NEWS | 06.11.2019

Milestones and current developments

German Marine Research Alliance Is Picking up Speed

It is official: as from 17 October, the German Marine Research Alliance has been a registered association. Founded on 4 July by 13 institutions from the German marine research community, DAM e.V. is one of the world’s largest marine research alliances. Its goal is to develop solutions-oriented know-how about using the seas and oceans sustainably. The DAM’s activities focus on four core areas: research missions, data management and digitisation, infrastructure and transfer. The DAM is funded by the federal government and the five northern German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.

Setting up the Committees

An important step was taken when the DAM’s Administrative Council was constituted on 21 October at the Bremen State Representation in Berlin, with representatives of the research ministries of the federal government and the five Northern German states. The heads of department from the research ministries of the Northern German Länder – Heide Ahrens for Bremen, Rüdiger Eichel for Lower Saxony, Rolf Greve for Hamburg, Friederike Kampschulte for Schleswig-Holstein, and Woldemar Venohr for Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania – began their deliberations on the DAM, chaired by Volker Rieke, head of the BMBF’s department “Providing for the Future – Research for Basic Principles and Sustainable Development”. The Administrative Council emphasised how important the notion of knowledge transfer and the focus on solutions and implementation is for the DAM.

The Administrative Council confirmed the members’ proposals for the DAM International Advisory Board. This will be made up of nine members and will be the central technical advisory body of the Alliance, ensuring that the DAM’s activities meet high standards of scientific quality. The International Advisory Board will review and assess proposals for projects and activities in the fields of research, development and infrastructure within the DAM in a science-led process. It will submit funding recommendations to the General Assembly and the Administrative Council. The persons elected by the member institutions are currently being contacted. The first meeting of the Advisory Board is to take place on 4 March 2020, in Berlin.

Front view of the Representation of the State of Bremen to the Federation
The constituent meeting of the Administrative Council took place at the Bremen State Representation in Berlin. | Picture: BBEE

Developing the Research Missions

The mission outlines for the two DAM research missions “Marine Carbon Storage as a Path to Decarbonisation” and “Protection and Sustainable Use of Marine Areas” were revised after discussions at two stakeholder workshops and then presented to the Administrative Council. These outlines are currently being elaborated further and will be reviewed by members of the International Advisory Board before the end of this year with regard to their thematic focus and suitability for the DAM mission. After a renewed review by the Administrative Council, the research missions will be put out to tender in 2020.

Briefing on the Application Procedure

A briefing for all interested scientists will take place in Hamburg on 12 December, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at which Michael Schulz, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, and Annekatrin Lehmann, Head of the Core Area Research Missions, will provide information on the application and tendering procedure for the DAM research missions.

Data Management: Kick-Off for Pilot Project

With its kick-off meeting in Bremen on 30 October, the DAM pilot project dealing with underway data entered the implementation phase. The aim of the project is to make systematically collected marine research data from the research vessels MARIA S. MERIAN, METEOR, POLARSTERN and SONNE openly and sustainably accessible and to use the existing data infrastructure more effectively and efficiently. The Administrative Council has agreed to continue this project via the DAM once the start-up funding expires in 2021.

Networking within the National Research Data Infrastructure (NDFI)

The DAM is going to contribute to the NFDI. For this purpose, we have established ourselves as a “participating institution” in NFDI4Earth’s field of activity “network building” where we will provide a practical example of the application of heterogeneous and interdisciplinary data. Within the framework of the MARE Hub, the DAM is cooperating closely with the centres AWI, GEOMAR and HZG of the Helmholtz Association to link existing data platforms, to create data products (AWI, GEOMAR, HZG) and to establish topic-specific portals. This will guarantee that marine research contributes to NFDI4Earth as fully as possible.

Transfer: Plans for a Stakeholder Forum

The aim of the Alliance is to come up with options for taking action together with stakeholders. To this end, DAM will set up a permanent Stakeholder Forum in which policy-makers (parliaments and ministries on a federal and state level), public authorities, business and civil society will discuss the DAM’s activities. The approximately 30 members of the Stakeholder Forum are to meet for the first time next spring.

Cooperation between the DAM and KDM

The DAM and the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM) have established a joint working group to discuss the further cooperation between the two associations. Their efforts are to be closely coordinated, especially in the international field and in their external presentation. The working group consists of the DAM board members Karin Lochte, Peter Herzig and Michael Bruno Klein as well as Oliver Zielinski (ICBM, University of Oldenburg) (for the DAM). Ulrich Bathmann, Chairman of the KDM Executive Board (IOW), Nils Goseberg (Coastal Research Centre), Helmut Hillebrand (University of Oldenburg), Karin Kammann-Klippstein (Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency), and the KDM’s Managing Director Stefan Fritz are members of the working group on behalf of the KDM.

The working group met for the first time on October 24 – joined also by Corinna Schrum (HZG) and Karen Wiltshire (AWI) for the KDM – and made constructive suggestions for the common path, which will be discussed and further refined within the two associations.

Kick-Off Event at the Futurium

Now that its committees have been set up, the association can really “get started”. The second General Assembly is due to take place on 12 February 2020. And on 3 March, the DAM will introduce itself to guests from the domains of politics, public administration, business, science and civil society at a kick-off event in the Futurium – House of Futures in Berlin.

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The federal government and the governments of the five northern German states support the current development and sponsor the DAM.