G7 Future of Seas and Oceans Initiative

Workshop on Marine Research Infrastructures integration and harmonization

Research Infrastructures (RIs) are large-scale facilities that include instruments, resources, data, and services used by scientists for research in their respective fields. Marine RIs consist of specialized vessels, platforms, and marine facilities dedicated to research and monitoring, including sustained ocean observation systems. These systems enable continuous ocean observations that support scientific research, public services, marine resource management, spatial planning, meteorological forecasts, hazard response, climate services, policy needs, and the blue economy. Due to the number, heterogeneity, and complementarity of oceanic observing systems, a coordinated effort is required to integrate and interlink different RIs and national integrated ocean observing systems, as emphasized at the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona.

To address this issue, the G7 FSOI Working Group endorsed a theme on the integration and harmonization of marine research infrastructures as a 2024 emerging topic. The aim is to develop a common definition of marine research infrastructure in the context of sustained ocean observing, to map the existing facilities and observing networks currently sustained by long-term investments, to review and assess the current limitations to sustained operations and barriers to global infrastructure sharing and collaboration, and to agree on a common vision and strategy for integration and harmonization.

The workshop will take place in Bologna, Italy on July 12, 2024. Invited participants include a) representatives of national agencies or ministries who finance ocean observing networks, b) leading experts and/or managers of national or regional marine research infrastructure/observing networks, c) Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) national focal points, and d) relevant experts from the Group of Senior Officials on Global Research Infrastructures to provide advice on how other global research infrastructures have been established and operated.

A summary of the workshop findings and recommendations will be presented at the 2024 G7 FSOI working group annual meeting on October 29-31, Rome. These recommendations and eventual agreements on coordinated actions will contribute to the FSOI Working Group report to the G7 Science and Technology Ministers.

Italy is leading the organization of this workshop with support from the UK.