On 21-22 April 2015, over 40 participants representing 26 organisations and 13 countries converged in Dublin, Ireland for the kick-off meeting of the COLUMBUS project. A "Coordination and Support Action", COLUMBUS represents the most substantial investment by the European Commission (EC) in Knowledge Transfer to date. The EC has provided €4m funding for the Blue Growth project designed to ensure that outputs arising from publicly-funded marine research projects have positive societal benefit.
The two-day meeting included presentations and working activities which allowed the partners to better understand the significant objectives of the project which, if reached, will provide the opportunity to achieve fantastic results. This will require cooperation and collaboration amongst all of its partners, with the kick-off meeting being the first step in developing these relationships and understanding how best to work together. The overall meeting was a success with the partnership ready and willing to begin work immediately, particularly in setting the foundations for strong and robust methodologies and processes to be used within the project.
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).
To do this, the COLUMBUS project will set up a “Knowledge Fellowship”, a network of nine full-time Knowledge Transfer fellows whose role will be to carry out Knowledge Transfer through a step-wise methodology and based on the needs prioritised early in the project. These Knowledge Fellows will build capacity in Knowledge Transfer through internal training but will also share experiences and insights with each other, so the methodology used can be adapted and refined. The end result will be case studies of successful Knowledge Transfer proving the concept has real merit and impact.
Working together as a team and active network, this combined critical mass will provide a multiplier effect to help achieve the impacts defined in the call topic and to become a blueprint for future activities in this field of work, ultimately contributing to the development of a thriving and sustainable marine and maritime economy
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.