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7th EMB Forum - Big Data in Marine Science: Supporting the European Green Deal, the EU Biodiversity Strategy, and the Digital Twin Ocean

The 7thEMB Forum brings together diverse stakeholders from government, academia, NGOs and industry to discuss the role of big data, digitalization and artificial intelligence in marine science to support of the EU Green Deal, the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and the development of a Digital Twin Ocean. Big data is rapidly transforming our society and is leading to a paradigm shift in the way we face major challenges including climate change and the sustainable management of our marine resources. With the expansion of the scale and scope of ocean observing systems and other data sources, an increasing flood of highly complex ocean data is being generated, often in near real-time. Data need to be integrated and readily available to support decision-making, which can be assisted by artificial intelligence as a tool for more complex analyses and a deeper understanding of the functioning, human impacts, and future state of the ocean. These topics are explored in more detail in the EMB Future Science Brief No. 6 ‘Big Data in Marine Science'.

Practical Information

Date: Friday 23rd October 2020

Time: 10:00 - 17:05 CEST

Format: The 7th EMB Forum was hosted as a zoom webinar. You can watch the recordings on the EMB YouTube Channel.


Download the agenda here.

Download biographies for the speakers and panelists here.


Download the 7th EMB Forum Proceedings here.

Focus of the Sessions

The European Green Deal is a roadmap for making Europe’s economy sustainable and enabling this change through a just and inclusive transition. The roadmap provides actions to move to a clean and circular economy, become climate-neutral by 2050, stop biodiversity loss, and minimize pollution. It aims to turn the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation into opportunities across all policy areas. This session explores how big data and artificial intelligence applications in marine science can support priority actions of the European Green Deal including marine spatial planning, marine renewable energy, and the impact of climate change on fisheries.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy is a core component of the European Green Deal and was launched in May 2020. It provides a comprehensive, ambitious, and long-term plan for protecting nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems for the benefit of people, the climate and the planet. It serves as the EU’s contribution to the international negotiations on the global post-2020 Biodiversity Framework and aims to support a green recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. It also aims to build resilience to threats including climate change, food insecurity and disease outbreaks. This session discusses the role of big data, digitalization, and artificial intelligence in the conservation and restoration of marine biodiversity. 

A Digital Twin Ocean is planned as part of the European Green Deal and the European Digital Strategy, and as part of a wider ambition to deliver a Digital Twin Earth under the ‘Destination Earth’ Initiative. Digital twins are virtual representations of real-world entities and a digital twin for the ocean should be a high-resolution, multi-dimensional digital replica in near real-time. It should integrate data, models and observations with digital technologies including cloud computing, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and data analytics. The ambition of the Digital Twin Ocean is to transform data into knowledge and facilitate co-creation and transdisciplinary approaches to support decision-making. It should support simulations in which different scenarios can be tested and will help to create a sense of collective responsibility by citizens, governments and industries to manage the ocean as a global common. This session will discuss how big data and artificial intelligence can contribute to further developing the concept and priorities for the Digital Twin ocean.


Britt Alexander - European Marine Board secretariat