The first training event of the GEORGE project will be organised in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France on 21-25 May 2024. The event brings together scientists, technicians and instrument manufacturers in a unique learning event and an active dialogue about ocean observing technologies. An online training platform will make this information known to a wider audience.

Training the marine scientific community to use the new technology developed in the GEORGE project is an important part of the project and a key way to ensure the technologies will be integrated into marine research infrastructures. The project has a designated work package that plans and executes training activities both on-site and online.

The goal is that on-site training will form a base for “a sustained Technical Forum for Ocean Carbon Observations”, which will continue to function as a forum for scientists and manufacturers to exchange ideas after the project. That’s why the training event is called the Technical Forum.

Edouard Leymarie (left) presenting an NKE Instrumentation profiling float at the GEORGE annual meeting in October 2023.

The topic of the first Technical Forum is platforms. The training will provide up-to-date expert information on several commonly used platforms in ocean Research Infrastructures. Among the platforms featured in the training are the Sailbuoy, used in surface ocean measurements; Argo floats and the glider SeaExplorer, used for horizontal and vertical water column observations; and the EGIM, used in seafloor observations.

“Autonomous platforms, whether at the surface, on the seabed or in the water column, are now essential systems for ocean observation. They have undergone unprecedented development over the last decade, making it possible to integrate increasingly complex sensors. This is one of GEORGE’s main objectives. This first training will allow participants to learn about the capabilities of the different platforms and how to use them with the new sensors integrated thanks to the GEORGE project.”, says Edouard Leymarie, Research Engineer at the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche and a task leader in WP6.

The participants for the Technical Forum consist of scientists and technicians from the broader ocean observing community formed by ICOS, EMSO and Euro-Argo. The Technical Forum will also present the participants with the unique opportunity to learn about each other’s measurement technologies – information which will become vital as the project goes on. Because ICOS, EMSO, and Euro-Argo measure different parts of the water column, this will be the first opportunity for many of their technicians to learn about each other’s measurements.

“From the outset of the project, these workshops were seen as an opportunity to bring together people involved in different research infrastructures in order to share knowledge and technologies. I have no doubt that this will open up future collaborations for the benefit of our communities,” Edouard Leymarie says.

Laurent Coppola (right) presenting the SeaExplorer to the GEORGE project team at the project’s annual meeting in October 2023.


The online training platform will provide equitable access to learning

Alongside the on-site sessions, the GEORGE project team has been actively developing the online component, known as the GEORGE online platform. While the number of participants in on-site events is limited due to space constraints, the online program will be able to reach a much broader, even global audience. It can be accessed free of charge from anywhere in the world.

The online training platform utilises an educational approach known as a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC). The University of Helsinki, the partner in charge of developing the GEORGE online training platform, has developed several successful courses on the platform, with topics ranging from 5G to sustainability and the ethics of AI.

“Developing the GEORGE online training platform as a MOOC enables us to offer something more than just the traditional manuals and teaching documents, but rather a holistic, interactive learning experience that is available to all, from domain experts to students of the field”, says Laura Sinikallio, Project Planner at the University of Helsinki and a task leader in WP6. “In GEORGE we have a unique opportunity to have the best minds across Europe bring forth their expertise, experiences, and recent advances. Together we aim to create an online learning forum with an impact that will outlive the project itself.”

The content for both the online and on-site training will be developed iteratively throughout the project and will contribute to the overall outcomes of the project. The topic of the second Technical Forum in 2025 will be sensors, and the third, organised in 2026, will focus on data management. The online training platform will also feature introductory materials about the ocean carbon system and ocean observing technologies.