A diver swims between long algae in the sea

Transfer

Using Knowledge Effectively for Politics, Business and Society

The transfer of scientific findings to politics, business and society with a view to promoting the sustainable use of coasts, seas and oceans is a core element of the German Marine Research Alliance (DAM).

The DAM pools the expertise of the German marine research community, ensures a goal- and needs-oriented exchange of knowledge and fosters the dialogue with politics and society. In addition, the DAM develops strategies for cooperating with industry, for promoting young scientists and for forging knowledge partnerships.

The pink sea slug lives in the algae forests of the Atlantic
Nudibranch off Norway | Picture: Dirk Schories
The Ocean Decade

The United Nations has proclaimed the years 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Policy makers, society and scientists are to work together to successfully implement sustainable development goals for “life under water”. Knowledge transfer plays a key role here. All the DAM’s transfer activities are also in the context of the UN Decade.

from science into practice

Scientific findings have an impact on society when they lead to innovation, new developments, decision-making or a growth in knowledge outside the research community. At the same time, exchanging information with non-scientists allows questions and views that are pertinent to society to be incorporated into research. As an umbrella organisation, the DAM builds on the expertise of the German marine research community to provide the framework for the application-oriented transfer of specialist knowledge on various topics surrounding the sustainable management of coasts, seas and oceans. Working together in the DAM, German marine research can achieve greater visibility and efficacy within society and on the political agenda.

Ocean Literacy

The oceans influence human beings in many different ways and conversely we influence the oceans. The United Nations has launched a worldwide initiative to increase our understanding of this interrelationship: “Ocean Literacy” addresses decision-makers and society alike to promote the sustainable use of seas and oceans.

Two women lay out fish to dry on the beach
Fishing in Ghana | Picture: ZMT
Two schoolgirls stand by the sea and watch a scientific sample
School class on sea excursion | Picture: GEOMAR
Several divers wade into the sea with equipment
Dive off Chile | Picture: Dirk Schories
Two people examine a piece of driftwood with shells on a beach by the sea
Barnacles on the beach | Picture: Dirk Schories
A diver swims in the sea under a big red jellyfish
Dive with comb jelly | Picture: Dirk Schories

fields of action FOR the DAM knowledge transfer

Exchanging knowledge with experts working in politics, business and civil society is crucial when it comes to developing viable concepts for the protection and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems and integrating them effectively into the political and social context. Under the umbrella of the DAM, the expertise of the German marine research community is being brought together to produce science-based analyses of issues relating to the sustainable use of the oceans. The DAM can ensure that knowledge is exchanged in a way that is appropriate to the objectives and needs, and can become a central partner for advising policy and society, as well as the exchange of information between the various protagonists in research and society. Stakeholders play an important role in the DAM’s research missions, ensuring that practical aspects are incorporated into the research projects and science-based courses of action can be developed. In addition, cross-cutting transfer formats are being developed to bring together the expertise of the member institutions on socially relevant marine issues in a needs-oriented manner.

The sustainable management of our natural resources – including our coastlines, seas and oceans, as the largest habitat on earth – is a challenge for society and a key question for the future of humankind. Finding paths that lead to greater sustainability is an issue not only for science and politics, but for society as a whole. Sustainability also relies on the understanding of citizens and their willingness to participate in transformation processes and to live them. A prerequisite for this is that everyone must understand what they are talking about. In addition to a concrete exchange of knowledge with stakeholders from politics, business and civil society, there must therefore also be a broad and effective dialogue with society at large, one that motivates and offers opportunities for participation and further education. Appropriate formats are being developed in the core area of Transfer, for example in cooperation with museums, to give access to and an overview of socially relevant marine topics, to provide food for thought on sustainable behaviour and to create opportunities for dialogue and participation.

The DAM is developing a strategic concept for promoting young scientists and engineers and supporting and implementing it with the help of the participating research institutions. As an added value, the DAM can provide a more comprehensive overview and interlinking of the offers available to students, PhD students and postdocs, and promote the exchange between young researchers and stakeholders from politics, business and civil society. Based on the research and needs analysis conducted at its member institutions, the DAM develops measures that serve this added value by combining digital solutions with offers for a personal exchange.

Capacity development is a broad term that covers various training, exchange and support measures for different target groups in a national and international context. The three fields of action already discussed in the context of knowledge exchange are also part of capacity development. In the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, knowledge partnerships with emerging and developing countries are particularly important as a means of promoting the sustainable management of coasts, seas and oceans globally. As the umbrella organisation of the German marine research community, the DAM can enhance the connectivity of existing capacity development measures in order to increase their strategic effectiveness, and supplement them with targeted new measures.

Concept for the transfer of knowledge within the DAM: PDF

Background paper on the DAM’s concept for transfer (in German): PDF

Seaweed under water
Seaweed has great economic potential. | Picture: Dirk Schories

“For many, the ocean is the new economic frontier. It holds the promise of immense resource wealth and great potential for boosting economic growth, employment and innovation. And it is increasingly recognised as indispensable for addressing many of the global challenges facing the planet in the decades to come, from world food security and climate change to the provision of energy, natural resources and improved medical care.”
OECD (2016): The Ocean Economy in 2030

Cooperation with Business

In order to encourage the sustainable use of coasts, seas and oceans, it is particularly important to work together with industry stakeholders, promoting solutions and innovation for sustainable management and forging new alliances for this purpose. The DAM can help to initiate this type of cooperative venture involving science, marine technology and industrial players, while also including politics and society in the process.

The activities of the DAM, especially its research missions, are designed to allow research and development projects to be established in close cooperation with industry. To this end, the DAM is strengthening the exchange with industry representatives and technology transfer. Companies can benefit in many ways from participating in the DAM research missions, while in turn enriching them effectively as important stakeholders and partners. Aspects from which both sides can benefit include:

  • joint projects for research and development, testing, innovation and technology transfer
  • joint initiatives for personnel development and promoting young scientists
  • joint impulses and initiatives for a sustainable management of coasts, seas and oceans that is fit for the future
  • promoting international networking.

Promoting sustainability

A survey carried out by the German Society for Marine Technology (12/2020) demonstrates that the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the related measures adopted by the German government are not nearly as well known in companies as they are in research institutions. On the other hand, many companies are very open to sustainability issues and themselves see the need to position themselves sustainably in order to be ready for the future: Customers and investors alike are increasingly calling for sustainable business practices and sustainable products and services. In order to do justice to these market drivers, but also to the company’s own ethical requirements for preserving the basis for life, industry is increasingly asking for scientific findings. In this context, the exchange of knowledge must be designed to be as concrete as possible and oriented towards the needs of companies. However, it is also often mutually beneficial, because scientific institutions can learn from pioneering sustainability solutions developed by companies. The following aspects play an important role in the exchange of knowledge:

  • communicating comprehensible and relevant knowledge, engaging in dialogues about sustainability issues
  • promoting awareness in companies for sustainability as an issue for the future (sustainable use of marine resources)
  • assuming social responsibility (businesses as important stakeholders in all aspects of sustainable management)
  • creating development potential for sustainable solutions and the necessary incentives and framework conditions.

TRANSFER “THROUGH MINDS” AND OPEN ACCESS POLICIES

The DAM’s research institutions participate in a variety of ways in teaching, training and promoting young scientists. Interdisciplinary offers are also available in the natural sciences and engineering; for example, climate and ecosystem knowledge is also integrated into academic degrees such as Maritime Technologies. Many graduates go on to work for companies, bringing their expertise into the business world.

In addition, companies need to keep refreshing this know-how, to pick up new ideas and findings from science and to use them in their corporate development. This calls for needs-oriented further education programmes (with certificates), which can be developed by the German marine research community under the DAM umbrella. In addition, exchange programmes and qualification initiatives, e.g. for technical or teaching staff, encourage networking and the exchange of innovative ideas and inspiration. This requires suitable conditions and resources.

Furthermore, research institutions transfer knowledge, data, software and technologies non-commercially to commercial applications as part of their open access policies. This transfer can also be supported by the DAM core area Data Management and Digitalisation and by the DAM research missions.

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The federal government and the regional governments of the five Northern German federal states are supporting and funding the current establishment of the DAM. In addition, the DAM is supported by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.

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