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Objectives

SEAS-ERA aims at embracing marine and maritime research in its entirety, overarching the previous initiatives which only targeted a given area or basin and, therefore, constituting a stable and durable structure for empowering and strengthening marine research all across Europe. The main objectives to be attained are the following:

 i) Improve co-operation and co-ordination and promote harmonisation of national/regional research programmes to strengthen them, bridging possible gaps and avoiding duplications; this will significantly contribute to the setting up of a European Marine and Maritime Research Agenda. In this point SEAS-ERA is mainly aimed at developing a stable European overarching operational structure for implementing this Agenda.

 ii) Foster synergies at regional and pan-European level, mobilising competitive and non-competitive funds for research in a more coordinated way, through common programs and joint calls, so as to reach a critical mass to address major cross-thematic marine and maritime research challenges. Moreover, SEAS-ERA will be a step forward towards achievement of the Joint Programming concept that promotes the efficiency of funding returns by avoiding fragmentation and enhancing cooperation between Member States research programmes.

 iii) Propose a plan for a better and sustainable use of the existing Marine Research Infrastructures (MRIs), developing a coherent vision, in line with the actions undertaken within the Capacity Programme (ESFRI opportunity list). The key issue to be addressed in SEAS-ERA is how to set up scientific joint programs while implementing a regular process for access to these MRIs. Other issues to be addressed are the sharing of a common vision, e.g. an infrastructure strategy for marine research among the Member States and other countries, fostering technological development to improve MRIs quality and service, developing a cooperation frame work and a funding tool box for shared investments, and developing a methodology for the use of industry infrastructures by public research.

 iv) Reduce imbalances among regions through human capacity building. An important issue to be taken into account is the need to assist countries in building institutional and organisational capacity through human resources for the development of ocean-related activities in order to improve science development and its utilization in Europe. To this end, the project will devote special attention to set-up a pan-European training and mobility strategy for human resources. When possible, links with other cooperative capacity building programmes in the field of coastal and ocean management will be developed (i.e. TRAIN-SEA-COAST Programme) so as to gain synergies.

 v) Enhance public awareness towards marine and maritime scientific and policy issues in Europe. The partners will be encouraged to profile SEAS-ERA nationally, regionally and pan-European, where appropriate. SEAS-ERA will have a strong commitment to translate the RTD activities into social, economic and cultural benefits. Outreach activities should become a means to engage stakeholders beyond the R&D community. SEAS-ERA will emphasise the particular importance for the consortium to enhance public awareness and understanding the role of science in marine and maritime policy. Overall, this will form a core element of the dissemination strategy.

 In summary, SEAS-ERA will constitute a platform for developing a European integrated policy oriented structure to promote knowledge and expertise in any sea related area; the overarching element of SEAS-ERA, its ambition to embrace the whole spectrum of marine and maritime research, makes it an open forum for knowledge sharing, a real arena where all the sea related knowledge can meet.

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