Trust-IT was honored to participate in the long-awaited All-Atlantic Ocean Research Forum in Brussels, as a member of the flagship Horizon 2020 project Blue-Cloud. The large framework of the event also provided the perfect chance to co-locate a workshop organised by Blue-Cloud in collaboration with the AANChOR and AORAC-SA projects and the AtlantOS program, held on the 5th of February: Improving the knowledge of our oceans and seas and bringing them closer to citizens.
The workshop gathered over 90 experts from funding agencies, Research Infrastructures, data providers, research & academic institutions and industry throughout Europe, the USA, Brazil, Canada and South Africa forming part of the Atlantic blue economy to discuss the needs and the benefits of establishing a global “Blue-Cloud” as a means to bring the wealth of ocean data available to the benefit of society.
During the workshop, several examples were presented to reveal the potential of ocean and sea data, such as the results of the project on satellite detection of Sargassum in the Caribbean presented by Juan C. Toledo-Roy, a researcher specialised in data analysis techniques and computational modelling and simulation at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), or the industry cases described by Ben Williams, Metocean Director for the Americas region at Fugro.
These presentations set the scene to discuss the challenges and priorities to unlock the “blue-data” market. This was followed by four very participated round tables, addressing such issues as citizen contributions to data collection and usage, industry & ocean data, as well as communicating blue science.
One of the round tables was chaired by Trust-IT's Sara Garavelli, Blue-Cloud Coordinator, with Dick Schaap, MARIS & Blue-Cloud Technical Coordinator, and participants immediately recognised the value of establishing a global Blue-Cloud. But how? Top-down coordination actions at international level are needed to accelerate the establishment of a global Blue-Cloud with engagement and funding from regional authorities. In order to examine this topic in depth, the workshop participants were invited to contribute to the Blue-Cloud Roadmap 2030, a policy document that will provide recommendations for the future funding programmes and will discuss the actions needed to extend the pool of marine data infrastructures federated by the Blue-Cloud. Many expressions of interest were collected. Finally, it was observed that a gap still exists in terms of communication between scientists and policy makers and governments: one idea to fill this gap could be to simulate a disaster using local data (e.g. European only data) and repeat the same simulation using data from all over the Atlantic to showcase how data sharing can have a real impact and truly support policy makers.
The outputs of the workshop were presented by Sara Garavelli on the 6th of February 2020 to the over 600 participants of the All Atlantic Ocean Research Forum (See the presentation here).
Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation Research Education and Youth, opened the All Atlantic Ocean Research Forum outlining three priorities for the future of the ocean: 1. listen and learn from each other 2. act together 3. use existing tools. The European Commissioner mentioned Blue-Cloud as one of the key projects working towards the third priority, highlighting that Blue-Cloud is building a smart federation of existing data resources, computing platforms, and analytical services to provide researchers with access to multi-disciplinary data from observations, in-situ and remote sensing, data products and outputs of numerical models and to a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) with various services to undertake world-class science.
“The All Atlantic Ocean Research Forum was a vibrant and inspiring event.” commented Sara Garavelli, Coordinator of the Blue-Cloud project, “The mix of speakers and panellists featured during the event ranging from policy makers, funders, scientists, coordinators of projects to youth ambassadors, all with a common purpose, to preserve the oceans, made this event unique. They were not only capable of describing the most worrying challenges that society is nowadays faced with such as climate change, ocean pollution, ocean acidification and the increase of the sea temperature and level, but they were especially able to communicate that there are solutions and ongoing efforts in place to address these challenges, and that the coordination of these actions at a global level will be one of the keys to success. The event was extremely important for Blue-Cloud to strengthen links and cement new collaborations, not only with its sister project EuroSea, but also with other relevant projects such the iAtlantic and Atlantico projects and to invite a set of key international organisations to contribute to its Blue-Cloud 2030 roadmap”.
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