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10.01.2019 14:51

Keep going! A New Year message by Andris Andrusaitis, Acting Executive Director, BONUS EEIG

The 2018 we just bade farewell has been a year full of events and relentless activity for the BONUS community.

The eight new synthesis projects funded from the 'BONUS call 2017: Synthesis' have now commenced. These projects aim to summarise and review our scientific knowledge in several areas that are critically important for restoring the Baltic Sea environment and achieving sustainable use of its services. This comes as a logical completion of almost ten years of effort by the BONUS research community and our response to stakeholders' increasing demand for scientifically robust solutions. Big questions can only be answered by joining forces of various research and innovation teams, disciplines, and projects.

Last year the BONUS agenda of cross-project collaboration and clustering included the 3rd BONUS Symposium ‘Sustainable Ecosystem Governance under Changing Climate and Land Use in the Baltic Sea Region’. This was organised jointly by four BONUS projects and brought together scientists and professionals of public and private sectors from 12 countries including USA, Netherlands, and Australia. In May, the article “The Baltic Sea as a time machine for the future coastal ocean” co-authored by scientists representing eight BONUS projects and developed through a series of drafting meetings supported by our programme was published by Science Advances[1]. Furthermore, in December we received news that the key outcomes of the 1st BONUS symposium “Science delivery for sustainable use of the Baltic Sea living resources” (October 2017) were published in a special issue of the ICES Journal of Marine Science[2].

Europe needs a fellowship of its regional seas’ research and innovation programmes! The BONUS-initiated workshop ‘Added value of cross-regional cooperation’ at the last year’s European Maritime Day conference in Burgas (Bulgaria) gathered for the first time the stakeholders of R&I in the Baltic, Black Sea and Mediterranean. Later in the year, the joint BONUS-HELCOM conference ‘Research and innovation for sustainability’ reinforced the synergies in efforts for sustainable development of the northern European regional with the key strategic actors: OSPAR, ICES and JPI Oceans. Last, but no means least, in November a new Baltic and North Sea Coordination and Support Action (BANOS CSA led by BONUS EEIG and involving the key research funders of 12 states surrounding the two seas was kicked off. This action will create necessary conditions for durable coordination of research and innovation in two European regional seas by preparing a framework for launching the joint Baltic Sea and North Sea research and innovation programme from 2021 onwards.

There are several remarkable events to look forward to in our 2019 calendar: presentation of selected science findings at the 40th meeting of the Helsinki Commission in March, the European Maritime Day in May and the annual forum of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region in June, and, importantly, a strong presence at the Baltic Sea Science Congress 2019 in August and in ICES Annual Science Conference in September. And this all on top of our regular work of running the ongoing projects. We are entering another busy period full of hard work! Louis Pasteur once said: “My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” Let our perseverance guide us through the New Year!

Andris Andrusaitis

Acting Executive Director, BONUS EEIG

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