Research Infrastructures & Data

In order to achieve BLUEMED’s objectives identified in the Strategic Agenda, research infrastructures (RI) are key. RI have strongly developed in the past year and cover already a large proportion of the scientific needs of research and innovation communities.

In the framework of the BLUEMED project, a Research Infrastructure high-level Conference will be organized in 2019. The conference will provide inputs to support the promotion of the BLUEMED roadmap for the deployment of research infrastructures, expected at the end of 2019. Stakeholders from various sectors (public and private, research and innovation, businesses etc.) and from various EU and non-EU countries will be involved in the process. The bottom-up strategy will bring the expectations and needs of the blue growth stakeholders working on the ground to the highest political level, through collaboration with the national pivots and the BLUEMED platforms.

Two major stakes will be addressed during the BLUEMED project: first, sharing RI – how to link and to facilitate collaboration between different scientific domains and stakeholders in order to boost knowledge and innovation; second, long-term sustainability of RI – how to maintain them, how to upgrade their equipment and tools, and how to enhance training of users.

RI occupy an important portion of the BLUEMED Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and are mentioned in the following goals and actions:



Develop optimal aquaculture strategies, technologies and practices

Develop new strategies, technologies and practices to make aquaculture sustainable

From traditional maritime economic to blue growth activities

Consolidate existing infrastructure that supports the development of innovative green technologies performed by the Mediterranean clusters

Greening vessels and facilities

Design and develop innovative infrastructure solutions to improve the sustainability of ports, with special reference to energy efficiency and externalities relating to the surrounding built environment

Towards an observing system of systems

Develop an integrated Mediterranean observing system, based on existing European networks and consortia, including European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, and national infrastructure, in line with the overall European contribution to global observing systems

Tailor-made sensors and platforms

Develop new ideas for robotic systems and devices to explore and work on the seabed in deep-sea area

Changing the rationale: one platform, multiple uses and activities

Spatialise and cross-check: offshore fixed and mobile infrastructure distribution and environmental monitoring and surveillance needs from coasts to open sea

Develop new concepts and protocols with private companies and maritime operators to maximize the use of infrastructures, ships and platforms for scientific and environmental monitoring, safety and security purposes

Develop tailor-made technologies to improve efficiency on installations for the exploitation of marine renewable energies (wind, current and waves)



  • Coordination between research vessels is a core issue. As research vessels and equipment are expensive, coordination is important in order to reduce costs of cruises. Furthermore, as there are big differences in fleet operation mechanisms among countries, it is relevant to promote exchanges for setting realistic schemes of cooperation. BLUEMED will support international cooperation and coordination for a better use of infrastructures, in order to benefit to the most. 

    Data collected during cruises, including multipurpose goals cruises – both for research and monitoring – is another core issue. A specific effort to hire and train more technicians and engineers to implement the processing of data, including long-term storage, in a coherent manner in all Mediterranean countries is needed.

    Moreover, due to jurisdictional issues, scientific cruises do not have access in practice to the whole Mediterranean basin. International cooperation within the BLUEMED framework intend to solve the issue of access permission in waters under national jurisdictional regimes.

    To conclude, BLUEMED can work very practically on the ways to experiment fleet time-sharing and transnational access to vessels via some pilot projects, and facilitate the access across regions for research purposes.

  • Aquaculture facilities developed across the Mediterranean for the last 20 years. This rapidly growing sector can be an opportunity to continue to exploit fishing resources while preserving existing natural ones. Aquaculture is therefore a good example of blue growth potential in the Mediterranean area. Among economic activities having a direct impact on the marine environment, the exploitation of renewable energy from marine resources, notably offshore wind, waves and currents, is in its pioneering phase, and a significant development in the next decades is foreseen. A stronger collaboration among RI and their upgrade is also made necessary to face the challenges of new emerging activities with impact on the Mediterranean, as in the case of the exploitation of MRE sources, notably offshore wind, waves and currents.

    European regions facing the Mediterranean boast a large portfolio of wave basins and flume tank infrastructures providing a suitable environment for studies on coastal erosion and sediment transport, wave/structure interactions, coastal infrastructure design. These infrastructures are run by universities and by public or private research centers, and access by external users as individual or through joint R&D initiatives is largely supported. Considering the large community they represent and the widespread distribution in Mediterranean EU coastal regions, the range of testing capabilities they offer and the expertise of research teams, stronger networking initiatives should be promoted to fully develop the potential impact in many R&D sectors addressing the marine environment and human activities on it, especially shared access with southern Mediterranean countries. Transfer of technology is particularly important to allow sharing with southern Mediterranean countries.

  • Satellites and spatial activities are very useful to gather data on marine sciences and to better know and understand seas and seacoasts, and cover fundamental science as well as a growing number of operational services. Various programs and European satellites infrastructures are dedicated to marine observation.

    A gap that BLUEMED can bridge concerns the interaction between the scientific community and the space agencies. The needs of the scientific community have to be better taken into consideration in space observation programs, by reinforcing interactions with space agencies. There is also a need for reinforcement of systematic systems allowing for data discovery encompassing satellite and in situ data.

  • The availability and accessibility of data is a priority for stakeholders involved in marine and maritime policy, and also for the private sector. Structured networks and databases already exist at European level, including the Mediterranean, but tools and projects on data need to be further developed, in order to become more accessible and even easier to use for the users (scientists, public stakeholders, policy makers, private companies or ordinary citizens…).

    One of the key issues of marine data is the access to data once it is collected. The development of metadatabases for long-term storage is also important, even when projects are completed. Scientists need to be able to have access to well-structured, easily accessible data and harmonized and corresponding information, based on the same standards. This standardization of data is key in order to boost cooperation between countries, organizations and stakeholders. BLUEMED could push forward the cooperation at Mediterranean level by facilitating communication and collaboration between existing infrastructures and organisations/programmes.

    Finally, BLUEMED could raise awareness within the science community and promote sharing data as the first step to enhance research and innovation.

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