EMSO-Link is a 3-year project underpinning the long-term sustainability of EMSO ERIC

EMSO pursues the long-term objective to be part of the upcoming European Ocean Observing System (EOOS), which is expected to integrate multiple platforms and data systems, including other ERICs, to achieve the first sustained, standardized and permanent observatory network of the European seas. EMSO ERIC coordinates the access to the facilities and supports the management of data streams from EMSO observatories.

EMSO-Link will accelerate the establishment of EMSO ERIC governance rules and procedures and will facilitate the coordination of EMSO infrastructure construction, operation, extension and maintenance.

Specifically, EMSO-Link will:

1. Reinforce and expand the EMSO ERIC membership to optimize the inclusion of the whole European Marine technology and research institutions.

2. Progress towards coordinated operations of the infrastructure nodes, interoperability and standardization as well as capacity increase and synchronizing funding of regional nodes.

3. Enhance stakeholders (e.g., marine operators, industry, academia, universities and marine experts) active engagement through a number of awareness raising campaigns.

4. Enhance relations with sister marine initiatives and counterpart/complementary RIs through Memoranda of Understanding also in coordination with COOP+ EC Project.

5. Strengthen EMSO ERIC contribution to European economic growth and innovation through implementation of a powerful marine technologies Innovation Platform serving and cooperating with Industry and SMEs.

EMSO-Link will contribute to the identification of methodologies for the achievement of Good Environmental Status of the European marine waters by 2020, according to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Work Packages

WP1 – Project management
Lead beneficiary: EMSO ERIC; Months: 1-36

1. Ensure project completion
2. Ensure internal and external coordination and collaboration
3. Monitor performance and progress
4. Represent the project in front of external parties
5. Liaison with the European Commission
6. Resolve conflict
7. Organise technical, administrative and review meetings
8. Implement a gender equality strategy
9. Coordinate the preparation and distribution of all deliverables

WP2 – Standards and interoperability
Lead beneficiary IFREMER; Months: 1-36

The various external evaluations of EMSO (ESONET NoE final evaluation 2011, EMSO Ocean Observatories Challenges and Progress conference in 2012, ESFRI evaluation in 2013) underlined the capacity to build standards and implement them for cost efficiency at EU level as a major asset of EMSO. In such a distributed infrastructure, it represents a common reference linking the Regional Teams and the EMSO governance bodies. Service groups are mobilized in this WP, among them Science Service Group working with STEAC to update and prioritize specifications, the Engineering Service Group to implement interoperability actions, propose new mature technologies or new operating methods able to be widely used inside EMSO ERIC and become references attracting new members.

EMSO standards and interoperability topics include:
● Subsea observatory architecture and major or critical underwater subsystems and components (e.g., connectors) (progressing respect to EMSO PP)
● Underwater intervention on multidisciplinary subsea observatories with ships and ROVs (addressed in EMSO-Link)
● Enhancement of Open data policy (started in EMSODEV ongoing project)
● Sensor Web Enablement (addressed in EMSO-Link)
● Metrology and calibration (addressed in EMSO-Link)
● Testing towards robustness, Reliability, Availability and Maintenaibilty studies (input from ENVRIplus, FixO3 and NeXOS projects)
● EMSO Generic instrumentation module (EGIM; addressed in EMSODEV ongoing project)
● Maintenance procedures (addressed in EMSO-Link, see WP3 Task 3.3)

The use of the word “standards” only refers to the time consuming and costly national and international standardisation procedures in a few cases, mainly testing programs and metrology protocols where specialized institutes can support EMSO. The EMSO process is to collect best practices from the operation of multidisciplinary observatories in Europe and worldwide and, thanks to expert engineers from research, operational oceanography and industrial projects, establish synthesis Handbooks and chapters of a “label”. EMSO ERIC will take the lead thanks to EMSO-Link and play a role on the promotion of interoperability at international level (see WP7). For instance, an international working group (the Smart Ocean Sensors Consortium) is focused on offering standard mechanisms in order to facilitate new sensor integration on marine platforms and also a quick access to data through OGC standards (Open Geospatial Consortium). EMSO is now in a good position to contribute to this working group that includes people from institutions like the MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California), IFREMER, UPC, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Ocean Networks Canada, and also some representatives from companies involved in marine technologies.

WP3 Infrastructure access
Lead beneficiary EMSO ERIC; Months: 1-36

1. Support the organisation of the Regional Teams
2. Definition and signature of the agreements with the owners of regional nodes
3. Definition of the maintenance costs of the nodes to establish the costs of access to the nodes
4. Definition of the terms and conditions of users’ access

WP4 Pilots of access provision
Lead beneficiary NERC; Months: 2-32

There has been considerable progress both within the EMSO community and beyond in prioritizing access and service themes (e.g., Ruhl et al., 2011; Connecting GEO 2016). This work has recently built upon the progress of ESONET-NOE and EMSO-PP to develop prototype EGIMs that will enable access and services for EMSO stakeholders for several of the most basic science themes. However, simultaneous improvements in technical capability with sensors and observatory networking, along with the evolution of concepts such as Essential Variables across many natural science stakeholder groups has highlighted the value in considering more specialized themes. This need was foreseen during ESONET-NOE (Ruhl et al., 2011). Moreover, the need to initiate trials and refine workflows for various activities has been realized during EMSODEV and FixO3, where reducing human intervention in delivering services is a key objective.

Our objectives in this WP are to:
1. Produce an access and services roadmap that takes into account new stakeholder inputs including scientist, policy makers, industry groups from both observatory suppliers, and those industries active in the open ocean such as oil and gas, and seafloor mining.
2. To manage TNA activities streamline workflows towards providing Science Services Activities for key stakeholders including those related to 1) Geo-hazards, 2) Operational Climate and Oceanographic, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and 3) Integrative Research.

WP5 Business plan and technology transfer
Lead beneficiary MARINE INSTITUTE; Months: 1-36

1. Map links to national and regional funding agencies
2. Identify and link intergovernmental funding strategies to national/regional funding strategies
3. Define IPR Procedures
4. Produce risk register and key performance indicators
5. Outline funding strategies and sustainability

WP6 Communication and outreach
Lead beneficiary INGV; Months: 1-36

Effective communication of the steps taken by the new pan-European Research Infrastructure EMSO ERIC is of utmost importance in increasing the visibility to the scientific community, the policy makers and business communities, as well as to the wider public. As a distributed research infrastructure dedicated to monitoring the seafloor and the water-column phenomena, EMSO has a major role in spreading the message that the European marine sciences are entering in a new model of knowledge. Nevertheless, all these major steps forward in the advancement of sciences, as well as scientific and innovation opportunities offered by the EMSO observatories, must be shared and clearly brought to the attention of the interested stakeholders and in particular of the scientists, of the industry representatives, of the public and of the policy makers.
This is why the EMSO-Link communication and outreach will be addressed the various categories of stakeholders through dedicated channels. A special focus will include the different EMSO elements s such as the observatories, data, the EMSO Generic Instrument Module and their potential: from addressing societal challenges to offering R&D opportunities, from promoting new business development to giving a step change in knowledge.

WP7 Dissemination and External relations
Lead beneficiary HCMR; Months: 1-36

This work package will enhance and strengthen the international and European collaboration increasing the trust, awareness and buy-in of the scientific and industrial users of EMSO. It will provide the backbone for elaborating the roadmap for the sustainable development of the EMSO ERIC, maximizing its impacts on research and policy implementation, as well as innovation and value creation for Europe.

The main objectives of this Work Package are:
● To enlarge and reinforce the existing membership;
● To consolidate and promote the partnership between the Commission, Member States, Associated Countries and relevant stakeholders;
● To upgrade the synergy with other related research Infrastructures;
● To enhance the interaction with potential industrial users and technology partners increasing trust and awareness;
● To increase international cooperation linking ocean scientists and engineers into an international team (global dimension)

This work package is central to the proposal and integral to the other WPs – Development of collaboration framework with regional nodes (WP2), Infrastructure Access (WP3), Pilots of Access Provision (WP4), Business Plan Update and Technology Transfer (WP5) and Communication and Outreach (WP6) while it will also contribute to the Capacity Building and thus connected with WP8.

WP8 Capacity building
Lead beneficiary CNRS; Months: 1-36

In order to contribute to EMSO ERIC long-term sustainability, WP8 will foster the coordinated training of scientists, engineers and users, within and beyond the perimeter of the ERIC. The training plan will address the needs identified by EMSO ERIC (EB/CMO/Service groups) in order to accelerate the construction of its organisation, to promote its services, attract new members, and best achieve its main objectives (Business Plan) :

● coordinate and promote access to the EMSO ERIC distributed research infrastructure;
● coordinate construction, extension and maintenance of the EMSO ERIC multidisciplinary marine laboratories;
● enable long-term data series acquisition from the seafloor and throughout the water column;
● proactively facilitate and spread the use of data for scientific research as well as the timely and pertinent delivery of data for use in geohazard early warning and operational oceanography;
● push ahead the achievement and long-term vision of the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS).

Achieving these objectives involves an unprecedented effort in terms of integration of multidisciplinary scientific and technical expertise. Training of the EMSO scientific and technical community is a key instrument to succeed. Because deep sea observation is an international new frontier, and because users of EMSO data from an international community, training will also integrate the experience and the actors of other related European and international projects, with which EMSO-Link plans to establish durable relations (WP7). EMSO-Link training will also be directed to the public outside the EMSO and deep sea observatory community, and particularly to the younger generations, promoting our science and contributing to the emergence of the next generations of ocean science engineers and researchers. EMSO is one of the principal players in the international move by the science and technology communities toward establishing long-term water column and seabed multidisciplinary observatories.
Our aim is, through the 3 years training program proposed in WP8, to train the EMSO ERIC staff and community of users in such a way that EMSO can be maintained as an international leader in this rapidly growing new field. We also recognize that in this new field there will be a long-lasting need for interdisciplinary integration and training. WP8 will therefore also work toward its legacy and identify the optimal way to organise the Science Service Group that will be in charge of carrying up its training activities within the EMSO ERIC. It will also play a critical role as a relay between the scientific community (ESONET-Vi and beyond) and the EMSO structure. EMSO success will be measured in terms of integration and interoperability, and in terms of being able to provide relevant data sets, and to facilitate access to its infrastructure for experiments that address new scientific and/or societal challenges. This requires smooth and effective relays between the ERIC and its community of potential users. The Science Service group will also facilitate interactions among synergistic research projects, help identify funding options and provide counseling on how to meet specific research needs with the EMSO infrastructure. WP8 will lead the establishment of this Science Service Group within the ERIC structure.

WP9 Transnational Access to EMSO infrastructure
Lead beneficiary NERC; Months: 1-36

Provision of access to the following infrastructure(s): EMSO Nice, EMSO PYLOS and EMSO Smartbay.

Support offered under this proposal: Infrastructural, logistical, technological and scientific support will be offered by providers to successful bids accessing the TNA facilities. The nature of the support being offered may change from facility to facility and will be outlined in detail in the text of the open calls.

Outreach to new users: The work package will promote access to users and user-groups, including users from countries where similar facilities are not available. The open calls will be published widely through the web, mailing lists and through other public access media. This activity will be coordinated in WP4.

Review procedure under this proposal: Proposals will be accepted based on a set of clearly defined evaluation criteria. The project will establish an efficient independent peer-review evaluation system for proposals. A selection panel formed of experts will be set up by access providers to assist in selecting the user groups. The selection panel will assess all proposals received and recommend a short-list of the user groups that should benefit from access free of charge. Principles of transparency, fairness and impartiality will be applied. These activities will be coordinated in WP4.