The first GEORGE annual meeting held in Villefranche-sur-Mer

In October 2023, the GEORGE project got together in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, for its first annual project meeting and general assembly. The three-day meeting, held in the picture-perfect French Riviera, included important discussions on sensor and platform developments, processes for testing, training and developing a joint data stream. The meeting gave the participants of GEORGE the opportunity to meet in person, many for the first time, and to update each other on the progress of their work packages. 

The first day of the meeting included presentations from WP2 and WP3, who updated their colleagues with the latest developments in sensor and platform development. The second day featured discussions on the required tests as well as presentations of the planned deployments, key performance indicators and schedules. The afternoon was dedicated to visiting the labs at the Observatoire Oceanologique de Villefranche and the premises intended to be used at the Technical Forum Training Session in 2024. The afternoon continued with a workshop on training, led by WP6, and concluded with a discussion on the planning of the integrated data flow, which was led by WP4.

The third and final day of the meeting started with discussions on reporting, communications and impact. The discussion on the integrated data flow, which started the day before, continued with active participation. The meeting concluded with a joint discussion on data and risk management.  

The GEORGE annual meeting included a visit to the IMEV labs, where representatives of Euro-Argo and Sorbonne University showed the current Euro-Argo floats. The platform technologies developed in GEORGE will be based on the Euro-Argo floats.

Impressive progress made in the first 10 months

At the time of the meeting, the project had been going on for ten months, and many in the project team shared the opinion that the project team had made impressive progress in those months. Regular project meetings and good coordination help to stay organised, but coming face-to-face at the annual meeting offered many opportunities for sharing experiences, syncing up schedules and learning more about each other’s progress.

Coordinated work is important for many reasons. The technologies developed in GEORGE are building on existing technology and expertise found in the marine scientific community, which is why it’s important that the various experts working on different parts of the project share a common understanding and common goals. The sensor developers, for example, need to have precise information on the structure, performance and dimensions of the platforms – even down to the weight limit – in order to have their sensors work seamlessly with the platforms. Similarly, the integrated data stream will be dependent on the sensor and platforms being able to produce standardized and measurable data. The project meeting gave the participants the opportunity to get this kind of concrete information from their peers, which will become immensely important as the project work continues.

One of the major efforts in late 2023 will be finalizing the deliverable 5.1.Technology validation and prototyping. The deliverable is a major effort of coordination from WP5’s part, as it defines the engineering process for validation methodology of observing technologies developed in WP2, 3 and 4. This task will be responsible for the coordination of technology development and integration across participants. The deliverable will be publicly available on the GEORGE website in January 2024.