The European Commission seeks to maximise the use of ocean data and information, by and for different intermediate and end-users.

From academia and policy-makers, businesses and start-ups, to private and non-profit organisations, user uptake activities target users worldwide.

EU4OceanObs, through its GEO Blue Planet component, aims to increase the technical uptake and promotion of EU initiatives linked to ocean data sharing and the development of societal applications derived from ocean observations. This involves creating synergies with the user uptake activities of Copernicus, and its Marine and Climate Services, and other EU ocean data and sharing infrastructures and portals such as EMODnet, BlueCloud, and SeaDataNet.

The EU4OceanObs component on the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative (FSOI) will facilitate the use of ocean data and information through several activities of the G7 FSOI working group, including the development of demonstration projects for seamless data integration and data sharing, and pilot projects for augmented observatories to enhance regional observing data collection and use.

See how programmes & initiatives funded by the EU are supporting the uptake of ocean data by different users:

  1. All users
  2. Users in regions and countries outside the EU
  3. EU and international decision-makers and governing bodies
  4. Civil society

1. Uptake by all users

The Copernicus Marine Service User Uptake Programme showcases how Copernicus Marine Service data and information can be used in various sectors. The programme funds key actors that develop services/applications using Copernicus Marine data and information. These demos serve as exemplary cases to inspire new users. Use Case Demos provide examples of: development of local economies, promotion of sustainable coastal management, and contributions to European Directives. For more examples of how Copernicus Marine data is used click here.

Working with industry and experts, the Copernicus Climate Service supports case studies, use cases and demo cases around key sectoral themes to address climate-related issues that businesses or communities are facing across Europe. The Service develops demonstrator projects to explore how Copernicus climate data can be used to address key climate challenges in different sectors.

For start-ups, The European Commission (EC) has set up the Copernicus Start-up Programme to achieve Copernicus’ overall objective of maximising socio- economic benefits and supporting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by promoting the use of Earth observation in applications and services. The Programme accompanies start-ups from the creation of a business idea to its full commercialisation. The programme consists of four components: the Copernicus Prizes, the Copernicus Accelerator, Copernicus Incubation and the Copernicus Hackathons. For more information, click here.

A number of actions have been implemented by the Commission such as the launch of the Copernicus Relays and the Copernicus Academy, two networks to serve EU and non-EU citizens, academics, entrepreneurs and businesses.

Copernicus Relays act as local champions, coordinating and promoting activities around the Copernicus Programme, its benefits, and opportunities for local residents and businesses.

The Copernicus Academy connects universities, research institutions, business schools, both private and non-profit organisations, in the Copernicus Participating Countries (EU28 + Norway & Iceland) and beyond. The goal of the network is to facilitate collaborative research and training programmes and materials to empower the next generation of researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs with suitable skill sets to use Copernicus data and information services to their full potential.

One of the missions of the Copernicus Skills Programme, established by the European Commission is to build a coordinated strategy on skills development around the use of Copernicus and Earth Observation data for Europe. Furthermore, this Programme seeks to achieve awareness of the space data potentialities in the downstream sector together with digital skills development by enhancing the uptake of the Copernicus data and information products with a particular attention to academics, universities and education institutions.

The Copernicus MOOC is an online training aimed at enabling anyone to understand how to use Earth Observation data in order to address societal challenges and generate business opportunities. Participants will learn how Copernicus data can be used for evidence-based public policy, as well as to develop new products and services, open up new markets, improve quality of life, and make the most of limited resources in a sustainable way.

European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) develops use cases for each of its data portals (bathymetry, central portal, biology, chemistry, physics, seabed habitats, human activities, checkpoints, data ingestion, geology) for businesses, policy makers and research. To find out more, click here.

Blue-Cloud Demonstrators have been selected as applications that are specific for oceans and seas, could be expanded to fresh water bodies, and are necessary for marine ecosystems research, conservation, forecasting & innovation in the Blue Economy. Each demonstrator will deliver a service accessible through a Virtual Lab powered by the Blue Cloud Platform. Each Virtual Lab will provide access to datasets, products, and computations routine exploitable to analyse datasets and (re)generate products. The Blue Cloud VRE will have a common dashboard for accessing Virtual Labs for performing collaborative research. For more information, click here.

SeaDataNet’s VRE offers a collaborative environment to perform data-driven research. The VRE allows  researchers  to execute  complex workflows of data‐driven  experiments  in  the  cloud,  thus  reducing  data  transfers  and  leveraging  remote computational facility. Click here, for more information.

e-shape is a EU H2020 project that brings together decades of public investment in Earth Observation and in cloud capabilities into services for the decision-makers, the citizens, the industry and the researchers. To strengthen the benefits of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) for Europe, e-shape establishes ‘EuroGEO’, the EU’s contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems. This aims at bringing together Earth Observation resources in Europe, and allows Europe to position itself as global force in Earth observation through leveraging Copernicus, making use of existing European capacities and improving user uptake of the data from GEO assets.

27 cloud-based pilot applications under 7 thematic areas address societal challenges, foster entrepreneurship and support sustainable development, in alignment to the 3 main priorities of GEO (UN Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement and Sendaï Framework).

EuroSea will develop Innovation Demonstrators in 3 action areas: Coastal resilience and operational services, ocean health, and ocean climate indicators. To find out more, click here.

The All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System (AtlantOS), is supporting several ocean observing use cases that showcase the added value of a more integrated ocean observing system. The Use Cases are on specific themes including mitigating impacts of sargassum, Atlantic meridional ocean circulation, ocean carbon uptake, fisheries and marine animal movements. To find out more, click here.

Under the European Union’s (EU) Destination Earth Initiative in line with its Green Deal and Digital Package, the next step is to develop a Digital Twin of the Ocean.

Building on the integration of existing EU leading-edge capacities in ocean observation, data infrastructures and modelling and forecasting services using innovative IT technology, this initiative will develop a digital, high-resolution, multi-dimensional and near real-time representation of the global ocean. Different users, from scientists and policy makers to businesses and NGOs, will be able to use this digital platform and its tools, fed by their own data, to transform ocean data and create their own scenarios and solutions for the ocean and further advance their ocean knowledge.

More on this initiative coming soon.

2. Uptake by regions and countries outside the EU

The European Commission through EU4OceanObs seeks to promote EU capacities and best practices in ocean observing to other regions and non-EU countries. This includes increasing the user uptake of EU flagship programmes (Copernicus, Copernicus Marine Service) and data infrastructures such as EMODnet and Blue-Cloud, amongst others. EU4OceanObs also aims to facilitate partnerships and strengthen existing partnerships between the European Commission and non-EU countries and other regions to improve user uptake and enhance the capacity and coverage of the global ocean observing system.

The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) is a 30 million Euro joint programme co-financed by the European Commission and the African Union Commission. The Programme intends to adapt and use the Copernicus Programme data and services in the African context. GMES and Africa is designed to specifically respond to African needs with respect to the development of services for water, natural resources, marine and coastal areas, address the global needs to manage the environment, and ensure civil security.

GMES and Africa Support Programme aims to improve African policy-makers’, planners’, scientists’, business and private sector and citizens’ capacities to design, implement, and monitor national, regional and continental policies and to promote sustainable management of natural resources through the use of Earth Observation data and derived information.

3. Uptake by EU and international decision-makers and governing bodies

The European Commission is also supporting uptake of ocean data to inform International and public policies and also contribute to international objectives and goals, such as the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Through the Copernicus Programme and the Copernicus Marine Service, the EU develops assets for

  • EU marine policies, programmes and initiatives,
  • Underpinning international legal commitments towards a sustainable ocean,
  • Supporting States and local institutions to uphold marine related regulations.

The expertise and products of the Copernicus Marine Service bring value to national services and bodies implementing public policies by supplying scientifically assessed, relevant, and free ocean information. The Copernicus Marine Service produces:

  • ocean physics and biogeochemistry data, which are made available to inform reports, statements, guidelines and other policy documents of international governing bodies and organisations. For example, Copernicus Marine Service data has been used
  • the Ocean Monitoring Indicators, a growing portfolio of essential ocean variables used to evaluate ocean health,
  • the Ocean State Report provides a comprehensive and state-of-the art assessment of the state of the global ocean and European regional seas for the ocean scientific community as well as for policy and decision-makers
    • This report was used by the IPCC process to determine the degree of certainty in assessment findings in the IPCC’s special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

Experts involved in the Copernicus Marine Service also assist international organisations and decision-making bodies through

4. Uptake by the Civil Society

The European Commission seeks to raise public awareness about the many chal-lenges facing the ocean, and the critical role of ocean data and information in monitoring ocean health, climate change and contributing to a sustainable blue economy. To this end, EU-supported initiatives carry out various ocean literacy ac-tions to inform the general public on EU commitments to ocean knowledge and sustainable use. These actions include providing access to marine data and ocean literacy information, development of educational tools, holding awareness events, developing partnerships with NGOs to lead awareness programmes, launching youth orientated activities, to mention a few. Through these actions, ocean science and knowledge is shared with civil society. This in turn promotes the uptake of ocean in-formation and derived marine applications, and contributes to global sustainable ocean initiatives.

The EU4OceanObs communication activities aim to raise awareness and build strong public engagement in support of global ocean observations. This includes, showcas-ing what the EU is doing in each component of the ocean observing value chain, from supporting data collection, to sharing data and information and promoting the development of marine applications for societal benefits.

The Copernicus Marine Service supports societal awareness in the following ways:

  • The Blue Book, which is a report to inform all European citizens on how the Copernicus Marine Service benefits society as a whole.
  • Ocean literacy tools on marine plastic pollution
  • Non-profit partnerships, awareness events and exhibitions
  • Ocean literacy networks: Ecsite (the European network of sciences centre and museum), the Ocean and Climate Platform, and IOC-UNESCO.
  • Together with Mercator Ocean international (MOi),  Coerpnicus Marine has launched a partnership with the organisation Sulitest to co-produce a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 pedagogical module with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, targeting the general public, combining ocean policy and ocean literacy.

EMODnet’s European Atlas of the Seas aims to raise awareness of Europe’s seas and coasts in the context of the EU’s integrated maritime policy. To improve accessibility to all EU citizens, the Atlas is available in the 24 official languages of the European Union.

European Ocean Coalition connects diverse organisations, projects and people that contribute to ocean literacy and the sustainable management of the ocean. Funded by the European Commission