In Europe, marine research and technology underpin the competitiveness of the industry and service sectors. Society needs to invest in human resources and infrastructure to advance marine sector development against a background of the rising industrialisation of Europe’s seas and oceans. European seas are experiencing increasing human impact; for example from renewable energy provision, aggregate extraction, fishing and leisure industries. The goal is for sustainable development, which means protecting the marine ecosystem, minimising the impacts of climate change, natural hazards and anthropogenic influences, whilst maximising benefits to society. Marine environmental policies, management of marine resources, coastal planning and marine operations should support sustainable development. Managers need to adopt an integrated approach in order to make the best informed decisions. Good management and decision support systems rely on the timely delivery of routine, reliable, quality-assured marine data. Finding innovative solutions that meet the sustainable development challenge stimulate the economy and at the same time protect our environment is clearly beneficial.
Operational oceanography is defined as ‘systematic and long-term routine measurements of the seas and oceans and atmosphere, and the rapid interpretation and dissemination of information’. Operational oceanography is evolving towards the provision of integrated, service-oriented applications, which are essential for the needs of a knowledge-based society. Marine observing systems are being set up in European coastal seas to meet a range of different requirements; policy, research, operation and for industry. A key requirement from marine observing systems is the provision of reliable, high-quality and comprehensive measurements over long time periods. These are provided through the use of multiple observing platforms that include ships, automated platforms and sensors systems. In-situ observations, combined with remote sensing and numerical modelling techniques, help detect, understand and forecast the most crucial coastal processes, over extensive areas. The JERICO project aims to create a network of European coastal marine observatories that integrate a range of observational systems such as moorings, drifters, ferrybox and gliders. The project also identifies best practices for design, implementation, maintenance and distribution of data from coastal observing systems, as well as setting quality standards. The advent of multi-disciplinary, spatially widespread, long term and real-time marine data and information is triggering an unprecedented leap in the economic value of ocean data. Marine data, information and knowledge are essential for managing marine resources efficiently and are of benefit to industry and the services sectors, for example marine transportation, safety and public health. The future will require multiple-purpose observing systems, linking marine data to economic, environmental and social domains. Such systems cater not only for monitoring, but also for research, service provision, security, safety and for policy purposes. This is critical to competitiveness, product development and enhancement of services, and will help implement the EU integrated maritime policy.
The purpose of the first JERICO summer school was to invest in human resourc