EuroMarine 2014 Kick-Off meetingInternal

Activity Overview

Type: EuroMarine General Assembly meeting
Start Date: April 28, 2014
End Date: April 29, 2014
Venue: Aquarium de la Porte Dorée, Paris (France)
Contact: EuroMarine Secretariat
E-mail: Secretariat [at] euromarinenetwork.eu
Decision Body: EuroMarine Steering Committee

From FP6 networks of excellence, to the EuroMarine FP6 preparatory project, to the launch of the EuroMarine Network

The European Commission (EC) had called the former Networks of Excellence (NoEs) EUR-OCEANS, Marine Genomics Europe and MarBEF, during their lifespan, to create a single, common, self-sustained and durable network that would survive their own EC-funding period. These three NoEs ended without reaching that particular common goal -although two of them created separate follow-up structures. The EC consequently launched a call specifically tailored to this purpose. The resulting EuroMarine FP7 preparatory project made plans for the launch of a durable EuroMarine Network for the EU marine community. At the end of its six-month extension period (July 2013), this project launched a call for expression of interest to launch, host and coordinate the new network. Following a call for bids (25 Jul. - 10 Oct. 2013), the recommendation of the project Advisory Board and a vote of all prospective member organisations, a joint CNRS-IRD bid was selected (28 Nov. 2013). Following their nomination, the new Coordinators announced the dates of the kick-off meeting to prospective participants on 9 Dec. 2013 (see attached letter).

Objectives of the kick-off meeting

At the time the EuroMarine Network kick-off meeting was planned, it should also have represented the first formal General Assembly meeting of the new EuroMarine Network.

However, because the contents of the draft Consortium Agreement inherited from the preparatory project proved inadequate to meet the needs of a self-sustained consortium, a complete rewriting of the draft and a new consultation of prospective signatorees proved necessary. [It was in the end only on 1 June 2016 - well after the kick-off meeting - that the Consortium Agreement could be finalized and the signature process launched.]

Consequently, formal decisions had to be deferred to a later date and the first formal General Assembly meeting and the objective of the kick-off meeting, which had to be downscaled, were as follows:

  • Present and discuss the EuroMarine Network (scientific strategy, 'toolbox', legal framework, membership and governance)
  • Produce proposals or decisions (to be later approved or ratified by the General Assembly, once formally formed) concerning:
    • Key procedures (e.g. review and selection process for the annual competitive calls; procedure for the choice of Steering Committee members by the General Assembly)
    • Initial (2014-16) priorities, 2014 activity plan (including a 2014 call for proposals) and 2014 budget.

The kick-off meeting gathered 80 participants from 60 organisations and 20 countries.

Discussions held and decisions made during the meeting, along with the informal announcement of intended budget contributions by prospective member organisations, allowed the new Coordinators to immediately launch a programme activities, well in advance of the formal creation of the network. As a result:

  • The initial Steering Committee (SC) was formed (9 July 2014; see attached report on the formation of the SC)
  • A first call for proposal was launched (25 July 2014; 18 activities were funded after decisions made on 4 Nov. 2014)
  • The Consortium Agreement could be finalized and was sent out for signature by 66 founding members (1 June 2014).

Decisions made under the preparatory project or after the kick-off meeting were ratified by the EuroMarine General Assembly, once formed, during its first (Feb. 2015) meeting.