirements and priorities from the marine and maritime sectors in Europe, the COLUMBUS project was designed to first identify "knowledge needs" and then carry out Knowledge Transfer of suitable results from EU-funded projects.
The COLUMBUS meeting was devised to facilitate this identification of these knowledge needs through its dedicated Work Package, WP3 "Knowledge Demand". The overall aim of WP3 is to identify the main challenges, bottlenecks and knowledge gaps within the relevant marine and maritime areas. To do this the key European strategies on a general level and those with a thematic focus (e.g. aquaculture, fisheries, maritime transport) were reviewed. These were presented by the Knowledge Fellows in Berlin during working sessions which allowed partners to highlight missing elements and other considerations that would be important to note.
The meeting was highly successful, with partners providing significant experience and insights which will enrich and inform the next steps of the project, that is primarily to prioritise the Knowledge Transfer activities which will begin in the autumn. For this process to be most effective, COLUMBUS will provide internal capacity training for each of the Knowledge Fellows in the tangible Knowledge Transfer methodology, developed in previous EU-funded projects and adapted within COLUMBUS.
The COLUMBUS project was designed and written by AquaTT, a Dublin-based SME, and is coordinated by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). To achieve the above ambitious objectives, COLUMBUS has carefully constructed a multi-stakeholder, multidisciplinary partnership comprising strategic marine and maritime organisations with past experience, relevant mandates and extended networks.