The scale of maritime transport in international trade is one of the several factors putting immense pressure on the world’s seas, threatening marine ecosystems and the sustainability of many maritime activities.
In an effort to address the matter, the European Commission (EC) has announced an investment of €45 million in research projects related to the sustainable development of maritime activities.
Under the name “The ocean of tomorrow 2011”, research proposals will be invited from stakeholders and other potential participants to carry out innovative, forward-looking and sustainable approaches to reap the great potential of the world’s seas and oceans.
According to EC Commissioners Geoghegan-Quinn and Damanaki, “Oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface. They are key to our ecosystem. But they are also key to our current and future economy and we need ‘smart seas’ to help us meet the challenge of creating sustainable jobs and growth in the 21st century. Selecting the best proposals from this call will help Europe move forward in areas like offshore energy and ‘blue biotechnologies’.”
The call for proposals, the deadline for which is 18th January 2011, focuses partly on the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and for instance invites bids for the design of a small research vessel adapted to shallow waters, the investigation of multi-use offshore platforms and new bioinformatics approaches for the exploitation of marine biodiversity.