Collaborating for added BONUS

The BONUS programme, ‘Science for a better future of the Baltic Sea region’, is a strategic partner ICES. With the two organizations starting a new chapter of cooperation, BONUS’ Executive Director Dr. Kaisa Kononen gives us an insight.
Published: 5 May 2014

​​​​​​​​​​How do you see ICES scientific structure and network of expert groups being able to facilitate or supplement the work conducted by BONUS? This includes the capacity for applied science beyond the Baltic marine area.

Historically, ICES played an important role during the early years of BONUS, when it was a partner in BONUS ERANET, responsible for developing BONUS' first science plan and implementation strategy ten years ago.  The scientific scopes of ICES and BONUS are very similar, the only differences being that BONUS is geographically limited to the Baltic Sea and includes innovation in a broader sense than ICES – BONUS, for example, funds ecotechnological projects which include companies aiming at developing new marketable products . Thus ICES, with its network of expert groups, offers a platform for the scientific community to identify knowledge needs and find appropriate links within and beyond the Baltic Sea region for creating excellent and highly relevant research projects which can be funded by BONUS.  

Furthermore, ICES Scientific and Advisory Committees offer efficient mechanisms to convert research outcomes from BONUS projects to advising policymakers. Several experts of the ICES community contributed strongly to the shaping of the BONUS strategic research agenda 2011-2017. I see this as a major synergy created by the interlinkages between the two organizations.

To what extent does the data collated by BONUS projects enter databases and is accessible well beyond the closure of the projects? And would there be an interest from the BONUS side in ICES storing project metadata or dump project data?

Certainly, ICES is already providing an important platform for BONUS for storing data. According to the BONUS data policy the research data collected in BONUS-funded projects are produced in the public interest and should be openly available to the maximum extent possible. This includes storing the original data in common databases. All projects receiving funding from BONUS are legally obliged to submit data to some common database – and ICES database is one that is specifically mentioned in this context. Statistics on the actual amount of BONUS data in ICES database are not, however, available at this stage.

From your perspective, could you highlight any areas of strategy that reflect those of ICES and any areas of commonality between our two organizations?

Commonalities arise from the shared goals of both organizations, namely sustainable use of marine ecosystem services. In its strategic research agenda, BONUS has converted this extremely broad goal into five strategic objectives and 19 more specific research themes. BONUS project research done under these themes will also support ICES in reaching its strategic goal; the benefits are always bidirectional.

Could you provide any examples of BONUS project research requirements relating to the science carried out by ICES working groups?

There is a difference between the operation and science carried out in ICES working groups and BONUS. ICES working groups are based on long-term, structured cooperation between the participating experts, and involve a large number of governmental institutions. Hence these can focus on issues such as long-term studies, assessments, comparative studies, and testing new monitoring methods and approaches, amongst others. BONUS' research, however, is structured through projects of a limited duration, usually from two to four years. Here again, I think, both approaches are needed. ICES working group research can identify knowledge needs that a targeted funding effort from BONUS can effectively fulfil.

How do you see the relationship between BONUS, ICES and HELCOM​ moving forward?

I am very positive about it. We are aiming towards the same goal of sustainable development with slightly different means and mandates: ICES with its exceptionally broad network of scientists and efficient advisory mechanisms, HELCOM with its policy coordination mechanisms, and BONUS with its funding of research that is both sustainability and policy-driven. We complement each other in a perfect way.


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BONUS' ​Executive Director, Dr. Kaisa Kononen; Photo: BONUS

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Collaborating for added BONUS

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