Prof. Alan Deidun, resident academic within the Department of Geosciences of the Faculty of Science, recently participated, as an Ocean Mission Board member, within the second edition of the European Research and Innovation Days organised remotely by the EU Commission over the 22-24 September period.
This prestigious virtual event, which saw the engagement, within 146 different sessions, of 35,000 registered participants hailing from 188 countries, was the perfect venue for the Ocean Mission Board to showcase Version 2.0 of its Report, which is available online. This event also included the parallel hosting of the ‘Science is Wonderful’ exhibition, which witnessed a total of 6000 virtual visits by University and school students as well by members of the public.
Prof. Deidun is a co-author on the same Mission Board Report, which documents the Vision and Ambition of the main mission identified by the EU’s Ocean Mission Board – i.e. Mission Starfish 2030: Restore our Oceans and Waters – proposing a total of 17 targets under 5 different objectives. The five objectives adopted by the Ocean Mission Board are the following: (1) Addressing the Knowledge and Emotional Gap related to the Ocean; (2) Regenerating Marine and Water Ecosystems; (3) Zero pollution; (4) Decarbonising our ocean, seas and waters and (5) Revamping ocean governance.
The ultimate goal is to release the third and final version of such a report by December 2020, following the last round of stakeholder consultations, which are still ongoing. Non-technical summaries for citizens of the main findings within the Ocean Mission Board report have been translated into all the 23 EU national languages and are publicly available. More information about the current status of the Mission Boards’ work can be accessed here.
In cognisance of today’s societal most compelling challenges, five highly relevant thematics have been chosen for this first round of Horizon Europe Missions. These include Cancer, Soil Health and Food, Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, Adaptation to Climate Change and Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters. 15 experts populate each Mission Board, having been selected following a rigorous and highly-competitive selection process, representing a panoply of individual backgrounds, experience and nationalities.
Positive tidings have also emerged from a related front – that of ocean literacy – with a 36-month Erasmus KA201 proposal the University of Malta is participating in, titled BlueSMed (Supporting the development of socially-inclusive Blue Challenges in schools in the Mediterranean sea-basin), being approved for funding in the past few weeks.
Prof. Deidun is the leading University of Malta academic within such an approved project, which features a total of 10 partners hailing from France, Italy and France, besides Malta, and which aims to endow school teachers with the necessary didactic tools to promote ocean literacy further within Mediterranean Basin schools.