The DOORS project held its second general assembly from 7 to 9 June in Burgas, Bulgaria, hosted by the Burgas Free University (discover some pictures at the bottom of this article). DOORS stands for Developing Optimal and Open Research Support for the Black Sea. This European Union project, running from June 2021 to May 2025, will enhance the Black Sea knowledge and deliver information and oceanographic services for the Blue Economy and other stakeholders.
DOORS has three main programmes to underpin the delivery of its objectives:
- The System of System of the Black Sea knowledge and information: This system will combine the existing marine data and modelling capabilities of the Black Sea and demonstrate innovative prototypes of an integrated service responding to the needs of the Black Sea Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA).
- Blue Economy Accelerator: This programme will analyze the Blue Economy potential in the Black Sea and propose tangible solutions for the businesses in the region.
- Knowledge Transfer and Training: This programme will deliver bespoke training and capacity enhancement activities for various audiences and stakeholders of the Black Sea research and innovation. A special focus will be given to the training of the next generation of ocean professionals.
The European Global Ocean Observing System (EuroGOOS), is leading the DOORS work on stakeholder engagement and project legacy, helping to harvest stakeholder requirements to co-design the implementation of the DOORS work plan, across the three main programmes and the underpinning activities. In addition to co-leading the implementation of the stakeholder engagement strategy together with the project coordinator, Romanian National Research-Development Institute for Marine Geology and Geoecology (GeoEcoMar), EuroGOOS is also coordinating the activities of the European Marine Research Infrastructures in DOORS and the project’s Ocean Literacy work.
The DOORS assembly in Burgas was a milestone for the project, having brought nearly all partners together for the first time in their physical presence (DOORS was approved for funding in 2021 in the midst of the pandemic). The partners unable to attend, joined the sessions remotely. This three-day meeting reviewed the activities of nine DOORS work packages and the advancements in the design of the three DOORS programmes listed above.
EuroGOOS held an ideation session with the consortium to reflect on the stakeholder engagement activities across three key topics: Sustainable Blue Economy, Policy and Governance, and Public Engagement. EuroGOOS also organized a side meeting with the European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERIC) who are partners in DOORS to set out the work plan for transferring experiences and best practices from ERICs to the emerging and developing Research Infrastructures, and engaging more Black Sea countries in the European activities. In the first months of the project, EuroGOOS released a map viewer of the ocean observing capabilities in the Black Sea, showing in a one-stop-shop all European marine data aggregators, ERICs, and established Research Infrastructures.
On the last day of the DOORS assembly, 13 representatives of business in the Black Sea from Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Georgia, and Moldova joined the DOORS consortium for a dialogue on their needs and views on the opportunities for the Blue Economy development. The business sectors represented included traditional and eco-tourism, renewable energy, fisheries, circular solutions, in addition to local administrations and port authorities.
In the coming year, in the lead up to the next DOORS assembly to take place in Trabzon, Georgia, many DOORS events are foreseen – connecting the project’s stakeholders through multi-actor forums, training Black Sea researchers on the use of the ERIC and European data aggregator services, developing business support programmes, and engaging with general public.