Sigi Gruber

Networking Friday with Sigi Gruber (Head of the Healthy Oceans and Seas Unit, DG RTD, EC)

On July 10th, 2020, 1-2 PM UTC, Sigi Gruber, Head of the Healthy Oceans and Seas Unit, DG RTD, EC, presented the work of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance. The Alliance is the result of science diplomacy efforts involving countries from around the Atlantic Ocean, and supports the implementation of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation signed in May 2013 and the Belém Statement on Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Cooperation signed in July 2017. It aims at enhancing marine research and innovation cooperation so as to promote its well-being, prosperity and security for present and future generations. The moderator was Peter Heffernan, who recently retired as Chief Executive of the Marine Institute, Ireland’s national agency for marine research and development, which he lead led the from Nov. 1993 to October 2019. Peter acted as an inspiration and Irish EU Presidency ambassador for the creation of the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) with the signing of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation at the Marine Institute headquarters in May, between Canada, the European Union and the United States of America.

Earlier this year, the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Forum was held in Brussels and attended by over 500 participants to take stock of the state of cooperation to date and to set a new strategic direction for the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, which can support the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and deliver on the priorities such as the European Green Deal, the Horizon Europe Mission Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters and other national or regional commitments taken by the different international partners.

A highlight of the Forum was the launch of the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Forum by European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel. The Youth Forum marks a turning point in the work of the Alliance, as it supports the implementation of an All-Atlantic wide community of Ocean Youth Ambassadors by initiating educational programmes and modules with a strong emphasis on science and citizen engagement, communication and outreach as part of their training pathway for career development.

The webinar highlighted the different European-funded projects supporting the implementation of the Galway and Belém Statements, future cooperation activities and events.

Sigi Gruber started to work for the European Commission in 1991, with different responsibilities in the area of Education and Training as well as Research. Prior to joining the European Commission, she worked in the public and private sector in Italy and Germany. Sigi is now the Head of the Healthy Oceans & Seas Unit, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission.  Her Unit is supporting the transition to a healthy planet, which is climate neutral by 2050, and operating within safe planetary boundaries by:

  • Ensuring that by 2030 the potential of Oceans and Seas, their ecosystems and Bioeconomies, to drive a Healthy Planet is fully understood, unlocked and harnessed. In doing this the Unit promotes a impactful and sustainable use of the full value chains of marine resources for full benefit and well-being of European citizens focussed on delivering transition pathways
  • Designing and deploying a systems’ approach to the nexus of ocean-climate, ocean-food, ocean-weather and ocean-land, and focus on marine ecosystems and marine biodiversity.
  • Leading, steering, identifying and piloting systemic solutions by design to the planetary boundaries: a) loss of biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and extinctions); b) climate change; and c) ocean acidification and other stressors, by directing international cooperation, ocean observations, and plastic and litter clean up.

The Unit also monitors and contributes to specific initiatives Sea basin Initiatives in the MED, Black sea, Arctic, the Joint Programming Initiatives Healthy and Productive Oceans (JPI-Oceans), and the Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme (BONUS); furthermore, it coordinates the All Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and the Blue Growth calls as part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

We will continue with the Networking Fridays during the next months. More information about future sessions as well as presentations and videos from previous sessions can be found here. Twitter Hashtag: #netfridays. Expect some very exciting afternoons, or mornings or evenings, depending on where you are…

If you need any additional information please send an email to Jose Luiz Moutinho.

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