The marine environment constitutes two-thirds of our planet and offers huge potential for citizens' well-being, with extensive resources that form the basis for many economic activities. Europe is emerging from the worst financial crisis in recent history and rebuilding our economy demands that we identify sustainable opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The ocean is a source of food, water, energy and raw materials; a medium for tourism, transport and commerce; and, can provide solutions to many societal challenges. Nevertheless the ocean is neither inexhaustible nor immune to damage. Marine and maritime research has a critical role to play in developing our understanding of the seas and advancing technology so that we can grow their economic potential in a sustainable manner. However, key substantial research results are not always known or exploited when they could be of use to marine and maritime stakeholders (e.g. scientists and policymakers).
The COLUMBUS Approach
• Explore the challenges facing both the European marine and maritime sectors and create a priority list of our most urgent challenges and important knowledge needs.
• Discover results of past and current research projects on marine and maritime subjects, in particular those which could provide the solutions to overcome the highlighted identified challenges.
• Pioneer a new technique to better understand who can make use of this under-utilised knowledge and make sure that it is used for the benefit of all society.
• Ensure the innovative transfer of discovered knowledge to those that can use it.
• Make citizens aware of marine and maritime related research results that have an impact on their own daily lives.
• Leave a COLUMBUS legacy which will provide recommendations on how to improve the use of knowledge from research in the marine and maritime sectors.
COLUMBUS will establish a “Knowledge Fellowship”, a network of nine full-time Knowledge Transfer Fellows within each Competence Node whose role will be to carry out Knowledge Transfer using a methodology based on the needs prioritised early in the project. Working together as a team and active network, this combined critical mass will provide a multiplier effect to help achieve measurable impacts and to develop a blueprint for future activities in this field of work, ultimately contributing to the development of a thriving and sustainable marine and maritime economy. These fellows will work across nine Competence Nodes, each with a specific focus area: Aquaculture; Fisheries; Monitoring & Observation; Marine Biological Resources; Maritime Transport & Logistics; Marine Physical Resources; Maritime Tourism; Marine Governance & Management; and Marine Environment & Futures.
The COLUMBUS project was designed and written by AquaTT who are the Strategic and Operational Leader as well as the project manager for the project, and it is coordinated by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).