‘Ocean Night’, an ambitious ocean outreach project

Five of the main research centers of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), with a strong focus on research related to the marine and coastal environment, present the project ‘Ocean Night’ (the Night of the Ocean in Spanish) as a proposal for the European Night of Researchers, within the framework program Horizon Europe. These centers are: the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA), which is its leader, the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM), the Blanes Center for Advanced Studies (CEAB), the Marine Research Institute (IIM) and the Institute of Marine Sciences of Andalusia (ICMAN).

The project also has the collaboration of the Torre de la Sal Aquaculture Institute (IATS-CSIC), the Scientific Culture Unit of the CSIC Delegation in Galicia and the Marine Technology Unit (UTM-CSIC) attached to the Mediterranean Research Center Marine and Environmental (CMIMA).

‘Ocean Night’ is a 2-year comprehensive scientific dissemination program (2022 and 2023) whose objective is to promote ocean culture, raise awareness of the deep relationship that exists between our society and the ocean, as well as promote the role of marine research to create a sustainable future.

“Marine science is diverse, it studies the physical, chemical and biological aspects of marine ecosystems, both microscopic and globally, and seeks solutions to the great challenges we face”, explains Marco Polin, biophysicist and coordinator of the project. “It is key that society is aware of the importance of knowing our ocean and of the work that, from science, is done so that we know in detail how we affect the ocean and how it affects us,” he adds.

As specific objectives, the project seeks to promote sustainable practices and more responsible behavior, as well as to incentivize professional opportunities among young people in the field of the blue economy or in marine sciences.

A diverse program from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean

The Ocean Night was born with the prospect of creating a complete program of activities with two editions: the first date marked on the calendar will be the night of September 30, 2022, when activities will be held throughout Europe to bring researchers closer to society; while, in the year 2023, a second night, also on the last Friday of September, will be the final touch of the project.

Through a series of activities (exhibitions, workshops, experiments/practical demonstrations, art contests, scientific shows, simulations, games and quizzes, talks and debates, musical presentations, challenges on social networks, etc.) it will be highlighted the multidisciplinary nature of marine sciences and the benefits it brings to society in order to meet the challenges set by the UN Development Goals and the European research and innovation goals.

This diversity is demonstrated in the wide geographical distribution of the centers involved, with specialized research on the coasts that bathe them. Thus, the Ocean Night has the particularity of being made up of a multilingual consortium and being located in 6 different Spanish regions that cover Mediterranean and Atlantic coastal areas, including insular, estuaries and coastal areas.

Starting from this idea of ​​diversity, Ocean Night also wants to reach the widest possible sector of society, which includes not only the school public but the entire community.

The marine ecosystem is fundamental for human society and the planet in general. Science helps us understand how it works and its main threats, and the critical challenges it currently faces can only be addressed at a societal level. Through our actions, we can all help improving their health. Hence, the main theme of the project is to connect knowledge for a common ocean: present and future of the marine ecosystem, in accordance with the Mission of the European Union (EU) to ‘Restore our oceans and waters’, as well as with the ‘Decade of ocean science for sustainable development’ of the United Nations Organization (UN).

The general categories of the project (climate, life, food, challenges, health, society and home) have made it possible to organize a balanced, effective and uniform program, as well as flexible to adapt to the local needs and possibilities of the different Centers.

The project will involve scientific and technical personnel from the different research centers, who work in different fields such as ecology, oceanography, physics or engineering, with a direct link to the central theme of Ocean Night.

The project will also help to publicize and promote other excellent marine research projects in Europe and the rest of the world, as well as to improve understanding of EU policies and programs that allocate resources for research.

Since profound adaptations in our lifestyles and behaviors are required, the challenge of this project is to get citizens to participate, support these policies and commit to act so that these changes take place.

Additional information

The European Research Night is a European science outreach project promoted since 2005 by the European Commission within the Marie Sktodowska-Curie actions of the Europe Horizon program, which takes place annually and simultaneously in more than 371 European cities. more than 30 countries. Its main objective is to bring people who research citizens closer so that they know their work, the benefits they bring to society and its repercussions on daily life.