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12 consortia selected in the 'BONUS call 2015: Blue Baltic' for grant negotiations


Guest column: Eeva Rantama, Interreg Baltic Sea Region on collaboration platforms for projects across funding programmes


BONUS projects show good ’midterm’ results


BALTIC Sea futures under scrutiny


Advisory board news


The new Chair of the BONUS Steering Committee talks about BONUS accomplishments


Highlights of past events


What’s on in 2017?


Celebrating 10 years of BONUS, 3-4 May 2017


Season’s greetings


BONUS members



From solitary work towards working in clusters by Kaisa Kononen, Executive Director, BONUS


ooking back to the history and development of Baltic Sea research, one can see a clear trend. Over hundred years ago scientists were interested to study WHAT is in the sea. It was possible for a single scientist to examine the biota with microscopes and other simple means. Thereafter, in the middle of the last century they focused on HOW MUCH e.g. nutrients, plankton, toxins etc. is there, and a little later, during the last decades of the century, the scientific interest was focused on what kind of INTERACTIONS and FLOWS of material and energy there are. This already required more sophisticated methods and expertise from several natural scientific disciplines, namely biology chemistry and physics – it was not possible to solve these scientific problems by one scientist alone. At the start of this century, INTERDISCIPLINARY approaches became the main issue. Understanding the human impact in the Baltic Sea required even broader spectrum of

disciplines, which brought scientists from social and economic disciplines into the play. Now a further step is in its making as research is working towards supporting sustainability of ECONOMIC activities – blue growth – which means involvement of industries and businesses. Even prior to introduction of blue growth as a policy term, the BONUS strategic objective encompassing the ‘enhancement of sustainable use of coastal and marine goods and services of the Baltic Sea’ had been formulated and its underlined support to blue growth initiated. This strategic objective concerns shipping activities, fisheries and aquaculture. For example, there are nine research and innovation projects dealing with shipping, which actually in BONUS internal terminology forms a ‘cluster’. We have three projects focusing on sustainable fisheries, and new projects dealing with sustainable aquaculture will be decided on within the coming months. The BONUS continuation plans that are currently

under negotiations with the European Commission will bring the focus of attention even more so to blue growth in the future. This new phase is not possible without collaboration of projects and initiatives originating from various sectors. Clustering is one of the most efficient tools facilitating such development. However, it is a long-term process and the concrete outcomes will not be immediate. People working within different sectors are accustomed to their own working cultures, professional languages, networks etc. In the beginning it will be exchanging experiences, learning about others’ approaches and finding a common language. Then gradually it will lead to innovative, perhaps intuitive, brilliant ideas which can then be formulated to project proposals and be funded for implementation. In her guest column on page 3, Eeva Rantama of Interreg Baltic Sea Region informs that the programme is developing a tool – currently called project clustering – to support and

fund cooperation of projects targeting blue growth and some other areas. BONUS welcomes wholeheartedly this initiative and will encourage BONUS projects to take advantage of the emerging new tool. We also want to do our best in making any outcomes arising from clustering activities as visible as possible in the national, regional, European and global arenas. 



From solitary work towards working in clusters




in Brief


12 consortia from the ‘BONUS call 2015: Blue Baltic’ are negotiating for grant agreements by Meelis Sirendi, Programme Officer, BONUS


success rate for SME partners has increased from 18,8% from previous three calls to 24,2% in this call and with the share of SME partners as high as 15,8%. The most active and successful BONUS member state is Denmark – six new consortia are led by Danish coordinators and there are in total 25 participants in the successful consortia. Also the German institutions have done well in this call – they are coordinating four consortia and have a total of 19 partners across different consortia. The other two consortia invited to negotiations are coordinated by Finnish and Swedish institutions. The biggest number of industrial partners is also from Denmark (8), followed by Sweden (4) and Poland (3).

Lessons learned and tips to share from running the Blue Baltic call When comparing the average successful consortia with average consortia in the proposals some conclusions can be made of different qualities of consortia. For instance, projects with more partners appear to be more successful than

proposals with fewer partners: The average number of partners in the successful consortia for both themes was 8.5 while the average number of partners in all proposals was 7 (for ‘themes 2’ proposals even less). Quite exceptional were consortia in the aquaculture themes in which the number of partners was consistently and significantly smaller than in all other key themes. Also, the number of enterprises in average in proposals under ‘themes 2’ was 2.5 but in the successful consortia nearly 4. Another point of interest is the areas in which the experts found most frequently weaknesses within proposals: These are all much related to the last part of the proposals, the impact. Firstly, how the project results will be disseminated and communicated to different audiences. Although important, a statement that the results will be disseminated via scientific publications is not enough nor a project web-page

considered on its own efficient enough tool for disseminating project results to wider audiences. Secondly, identifying project’s stakeholders and/or end-users and how to reach and involve them during the project implementation is another issue very often assessed as weak in the proposals. Stakeholder forums, end-user platforms, and incorporating such representatives also to the advisory bodies of the project are some examples to overcome this weakness. But naturally the most appropriate stakeholders/end-users should be first well identified. Thirdly sometimes in parts of ‘implementation’ as well as in ‘impact’, there are claims like ‘we do as we usually have done’ or ‘we have experiences from previous projects’ etc. To this end, it is important to emphasise that the evaluators were and usually are tasked to assess the written text of

the proposal alone just as it has been submitted, and they have been clearly instructed not to make any assumptions or to rely on expectations on competence, procedures or management practices not explicitly included within the proposal. I hope that these tips could be useful for proposal writers and considered when compiling proposals for calls to come under the BONUS continuation programme and elsewhere. We look forward for concluding the grant agreement negotiation process in the coming months and once completed, the new projects will be announced in 2017. To receive the announcement at the earliest possible, subscribe to the BONUS e-bulletin at www. 


ased on the evaluation results and ranking lists of the ‘BONUS call 2015: Blue Baltic’, the BONUS Steering Committee has invited twelve consortia to negotiations for grant agreement. A total of eight consortia applied under the research ‘themes 1’ and four under the innovation ‘themes 2’. The overall success rate is 16,4%, with only little variation between the two groups i.e. 15,7% for ‘themes 1’ and 18,2% for ‘themes 2’. This is very similar to the rate in the ‘BONUS call 2014: Sustainable ecosystem services’ (17,4%) but two times higher than it was in the BONUS call 2012: Viable ecosystem (8,2%). What increased significantly in this call, however, was the participation of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). The reason for this is the eligibility criterion introduced for the first time in this call: at least 25% of the BONUS funding is directed to enterprises in ‘themes 2’ projects. The number of SME participants in the proposals (66) as well as in successful consortia (16) in the Blue Baltic call is bigger than in all previous BONUS calls together (in total 64 participants and 12 in successful consortia respectively). Also, the

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Editor-in-Chief: Maija Sirola Editor: Ritva Järvenpää Editorial board: Andris Andrusaitis, Kaisa Kononen, Meelis Sirendi, Minna Ulvila Layout: Oy Graaf Ab / Jani Osolanus Printing: Painotalo Plus Digital Oy, Lahti 2016


BONUS is a joint Baltic Sea research and development programme producing knowledge to support development and implementation of regulations, policies and management practices specifically tailored for the Baltic Sea region. It issues calls for competitive proposals and funds projects of high excellence and relevance based on its strategic research agenda.

BONUS is funded jointly from the national research funding institutions in the eight EU member states around the Baltic Sea and the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration by a total of EUR 100 million for the years 2011–2017. Russia participates in BONUS through bilateral agreements.

BONUS in Brief is published by the BONUS Secretariat to keep the BONUS community, including partners and supporters, informed about current views and news about BONUS activities and accomplishments. BONUS EEIG is the legal management organisation of BONUS. © 2016 BONUS Baltic Organisations’ Network for Funding Science EEIG

BONUS guest column

In this column we publish invited opinion articles by experts of their fields, featuring particular perspectives on a topic relevant to the BONUS community and the sustainable, knowledge-based governance of the regional seas.

Calling for platforms for projects across funding programmes by Eeva Rantama, Team Leader Project Unit, Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat, Interreg Baltic Sea Region

Currently more than 130 projects in the Baltic Sea region address blue growth opportunities. This is a finding of a study conducted by the SUBMARINER Network for blue growth. “There is a clear need for a systematic cooperation platform” said Angela Schultz-Zehden, Managing Director of the SUBMARINER Network at the workshop “Blue Growth - Added value of cooperating in project clusters” in Stockholm in early November. The Interreg Baltic Ms. Eeva Rantama, Interreg Baltic Sea Region. Sea Region Programme organised the workshop as part of the 7th Strategy Forum Interreg Baltic Sea Region is an EU funding proof the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The workshop panellists represented gramme that facilitates transnational cooperation the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs (DG MARE), in the region. It supports integrated territorial development and cooperation for a more innovative, different policy areas of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EU funding better accessible and sustainable Baltic Sea region. programmes and transnational projects. They all, among them BONUS, saw the need to have better coordinated cooperation among projects engaged in blue growth.


he panellists called for strategic platforms that allow exchange between policy makers from different levels, researchers in different fields of science, and business sector interested in investing in blue growth. At the best such platforms would generate concrete business cases, “bankable projects”. Both, programmes and projects saw that wider platforms would help broaden expertise in project work and get voices better heard in decision making. The purpose of the workshop was to test the ideas of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme to support cooperation among projects - project clustering. Blue growth was selected as a topic as it has become one of the most promising fields for development in the Baltic Sea region. In addition, Interreg Baltic Sea Region is already co-financing a range of blue growth cooperation projects.

The Programme plans to go beyond its boundaries and help projects from different funding programmes in northern Europe to join forces. With BONUS, the Interreg Baltic Sea Region has already an ongoing close dialogue. It is a member in the BONUS advisory board and the programmes’ secretariats exchange information about projects and applications in order to avoid duplication and to encourage projects to cooperate. Interreg Baltic Sea Region looks forward to exploring further ways of collaboration with BONUS also in project clusters around our shared Sea. Project clustering would support the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme’s aim to strengthen the abilities of organisations, and the know-how of people involved to work for a more innovative, sustainable and accessible Baltic Sea region. The Programme expects project clustering to help projects

broaden and deepen their knowledge in the fields they are working in. Projects’ studies, analysis and policy papers would represent a broader view, and might attract a wider attention. Project clustering creates platforms for exchange and so help streamline activities and avoid duplication of efforts. So the tax-payers money would be used more efficiently! Furthermore, cooperation platforms and projects’ networks would help to better inform and talk about achievements of both projects and programmes. Jointly developed strategies and policy papers may better reach high level decision makers. Through broader networks, a higher number of relevant stakeholders could be reached. Direct contacts to people have been proved to influence decision-making much more today than knowledge and facts found in reports. All in all, the Interreg Baltic

Sea Region Programme expects that a wider network of projects and their partners will increase the durability, transferability and the use made of the most important outcomes of single projects. Project platforms can also serve as a basis for task oriented working groups for identified needs, or for further development of ideas that emerge and thus keep the development process going. The workshop at the 7th EU Strategy Forum confirmed that these expectations of Interreg Baltic Sea Region are broadly shared. One could expect that in all public funded projects, cooperation with others would automatically be built in. Nevertheless, as some project partners correctly pointed out at the workshop, the priority task of project leaders is to deliver a project according to the agreements made. Only a project that has something to share is an interesting cooperation

partner for others. Therefore, some additional resources and support by funding programmes are needed to facilitate cooperation among projects. The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme is developing a tool – currently called project clustering – to support and fund cooperation of projects not only targeting blue growth but addressing also other Programme topics, for example water management and sustainable transport. More information about the tool and a call for project clusters or platforms will be published mid-2017. In addition, Interreg Baltic Sea Region encourages also other programmes to invest and work towards more cooperation among projects cross programmes for the benefit of the Baltic Sea region and the whole of Europe. 



BONUS projects show good ‘midterm’ results by Andris Andrusaitis, Programme Manager, BONUS

At the time this issue of BONUS in Brief sees the daylight, seven ’viable ecosystems’ projects are finalising their third year out of a total of four and five innovation projects have finished, with other eight ending in early 2017. Furthermore, eight ’sustainable ecosystem services’ projects have reached their mid-point and a dozen new projects from the ’BONUS call 2015: Blue Baltic’ will start in the first half of 2017 and carry on until mid-2020. All in all, it is fair to say that only now the BONUS Art.185 programme is reaching its true midterm. This is a good time to pause for a moment and take stock of what has been achieved so far. A brief newsletter article does not allow touching upon all accomplishments and much more detailed summaries and impact assessments are to follow later. Here, however, are highlights of some of the achievements that underline the continuity from the work started by the first 16 BONUS+ pilot projects that ran in years 2009–2011. (See AMBIO Volume 43, Issue 1 for more on BONUS+ results).



genes in the Baltic Sea prokaryotic plankton showing particular potential as genes that might serve as good “genetic signatures” when observing the ecosystem’s response to environmental stressors. These genes will be given particular attention in future studies.

important evidence-based information on the ecological roles and impacts of the widespread non-indigenous invasive species in the Baltic Sea. In-depth studies on the roles of non-indigenous species may bring more surprises. Based on the modelling results, already BONUS+ HYPER suggested that bio-irrigation facilitated by the invasive polychaete MarenzelFor the sake of leria flourishing in many parts diversity and of the Baltic Sea may reduce productivity the flux of phosphate from the sediments and by this facilitate Although occurrence of nona switch from a seasonally indigenous invasive species is oxygen-depleted system back believed to be one of the most to a normal. Now supportive serious threats to the Baltic Sea evidence by BONUS biodiversity, our knowledge COCOA shows that of the biology, ecothis phenomenon logical roles and, is indeed takconsequently, the potential ing place, in impacts of particular in these newthe Gulf of Finland. comers is BONUS+ remarkably BALTGENE incomplete. demonstrated When the the crucial American role of genetic comb jelly Mnediversity within miopsis leidyi was populations of first observed BONUS BIO-C3/INSPIRE/COCOA/ different plants in the Baltic BAMBI 2016 Summer School and animals Sea in 2006, ‘Modelling Biodiversity for in safeguardscientists feared Sustainable Use of Baltic Sea that an ecologi- Living Resources’, 22–26 August, ing a healthily functioning and cal catastrophe Holbæk, Denmark. stabile Baltic similar to the Sea ecosysone that happened in the Black Sea might tem. Alas, this knowledge is follow. Still, after scrupulous almost missing from policies, examination of field data from management plans of biological several areas and series of resources or set-ups of marine dedicated experimental studies, protected areas. The most critiBONUS+ BAZOOCA scientists’ cally needed is knowledge on verdict was clear: the reproducconnectivity among sub-popution of this animal essentially lations of the same species. The stops under the low salinities of biological connectivity in sevthe central Baltic Sea preventing eral key species are intensively further population expansion. studied by BONUS BAMBI (a Thus, the earlier concerns successor of BONUS+ BALregarding Mnemiopsis dramatic TGENE) – in brown seaweed effect on fish reproduction and Fucus, BONUS BIO-C3 – in food base are unsupported. The blue mussel and INSPIRE – the line of studies on ecological commercially most valuable role of invasive species is being fish species. continued by the scientists of the ongoing BONUS BIO-C3 project. Recently they produced a synthesis of the most

Resolving spatial challenges Maritime spatial planning based on scientific spatial evidence is a key for sustainable use the of marine ecosystem services. BONUS BALTSPACE project has finalised the analytical and methodological framework for assessing maritime spatial planning. This framework will be further applied by the project at several case areas in the Baltic. BONUS BALTSPACE has also compiled a draft catalogue of approaches and tools that may be used in maritime spatial planning in order to resolve the integration challenges at different stages and in different contexts of maritime planning. In 2015, BONUS COCOA scientists completed the panBaltic catalogue of coastal sites characterising physical, chemical and biological properties of six types of coasts: archipelagos, embayments, estuaries, lagoons, open coasts and river-dominated coasts. They discovered remarkable differences in forms of transport and removal of nitrogen in different Baltic Sea sediment types – another evidence calling for a spatiallyresolved management. Looking into the spatial issues of the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, studies of BONUS INSPIRE project have confirmed, amongst others, that adult cod in general does not perform long-distance migrations, while dispersion BONUS INSPIRE is looking into the spatial issues of the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, including those related to Baltic cod.



provided scientific basis for revision of the country-wise It is broadly accepted that nutrient reduction targets by slowing down and eventually HELCOM (more information in reversing the human induced BONUS in Brief May 2015). Fureutrophication is by far the greatest challenge for environther significant progress with development and calibration mental policy and management of the hydrological catchment in the region. Equipped by model has been now achieved by results of the ensemble modelling approach, already BONUS+ the BONUS SOILS2SEA project while BONUS GO4BALTIC ECOSUPPORT project issued has analysed how different the first scientifically sound crop rotation schemes support warning that the nutrient load achieving the aims of water, reductions will have to become climate and welfare policies. even more stringent in order to Forests are important elecontrol eutrophication under the future climate. At the ments of land use in the Baltic same time, BONUS+ AMBER Sea drainage. They control demonstrated how differently much of nutrient leaching into sub-regions may respond to the the coastal zones and regulate climate change, while BONUS+ climate change acting as CO2 HYPER and INFLOW scientists sinks. BONUS BALTCOAST where the first to confirm decideveloped the Baltic Sea costs’ effectiveness model by includsively that the dramatic expansion of oxygen depleted zones ing forests in the models of 23 is caused by the excess nutrient drainage basins. This enables inputs and the ongoing climate further integration of different warming will, most possibly, policy arenas: water quality, aggravate this depletion even climate change, and different further. Coupled physicalland uses in the catchment of biogeochemical and food-web the Baltic Sea. modelling for better and more Carbon flows connect ecocomprehensive projections of systems and human activities the future Baltic is now across the entire Baltic being developed Sea drainage basin further within (as in any other the BONUS inland waterBALTICAPP body, sea project (for or ocean). more on While BONUS BONUS+ BALTICBALTICAPP, C project see page 6). contributed The enorsignificantly to mous body our incomplete of information knowledge and models Postdoc Trine Marcussen, on the carbon produced by PhD student Jonna Teikari, cycle in the the BONUS+ and Assoc. Prof. Veljo Kisand Baltic Sea, RECOCA sampling the Øresund strait as scientists of project allowed part of the BONUS BLUEPRINT the ongoing to advance the project. BONUS BIONEST decision C3 project have support system delivered new information on simulating nutrient leakage the fate of dissolved organic from soils and point sources, carbon in the Baltic Sea. natural removal of nutrients Future marine monitoring passing through the watersheds, and observation will see a and, most importantly, the massive entry of new genomic net effects of various nutrient methods. BONUS BLUEPRINT reduction measures. In effect, project has already identified 54 BONUS+ RECOCA project


Saving the ecosystem


difficult ice conditions, jamming of satellite navigation services, distress situation in extreme weather conditions. Now the new information platform offers a huge innovation and commercialisation potential to any European commercial manufacturer of maritime products and services. Harbours and their approaches are the most demanding areas in terms of maritime safety. In order to increase safety and optimise the harbour operations BONUS ANCHOR project is finalising development of a Harbour Captain Assistant for Navigation, Observation and data Routing system. The prototype of this system is now being demonstrated to the potential users in selected Baltic seaports. There are more than 8 500 sunken wrecks around the world, many of them containing significant amounts of oil. BONUS SWERA developed an innovative Sunken Wreck Environmental Risk Assessment approach to mitigate pollution threat posed by the sunken ships. The new tool will advise salvage operators in designing safe and economically feasible ways to execute successful operations. While various pressures on marine ecosystem by commercial ships receive much attention, the impacts by several million strong Baltic fleet of leisure boats remains purely regulated and largely underinvestigated. BONUS CHANGE scientists are striving to make a difference. They identified and mapped differences in the legislative framework regulating leisure boats’ antifouling coating around the Baltic Sea and put forward suggestions for making this area more coherent. The hand-held XRF device developed and acknowledged as a convenient and reliable tool by the BONUS CHANGE team was applied for measuring copper and zinc release from the antifouling paints. Significant

contaminasolutions for optimising tion by the small antifouling wastewater toxins was treatment sysfound also in boat-yards’ soils tems available on and sediments. the market BONUS CHANGE found These findings in the Baltic significant contamination by lead to proposing Sea region. antifouling toxins in boatyards’ Performance recommendasoils and sediments. of systems tions for more is being sustainable tested at different regimes in a boatyard management. standardised setup. Scientists’ particular interest is in the operating regimes ensuring best Where industry removal of pathogens, various meets the pharmaceutical substances environment and residuals of personal care products. Project also investiSeveral BONUS innovation projects contribute to advancegates how wastewater treatment ment of eco-technologies reduc- facilities affect occurrence of ing harmful pollution and at the antibiotic resistance in bacteria. same time offering new ways for The preliminary results of this project show increase in the recycling and reusing valuable share of antibiotic resistant resources – in other words, probacteria (assessed by quantificamoting the circular economy. In order to advance towards tion of specific genes) in the sustainable food safety and food bio-active sludge. This finding security, BONUS PROMISE may raise concerns related to tests properties of organic and further handling and disposal of inorganic recycled phosphorus sewage sludge. fertilisers produced in different processes. The preliminary results of this project indicate BONUS supports variable degradation levels reaching the EUSBSR of antibiotics during manure goals digestion in biogas production. While some antibiotics are fully Four BONUS projects have degraded, others actually accubeen selected by different policy areas as flagship projects mulate in the digestate. representing both projects' own BONUS OPTITREAT seeks and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region programme's achievements. These projects are BONUS CHANGE, (Policy Area HAZARDS), BONUS ESABALT (Policy Area SAFE), BONUS SHEBA (Policy Area SHIP) and BONUS STORMWINDS (Policy Area SAFE).

PhD student Lennart Lehman, BONUS PROMISE, sampling the input material of a biogas plant in Germany.

Detailed information on implementation of all BONUS projects can be found on www.bonusportal. org/projects.



water separator systems that will remove pollutants remaining in the treated bilge water to levels enabling their reuse. Advancing safety in maritime operations allows not only minimising the economic and human risks but also contributes greatly to environmental sustainability. BONUS STORMWINDS has defined the methodological approach Towards safer and for application of a safety model cleaner shipping for complex eco-socio-technical systems applied to the maritime Contributing to the knowledge transportation in winter condibase in support of achieving safer and cleaner shipping tions. This project carried out is the core task assumed by a pilot study focusing on safety several BONUS research and aspects performing ship convoys innovation projects. BONUS in ice conditions and amended SHEBA has analysed in detail ice conditions to the model of different drivers of the shipping collision and grounding energy sector in the Baltic Sea region. and corresponding damage in The Automatic Identification winter conditions. Development System (AIS) -based commercial of an online information manshipping activity data collated agement and exchange software by the project are further used platform enabling, maintaining to develop inventories of and sharing the effective pollution emission Common Situational into air and water Awareness (CSA) and underwater for maritime noise under emergency current management conditions is ongoing. and future BONUS scenarios. ESABALT’s A modelling main focus work that will was on eventually lead vessel-driven to producing the and user-driven noise source maps semi-autonomous for the Baltic crowdsourcing Sea is undertechniques for During June-July 2016, the information way. BONUS SHEBA project led a combined measurement and gathering, Although outreach campaign of the sharing and the impact of BONUS shipping projects’ integration discharged cluster. In picture, a panel across different ships’ bilge discussion during sources and waters is largely the Swedish politicians’ week users: comunknown, in Almedalen, 3 July 2016. international mercial vessels, regulations pleasure boats, allow discharge of bilge water authorities and distributed sencontaining less than 15 ppm sor stations, making all of them of oil. BONUS ZEB project stakeholders in the improvestrives to implement in real life ment of the overall Baltic Sea the “zero emission” concept. maritime situational awareness. After two years of work, it has The concept was successfully completed design of the add-on tested in a number of realistic filtering module for commertraffic scenarios e.g. occurrence of an oil spill, re-routing in cially available on-board oily


of cod eggs in the Baltic Sea is limited by the sills separating different Baltic Sea sub-basins. Only about 10% of the cod population conduct trans-basin migrations. Consequently, the local stock recovery, most likely, will have limited effect on cod recovery in the whole Baltic Sea.

Participants in the BONUS BAMBI, BONUS BIO-C3 and BONUS INSPIRE convened session at the ICES Annual Science Conference in autumn 2015 "From genes to ecosystems - spatial heterogeneity and temporal dynamics of the Baltic Sea" BO NUS IN BR IEF DECEMBER 2016  |


Baltic Sea futures under scrutiny by Professor Kari Hyytiäinen, Economics of protecting the Baltic Sea, University of Helsinki and Coordinator of BONUS BALTICAPP

The alarming state of the Baltic Sea serves as an example of a regional environmental problem that can be efficiently controlled by regional mitigation efforts. On the other hand, the state of the Baltic Sea is heavily affected by global developments such as climate change, population growth, economic growth, technical progress, changes in life styles and consumption patterns as well as a the global political situation. A BONUS ‘clustering’ initiative is taking first steps in exploring and developing a set of coherent storylines for future development of multiple regional drivers and pressures affecting the Baltic Sea.


ver 40 participants from six BONUS projects and other organisations took part in the BONUS BALTICAPP project-initiated pilot workshop on future scenarios of the Baltic Sea region last spring. The aim of the workshop was to explore plausible future sectoral developments in the Baltic Sea region under different global futures. As a follow-up from the workshop, the qualitative narratives produced for the regional drivers of the Baltic Sea serve now as a basis for a research paper that is currently being written jointly by a group of volunteering

workshop participants. This paper will focus on documenting the process of downscaling global developments to study regional environmental problem. The qualitative narratives developed can be later combined with quantitative information to obtain more detailed description of local and regional conditions while maintaining consistency with trends at global scale.

Setting the context, why have future scenarios in the first place? Managing and protecting the marine ecosystems require a long-term perspective for

a policy maker and a lot of patience from the citizens waiting for the improvements to occur in the state of the sea. In order to make wise decisions, policy makers need to simultaneously consider the expected future impacts of planned interventions as well as the likely impacts of other developments that are not in their hands to control. Scenarios serve as tools in research and decision aid for situations with uncertain future outcomes. Scenarios are plausible future developments of human and natural systems. Scenarios are not forecasts, but

Which way is up? Young scientists take on key regional actors about desired future options for the Baltic Sea Very much inspired by the BONUS BALTICAPP project-initiated pilot workshop on future scenarios of the Baltic Sea region convened in spring 2016, a HOT SEAT session was organised during the ‘Seventh Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy of the Baltic Sea Region – Vision 2030’ in Stockholm on 9 November 2016. The heads of BONUS, HELCOM, VASAB and Baltic Earth got on ‘hot seats’ to be probed on desired future options for the Baltic Sea by the young scientists Janne Artell (BONUS BALTICAPP) from Natural Resources Institute, Finland and Suvi Ignatius (BONUS GOHERR) from the University of Helsinki. The young scientists delivered messages from their peers to the session. Questions for the session had been received in the run-up to the Strategy Forum from over 30 young scientists all around the Baltic Sea. Some came in a format of posts to the blog 'Baltic Sea futures' that was set up at and the rest was compiled through an email query sent to the BONUS projects. As a result topics of discussion ranged from ‘what we as citizens can do to help’ to ‘how to increase public awareness’ and ‘visions for the Baltic Sea regional collaboration in 2030’ to ‘How do we get there’. One of the strongest messages surfacing from the voices heard was the need for more positive news and reporting and how to turn negatives to positives and start reporting on good news too. The hot seat session was filmed by the EUSBSR Strategy Forum and will be available online. If you are interested to view this, once available, we will provide a link to this through the BONUS e-bulletin (subscribe at



Downscaling provides useful tools for regional settings Climate research community has developed a set of Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) that describe a wide range of plausible global climate and socioeconomic trends. SSPs are associated with different directions of technological, socioeconomic and policy futures that combined with RCPs can be used to describe the magnitude of climate change and the challenges of a future society coping with change. Downscaled

at smaller spatial scales and extending until the end of the ongoing century, such scenarios serve also as tools to evaluate the impacts of global developments on regional economies, societies and ecosystems.

‘Futures work’ carried out in BONUS projects

Several BONUS projects develop and apply quantitative scenarios as tools in research. There is ongoing work developing the quantitative scenarios for important sectors, such as marine traffic, agriculture, waste water treatment, and fisheries. Particular elements are developed through collaboration across projects. For example, land use modelling and agricultural production as a response to global drivers are being developed jointly by the BONUS SOILS2SEA and BONUS BALTICAPP projects. Much of the sectoral analysis is built on the results of earlier BONUS projects, BONUS RECOCA and BONUS ECOSUPPORT in particular. 

News from members of the Advisory Board


tate Secretary of Sweden Per Ängqvist concluded HELCOM seminar on cross-sectoral action for achieving a healthier Baltic Sea during the EUSBSR Forum in Stockholm, 8 November 2016. He reminded that Sweden will co-host the first implementation conference on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, on Goal 14 on life below water, in June 2017 in New York. The Baltic Sea cooperation is strong and this region can lead by example. Preparations speed up for HELCOM holistic assessment The 2nd holistic assessment on the overall state of ecosystem health in the Baltic Sea is underway and first results will be released in mid-2017. Improved tools as well as wider approaches will be applied in the HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea report (or HOLAS II), also with chapters on socio-economic analysis and selected measures for improving the status. The assessment will assist the environmental managers and decision-makers to base their work on sound, up-to-date knowledge. ICES publishes Marine spatial planning report Cooperative Research Report (CRR) 'Multidisciplinary perspectives in the use (and misuse) of science and scientific advice in Marine Spatial Planning' summarises expert papers on marine spatial planning (MSP), including topics such as multidisciplinary research approaches. Downloadable at

From left: Kari Hyytiäinen BONUS BALTICAPP, Marcus Reckermann Baltic Earth, Kaisa Kononen BONUS, Talis Linkaits VASAB, Monika Stankiewicz HELCOM, Suvi Ignatius BONUS GOHERR, Janne Artell BONUS BALTICAPP.


they allow us to consider how robust different decisions may be under alternative futures. Quantitative regional scenarios can be used for various purposes, such as impact assessments, ex-ante policy analysis and cost-benefit analysis. For example, numerical scenarios may serve as counterfactuals or baseline scenarios against which the impacts of planned policies can be assessed.


The new Chair of the BONUS Steering Committee talks about BONUS accomplishments


n 1 July 2016, the annual rotation of the chairmanship saw Dr. Fritz Köster from the National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Denmark replace Dr. Mats Svensson from Sweden as the Chair of the BONUS Steering Committee. Dr. Maria Habicht from Estonia acts as the current vice-chair. As the highest decision making body, the Steering Committee consists of representatives from all national funding institutions who together decide on budget and strategic activities of BONUS. Professor Fritz Köster, could you tell us about your professional background? I obtained a degree in biology from the University of Kiel in 1986 and finalised my PhD at the Institute of Marine Research (IfM), now GEOMAR, in Kiel in 1994. My scientific focus is species interactions in marine fish stock dynamics and linkages between intermediate and upper trophic ecosystem levels as well as fish stock recruitment under variable environmental forcing conditions. As the Research Director at the Danish Institute for Fisheries Research from 2002-2007, my working area expanded to the integration of important population dynamic processes in fish stock assessments and fisheries management. In 2007, I was appointed Director of the National Institute of Aquatic Resources

What has been the impact of BONUS in your professional field? The integrative approach of BONUS to study the dynamics of the Baltic Sea by bringing together the research communities of marine, maritime, economical and societal research is well in line with the regional ecosystem approach of the revised Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). BONUS offers an excellent platform to programme, fund and coordinate interdisciplinary research addressing not only environmental aspects of the CFP, but also fostering the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the subsequent Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning, with fisheries being and aquaculture becoming important maritime activities in the Baltic. By combining national research funding, BONUS allows to address complex natural and anthropogenic processes with an adequate effort simultaneously, being a prerequisite for successful regional seas management.

As an Art. 185 initiative, BONUS is based on a longterm commitment of member states to work together on the complex issues of sustainable management of a semi-enclosed regional sea. Despite considerable differences in national funding schemes, funding organisation and partly also funding interests, BONUS was able to successfully develop such a long-lasting cooperation between EU member states and is as such one of the prime examples of research cooperation in Europe, delivering front-edge scientific knowledge relevant for society. In particular, it is important that BONUS works together with relevant stakeholders and provide them an opportunity to participate in shaping its strategic research agenda and exploit its outcomes. Besides the strong structuring effect on regional level, BONUS had as well a very positive effect on national research programming and coordination. Previously isolated efforts by several research and innovation funders supporting interests of different sectors became much more impactful when structured under a durable, jointly coordinated programme.

Denmark has been a member of BONUS, first as ERANET then as EEIG since 2003. What in your view has been the most rewarding accomplishment over this time?

How do you see the strengths of BONUS evolving in the future? An outline for the continuation of the BONUS programme was submitted by 11 EU member

at the Technical University of Denmark.

states to the EU Commission in November 2015. It foresees a geographical extension of the programme into the North Sea being designed to underpin and develop EU and national policies and strategies with particular consideration of Europe’s blue growth. I firmly believe that implementation of this successor programme is key for further developing

sound integrated research and innovation activities addressing the sustainable management of our regional seas. A similar approach is at present developed for the Mediterranean and I foresee in the longer-term future further regional programmes to be developed according to the BONUS template, e.g. for the open North Atlantic. 

Highlights of past events: ’BONUS 2’ plans welcomed by participants of the North Sea Open Science Conference BONUS continuation plans published in the BONUS report no 15 “Towards sustainable blue growth Outline of the joint Baltic Sea and the North Sea research and innovation programme 2018–2023” and presented, among other, in a 3-minute ‘elevator talk’ by BONUS Programme Manager Andris Andrusaitis in the recent North Sea Open Conference, 7-10 November 2016, Ostend, were well received by the conference participants. End-conference of PE2020 Public Engagement Innovations for Horizon 2020 gathered PE pilots in Brussels Over 200 public engagement professionals from a broad array

of sectors took part on 16-17 November 2016 in the final PE2020 conference “Public Engagement for Research, Practice and Policy” held in the premises of the Committee of Regions in Brussels. Amongst the chosen seven pilots was the BONUS pilot Promoting science-society dialogue with blogs among early-career researchers on Baltic Sea research. Full reports on results on all pilots ran are available at

BONUS at the ECSA 56 Coastal systems in transition, 4-7 September 2016 Professor Jacob Carstensen presented on the topic of diverse nutrient retention at Baltic coasts in an inspiring BONUS Secretariat initiated session in Bremen on 6 September 2016. The session

titled ‘Coastal filters in remake’ was co-convened with BONUS COCOA and BALTCOAST projects at ECSA 56 Conference – Coastal systems in transition: From a 'natural' to an 'anthropogenically-modified' state. www.estuarinecoastalconference. com/special-session-5d.asp

Dos and don’ts of getting published at a joint BONUS-ICES workshop for young scientists ICES journal editor Howard Browman, Professor Jacob Carstensen from Aarhus University and media officer Line Reeh from DTU Aqua shared insights into the topic of getting published in the joint ICES and BONUS workshop attended by close to 70 young scientists on 20 September 2016 at the ICES annual science conference.

The 2nd Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Forum The biggest regional event of the institutions responsible for maritime spatial planning (MSP) gathered more than 250 participants from 32 countries to Riga, Latvia on 23–24 November 2016. The 16 interactive workshops provided a platform for discussions among those involved and affected by maritime spatial planning on how to develop and enhance MSP in the Baltic Sea basin. BONUS BALTSPACE, BALTCOAST and BAMBI projects contributed significantly to the discussions. More information available at


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What’s on in 2017? Celebrating 10 years of BONUS on 3-4 May 2017 in Helsinki Events scheduled for two days of May will mark the 10 years of BONUS since its inception in spring 2007. Now 10 years later, the Baltic Sea archipelago will be in focus:

Blue Baltic’ projects. We warmly welcome members of our community from the BONUS Steering Committee, Advisory Board and Project Coordinators Forum, to the wider researchers’ community, industry, end-users and other stakeholders to mark this occasion with us.

The events of the first day will commence on the fortress island of Suomenlinna located in front of Helsinki. The programme will feature both joint and break-out sessions including a kick-off for the new ‘BONUS call 2015:

In the evening of Wednesday, 3 May 2017, we will celebrate the evolution of Baltic Sea science from ‘marine science, fisheries science and oceanography’ to truly interdisciplinary, targeted, problem oriented research and innovation

effort. Both a jubilee evening school and a celebratory dinner will take place at the helm of an old harbour building in the centre of Helsinki, Katajanokka Wanha Satama. Here we will also convene for a concluding plenary on the following day, with messages from the previous day’s events brought to the floor. A more defined plan will follow soon. We look forward to celebrating the first 10 years of BONUS together with you! /MS

29-30 March 2017, Helsinki

A workshop on creating a regional exploitation platform for Earth Observation

3-4 May 2017, Helsinki

10th anniversary of BONUS, BONUS Blue Baltic projects kick-off, BONUS evening school, Forum of Project Coordinators, Steering Committee and Advisory Board

18-19 May, 2017, Poole

European Maritime Day 2017

29 May-1 June 2017, Hague

LuWQ2017 conference on land use and water quality: Effect of agriculture on the environment

12-16 June 2017, Rostock

11th Baltic Sea Science Congress “Living along gradients: past, present, future” (including Joint Technology Transfer workshop as a side-event of the Baltic Sea Science Congress, Policy Day, BONUS Young Scientists Club -TBC)

13-14 June 2017, Berlin

8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

18–21 September 2017, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ICES Annual Science Conference

17-19 October 2017, Tallinn

Joint INSPIRE and BIO-C3 end conference “Science delivery for sustainable use of the Baltic Sea living resources”

End of 2017, Germany

A workshop on creating a “BONUS toolbox”: a unified set of criteria, catalogue and entry point for virtual decision support tools. Lead: BONUS BALTSPACE

Season's greetings 2016/17.


In warm appreciation of our collaboration during the past year, we extend our very best wishes for a happy holiday season. BONUS Secretariat – Andris, Kaisa, Maija, Markku, Meelis, Minna and Ritva

BONUS members Denmark • Innovation Fund Denmark Estonia • Estonian Research Council Finland • FiRD Coop / Academy of Finland

Lithuania • Research Council of Lithuania

Germany • Forschungszentrum Jülich Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH Latvia • Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia / State Education Development Agency

Poland • National Centre for Research and Development

Sweden • Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management • Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning FORMAS • Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

BONUS is funded jointly from the national research funding institutions in the eight EU member states around the Baltic Sea and the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration by a total of EUR 100 million for the years 2011–2017.

BONUS in Brief December 2016  

BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme news about progress of projects, new projects to be funded in 2017, guest col...