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24.10.2017 09:40

The first BONUS Symposium brought about new evidences and knowledge for improved management of marine living resources in the Baltic Sea, Tallinn on 17-19 October 2017

“This symposium is a living example of how the gap of science and policy relevance should be bridged”, said the stakeholder panellist Sigi Gruber, Head of Marine Resources Unit of DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission on the final day of the first BONUS symposium.

This first BONUS Symposium initiated by Dr. Henn Ojaveer of BONUS INSPIRE and organised together with BONUS BIO-C3 project on science delivery for sustainable use of the Baltic Sea living resources consisted of science delivery not only for the scientific community around the Baltic Sea but also, through stakeholder panel discussions, for the policy-relevant cross-sectoral audience of key end users. Such included, among other, representatives from HELCOM, ICES, OSPAR, JPI Oceans, EFARO, WWF as well as relevant ministries in Estonia, wider Baltic Sea region and the European Commission.

The opening speech was delivered by Dr. Tarmo Soomere, President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Andris Andrusaitis welcomed the 150 participants on the BONUS Secretariat’s behalf as well in the capacity of Chair of the Symposium’s Scientific Committee.

Noteworthy is that so many ongoing BONUS projects contributed to the symposium. Those included BONUS INSPIRE, BIO-C3, GOHERR, BALTICAPP, BAMBI, BLUEWEBS, CHANGE, BALTCOAST, OPTIMUS and INTEGRAL projects as well as two BONUS+ projects ECOSUPPORT and IBAM through their earlier data. This was very welcomed in particular as in the light of a recent paper by Pauline Snoeijs, Steve Bernard, Mike Elliott et al. “Towards better integration of environmental science in society: Lessons from BONUS” published by Environmental Science and Policy, there is strong evidence of collaborative projects, such as in BONUS’s, tending to produce better quality papers than the single-team papers. 

 “Also, a distinct characteristic of the entire symposium was a brilliant integration of applied research (need-to-know) with exciting curiosity stories (nice-to-know)”, summarised Andrusaitis . Although the symposium mainly dealt with the need-to-know questions, already just a browse through the abstract book revealed many exciting curiosity-driven science presentations on the agenda. 

As knowledge synthesis is the way forward towards stronger impact, it was good to note that this was an element well featured on the symposium’s agenda. The importance of knowledge synthesis was underlined by  presentations such as ‘The Baltic Sea as a model for future Ocean’ by a number of BONUS projects, as well as by three keynotes by distinguished speakers, namely Dr. Jason Link, Ecological Research at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Prof. Dr. Herman Hummel, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Institute of Oceanography of the University of Gdansk as well as Prof. Adriaan Rijnsdorp, Wageningen Marine Research, the Netherlands .

The session ended with closing words by Dr. Kaisa Kononen of the BONUS Secretariat informing the audience about the very recently published and very positive final evaluation of BONUS. “The three busy days of the symposium, and ‘the close-knit BONUS family’, were remarkably supportive towards young researchers, who were offered numerous possibilities for oral and poster presentations alongside with their senior colleagues and supervisors, and became even stronger and more closely linked together“, concluded the moderator and co-organiser of the event, the current Chair of BONUS Steering Committee Dr. Maria Habicht from the Estonian Research Council.  

  • Further information about the Symposium, as well as future updates on a synthesis paper that is being developed based on the stakeholder panel discussions of the Symposium will be made available through the Symposium website at
  • BONUS in Brief October 2017 guest column article on highlights of the BONUS INSPIRE and BIO-C3 projects' results by Stefan Neuenfeldt, Henn Ojaveer and Jan Dierking  

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