Research vessels and their equipment are one of the most reliable means we have of accessing diverse marine environments to conduct research. The ocean and its inhabitants play a significant role in the changes facing the globe, and developing our understanding of marine ecosystems is therefore more important than ever. Marine research infrastructures are critical for supporting the continued development of marine scientific evidence. Given their importance, a review of the current European fleet and its capabilities was conducted, with information also gathered on fleet management and operation, and on training.
This Policy Brief outlines why we need research vessels, explaining the multiple roles they play in supporting marine science and ocean observing. It presents an overview of the current European fleet and its capabilities, including specialized capacity to conduct research in deep-sea and Polar regions. It highlights the importance of transnational access for European researchers within this context. It also briefly outlines the concerns around training for vessel crew, marine technicians and shore-based staff. It then presents the main recommendations of EMB Position Paper 25, which are applicable to the research vessel and marine science communities, national and Euoprean funders and to policy makers. This publication summarises the main messages and recommendations of the recent EMB Position Paper 25 on “Next Generation European Research Vessels: Current Status and Foreseeable Evolution”, which was produced in collaboration with the European Research Vessel Operators (ERVO) community. The Position Paper provided a comprehensive look at the current research vessel fleet in Europe, updating the findings and recommendations of EMB Position Paper 10 from 2007 on “European Ocean Research Fleets - Towards a Common Strategy and Enhanced Use”.
The main messages and recommendations of PP25 and PB7 have also been featured in a number of articles including:
- How European research vessels can support a sustainable blue economy, ECO Magazine, January/February 2020 edition
- Preparing the European fleet of research vessels for the future, Hydro International, March/April 2020 edition
- Europe needs more collaboration on research vessels, Sea Technology Magazine, April 2020 edition
EMB tracks the dissemination and impact of its documents for at least 2 years after publication. You can find a short summary of the dissemination and impact of this policy brief here.