JPI Oceans

The "Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans" joint programming initiative (JPI Oceans) was launched as a platform for the coordination of activities and strategic planning in 2011. With its current 21 member states, JPI Oceans is aimed at an integrated, collaborative approach to marine and maritime research and technological development in Europe.

Mediatheksbild - mit dem Titel JPI Oceans

In its role as a coordination platform, JPI Oceans is focused on ensuring that national research funds, which account for approximately 90% of all research funding (including the EU) in Europe, are used in a more efficient and harmonized manner. A core element in the establishment of common strategies and research focal points is the "variable geometry” which gives Member States the freedom to decide whether or not they wish to participate in individual activities, and if so, in what capacity.

The core objectives and problem areas formulated for JPI Oceans are concerned with the marine environment, climate change, the maritime economy and society:

• Facilitating a sustainable maritime economy based on information
• Securing a positive environmental status in the seas and harmonizing coastal activities
• Optimizing socioeconomic responses to climate change with the aim of reducing the impact on society and the marine environment


For the moment, JPI Oceans has defined four fields of action, or "pilot actions." The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has assumed the role of coordinating two of these, the microplastics and deep-sea mining pilot actions:

• Investigation of Ecological Aspects of Microplastics in the Marine Environment
• Determination of Ecological Aspects of Deep-Sea Mining
• Multi Use of Research Infrastructure for Monitoring
• Intercalibration for the EU Water Framework Directive

Microplastics Pilot Action

Four international collaborative projects for investigating the effects of microplastics in the sea were launched under the umbrella of JPI Oceans Microplastics at the beginning of 2016.
The BASEMAN collaborative project involves the development of internationally standardized measurement methods with the aim of facilitating the comparison of results from different regions and laboratories. The project is coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven.

The WEATHER-MIC project focuses on studying the long-term impacts of microplastics in the marine environment. This study is not limited to the disintegration of microplastics into ever smaller particles and the environmental factors that influence this process; it also examines the effects of weathering on the fate and effects of plastic particles. The project is coordinated by the Leipzig Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research.

Another area that will be studied over the course of the next three years is the toxicity of microplastics. The two projects, PLASTOX and EPHEMARE, which deal with the ecotoxicological effects of microplastics on marine ecosystems, are coordinated by Norwegian and Spanish scientists. One example of a research topic included in these projects is a study of the extent to which microplastics are absorbed by animals and whether they release toxic substances into the bodies of the animals. This also includes the question of whether plastic residues remain in the body and move up the food chain when the animals are eaten.
The joint initiative will now form the basis for the future handling of microplastics.

Deep-Sea Mining Pilot Action

The "Ecological Aspects of Deep Sea Mining" pilot action is coordinated by GEOMAR in Kiel and financed by eleven European countries. At the center of the research are four research cruises undertaken by the scientists in 2015 on the research vessel SONNE and the British research vessel JAMES COOK. Scientists on these cruises examined the effects of a proposed deep-sea mine on life in the deep sea.

The topic of deep-sea resources and deep-sea mining, including its ecological consequences, was introduced into the G7 discussions between Ministers of Science by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2015. Whether and how deep-sea mining can take place will be decided on the basis of the research results. International standards, which place the highest demands on the ecologically responsible development of marine resources, form the prerequisite for this.

Last update: 06.10.2017