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COLUMBUS: Knowledge Transfer for Blue Growth

The marine environment constitutes two-thirds of our planet and offers huge potential for citizens' well-being, with extensive resources that form the basis for many economic activities. Europe is emerging from the worst financial crisis in recent history and rebuilding our economy demands that we identify sustainable opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The ocean is a source of food, water, energy and raw materials; a medium for tourism, transport and commerce; and, can provide solutions to many societal challenges. Nevertheless the ocean is neither inexhaustible nor immune to damage. Marine and maritime research has a critical role to play in developing our understanding of the seas and advancing technology so that we can grow their economic potential in a sustainable manner. However, key substantial research results are not always known or exploited when they could be of use to marine and maritime stakeholders (e.g. scientists and policymakers).

COLUMBUS is a 4m Blue Growth project designed to ensure that outputs arising from publicly funded marine research projects have positive societal benefit. The project will:

- Explore the challenges facing both the European marine and maritime sectors and create a priority list of our most urgent challenges and important knowledge needs.
- Discover results of past and current research projects on marine and maritime subjects, in particular those which could provide the solutions to overcome the highlighted identified challenges.
- Pioneer a new technique to better understand who can make use of this under-utilised knowledge and make sure that it is used for the benefit of all society.
- Ensure the innovative transfer of discovered knowledge to those that can use it.
- Make citizens aware of marine and maritime related research results that have an impact on their own daily lives.
- Leave a COLUMBUS legacy which will provide recommendations on how to improve the use of knowledge from research in the marine and maritime sectors.

To do this, COLUMBUS has established a "Knowledge Fellowship", a network of nine full-time Knowledge Fellows whose role will be to carry out Knowledge Transfer. Working together as a team and active network, this combined critical mass will provide a multiplier effect to help achieve measurable impacts and to develop a blueprint for future activities in this field of work, ultimately contributing to the development of a thriving and sustainable "blue" economy. These Knowledge Fellows will work across nine nodes, each with a specific focus area: aquaculture, marine biological resources, marine environment and futures, fisheries, marine governance and management, marine transport and logistics, monitoring and observation, marine physical resources, and marine tourism.

COLUMBUS expects to see its impact come from the consequences of improved knowledge uptake by the different marine and maritime stakeholders. Acceptance and use of knowledge in industry, policy, society and science depends on the awareness, perception and understanding these stakeholders have of that knowledge. To bridge this gap by developing robust and sustainable Knowledge Transfer systems, which can be easily adapted and used, is a key objective of the COLUMBUS project.

COLUMBUS will discover results of past and current research projects on marine and maritime subjects, in particular those which could provide the solutions to overcome the challenges facing both the European marine and maritime sectors.

The COLUMBUS Consortium is made up of 26 Partners across 14 countries to represent a balanced, multidisciplinary partnership, containing Pan-European organisations which reflect a broad constituency of stakeholders in the marine and maritime areas.

Marine South East are leading the 'Knowledge Transfer' work package with responsibility for coordinating the development, delivery and reporting of tailor-made plans to successfully transfer specific high potential 'Knowledge Outputs'.

For more information please visit:

To download a factsheet on the COLUMBUS project please follow the link:

To find out more about the project please contact Brendan Webster on

Posted 2015-10-27 10:25:32

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