DEVOTES Project Wins COLUMBUS Blue Society Knowledge Transfer Award


DEVOTES Project Wins COLUMBUS Blue Society Knowledge Transfer Award

Over 70 COLUMBUS partners, stakeholders and Knowledge Transfer professionals came together to celebrate impact and value creation at COLUMBUS project’s third and final Annual Blue Society Knowledge Transfer Conference, Making Marine and Maritime Science Count”, in Brussels, Belgium, on 24 January 2018. This also gave rise to the opportunity to present the COLUMBUS Blue Society award for impactful Knowledge Transfer, designed to acknowledge marine and maritime Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) champions and highlight best practice examples of successful Knowledge Transfer.

The Blue Society vision strives to link Blue Growth and Citizens. Philippe Vallette, Director General of Nausicaa, Centre National de la Mer, who presented the Blue Society vision recalled the participants that ”the Ocean offers us tremendous opportunities for new resources, innovative experiences and positive long term solutions... It means developing new ocean related activities, initiatives and actions based on sustainability, well-being and equity”. The Blue Society really considers the entire ocean as the common heritage and collective responsibility of all nations on the planet.

In this respect, Philippe emphasized on the Blue Society vision as a “concept integrating systematically economy, environment, society, and culture in order to improve geographical and time equity and foster good ocean governance”.

Promoting marine and maritime research and innovation, and any project’s added value, to relevant audiences through a close collaboration between researchers, the public, entrepreneurs and decision-makers is one of the pillars of the Blue Society. COLUMBUS is naturally aligned with the Blue Society vision and its today dedicated award aimes to promote a culture change in individual researchers’ behaviour as well as stimulate engagement with Blue Growth beneficiaries.

The call for nominations ran from 3 October 2017 to 19 January 2018. Five projects from the fifty applications were shortlisted by a select evaluation committee of members from the COLUMBUS Management Team. The nominations were scored against the following criteria: Innovative: developing new concepts, processes, tools, methodologies and/or technology; Tailored: targeting specific audiences; Integrated: accessing the entire research project lifecycle; Impactful: creating measurable uptake and application; Leadership and Community Empowerment: inspiring change; Responsible: complying with the RRI principles; and, Legacy: achieving impact beyond the project lifetime.

Four of those short-listed have been granted merit for their activities:

  • Nuno Mendonça: for the Figueira da Foz Business Incubator (, due to its efforts to accelerate business within the marine and maritime sector.
  • Leopoldo Cavalteri Gerhardinger: for the Painel Mar (doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.16119.01449), the Brazilian Future Earth Panel, due to its efforts to act as a multisectoral collaborative platform on the interface of knowledge and decision-making processes, aiming at the qualification of policies for the sustainable use and health of the oceans.
  • Justine Delettre: for the Mr. Goodfish programme (, due to its efforts to raise awareness of sustainable consumption of seafood products by the general public and industry professionals
  • Gabriele Sacchettini: for the OpenTEA (, due to its efforts to develop a new on-line training tool relating to the real-time monitoring of sea contaminants using the outputs of the SEA-on-a-CHIP project.

As the award was intended to specifically highlight those projects that resulted in impactful application of knowledge by end-users contributing to Blue Growth and the implementation of marine and maritime policies such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in harmony with the principle of Blue Society, the winner was clear. Philippe Vallette, the Director General of Nausicaá, presented the award to Ángel Borja, the Project Coordinator of the DEVOTES project (

The DEVOTES project was funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme to develop innovative tools to understand marine biodiversity and assess Good Environmental Status, the qualitative description of the state of the seas that the MSFD requires its Member States to achieve or maintain by the year 2020. Over the course of the project and beyond, Borja and his partners have pro-actively promoted their findings and combined numerous Knowledge Outputs into one user-friendly tool, as well as identifying applications in new sectors and developing capacity of its use, resulting in broad, measurable impact on marine policy.

“I am very grateful that our activity had been recognised”, said Borja. “COLUMBUS is a great initiative and awards like this will help incentivise researchers and their organisations to ensure that their research gets used by those who need it”.

Borja will present the DEVOTES project at the COLUMBUS Parliamentary Event, ‘Accelerating Blue Growth through Marine and Maritime Knowledge Transfer’ on 22 February 2018 in Brussels, Belgium (  During this event, COLUMBUS will present its lessons learned and will underline the advantages of a more proactive approach for Knowledge Transfer, supported by the appropriate resources throughout the process from funding.

For specific information on the COLUMBUS project, visit the project website:, or contact the COLUMBUS Project Manager, Cliona Ní Cheallacháin (, or