Declaration to Stakeholders
Significant progress in all ten critical issues outlined by B2BI is taking place within public agencies mandated to do so, within private companies, by policy makers and governments. Often these organizations have their own R&D branches and they contribute to significant societal value creation and risk reduction. Many of these organizations run their own or share observational networks and develop and operate their own model-based information systems and services, aimed at for instance the fisheries sector, fish farming, the marine transport sector, environmental protection at sea, local community well-being, search and rescue operations, coastal management including the strength and composition of riverine outflow to the sea, sea ice charting, sea floor resource extraction including oil and gas operations, military and security purposes, managing rising sea levels and storm surges, port management, investment planning under the climate change time horizon and so on. A plethora of national and international agencies, policy mechanisms and private companies contribute to the information flow and knowledge gathering. In all the B2BI coastal states very significant funding is channeled on a long-term basis from the governments to the knowledge systems that support these services, which are operational (run all the time), often in near real time, they are demand oriented, they are knowledge based and seen as protecting vital national and regional interests. In this complex organizational structure, it is obvious that a range of traditional institutional, disciplinary and cultural boundaries are also operating. This has implications for costs, efficiency and rate of progress.
Traditional marine research in academia and in other research organizations is usually not well connected with these operational structures. This inhibits the R&D drive that the research community could have offered, and it hampers the flow of experience that builds up in the services communities and that should have gone to the research community and provide stimulus for further research. The traditional view of “basic science” kept apart from “applications” still prevails to the extent that it hampers both creation of new knowledge and innovations that could be gained by building on each other’s discoveries.
B2BI advocates to transform this situation by doing “science for services” where we as representatives of the research community offer to dedicate ourselves to reduce the gap between advanced operational interests and the science community. This is the way to raise a better justification, R&D strength and funding for continuous, broad observational systems and model capabilities in the future, serving service and research purposes, because this is the way whereby observations and model capabilities very quickly come to broad societal use and thereby reduce risk and create value.
The main funding streams in marine science applications today go to supporting and improving operational observations and services derived from them over time. Currently researchers are trying to find “stakeholders” and “users” to justify their research proposals, while the “benefits” the research community offers in return is often another set of specialized research papers and no real interest for the strengthening over time of value-added knowledge into the service sector where the stakeholders and users “live”. The stakeholders and users are therefore increasingly hard to attract. And many in the science community do not realize that there is a lot to gain by broadening the focus to include not only specialized science papers, but to become a part of the science for service value chain or value cycle – gains for the individual scientist as well as society.
B2BI is advocating to change the interaction between research communities and services-oriented, operational communities for marine biology and oceanography, as well as for the land-based operations using the marine environment. This will take a cultural shift which will be hard. Knowledge, trust and confidence need to build. Without mutual trust and confidence, no shared description of reality is possible.
To start with we hope to initiate this shift by entering into discussion with one or a few major stakeholders in Europe and the US.
As a side note, in the “meteorological world” there is growing momentum to merge operational and research infrastructures and their application under the headline “science for services”, as evidenced by the recent reorganization of WMO, and in the growing interaction between WMO and IOC in UNESCO.
As a conclusion, a top priority for B2BI is to establish relationships with major stakeholders in marine services and to develop B2BI to serve the value chains of these stakeholders. Through this collaboration, we are convinced that more R&D opportunities will emerge for the R&D sector through the user experience and user information that this will provide.
This is a fundamental requirement in order to approach responsibly the ten research issues defined in B2BI.