Engaging with the scientific community: GEORGE at the EuroGOOS conference

The European Global Ocean Observing System (EuroGOOS) promotes the development of Operational Oceanography in Europe as the component of the Global Ocean Observing System of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC GOOS). The EuroGOOS conference provides a forum for marine scientists and technologists developing operational oceanography products, and the users of these services including policy-makers as well as the private sector.

The GEORGE project participated in the conference in October 2023 with a poster (which you can see here), prepared by Dr Socratis Loucaides and Dr Patricia Lopez-Garcia from the National Oceanography Centre, and Dr Janne-Markus Rintala from ICOS ERIC. The main purpose of the poster was to increase awareness of the GEORGE project in the ocean-observing community and highlight its importance as the first official collaboration of its kind between three major European marine ERICs. The event offered valuable possibilities for exchanging information and hearing feedback from fellow scientists.

“GEORGE is developing technologies for the global ocean observing community. The EuroGOOS conference provided an opportunity to network with the European and Global observing community and present the objectives and ambition of the GEORGE project “, Socratis Loucaides says.

The GEORGE poster was presented during the first day of the conference, and was received with great interest.

“Scientists working with observing platforms were very engaged and were interested to know about the new technology developments and their planned demonstration through GEORGE”, Patricia Lopez-Garcia describes. “People from the ocean modelling community were also interested in the new data that would be generated, and how it can be used for model validation in the future.”

Dr Patricia Lopez-Garcia (right) from NOC participated in the EuroGOOS conference on behalf of GEORGE. Image credits: EuroGOOS Conference 2023. Michael J. Rea.

Working towards the same goals

The EuroGOOS is the global coordinator of the European Observing system, and as such, a majorly important stakeholder for GEORGE. This has been acknowledged already in the proposal writing phase and was taken into account while planning the contents of the work packages.

“We need to make sure that what we achieve in GEORGE fits with the ambitions of EuroGOOS and GOOS, and helps towards delivering its mission”, Socratis Loucaides explains.

The participants of the conference in a group picture. Image credits: EuroGOOS Conference 2023. Michael J. Rea.

The key messages published by EuroGOOS after the conference have many similarities to those of GEORGE. One of the strongest similarities is the emphasis on training, which has a dedicated work package in GEORGE. As one of the key messages put it, “there is no operational oceanography without people.”

“Training is the basis of all knowledge. It’s important to generate sustainable income and to train the whole community, starting from the technical staff”, Patricia Lopez-Garcia says. “At the EuroGOOS conference the generation of knowledge, building capacity and not leaving, for example, developing countries behind was emphasized.”

Similarly, collaboration is at the heart of EuroGOOS and GEORGE. The GEORGE project promises to consider the requirements of end-users and stakeholders such as EuroGOOS, and engage with them in the process of co-design.

“When you interact with different stakeholders, you get to hear what others have tried and what previously did and did not work. There are a lot of lessons learned from past experiences”, Socratis Loucaides concludes.

Image credits: EuroGOOS Conference 2023. Michael J. Rea.