BONUS - success of policy-driven research programme in the Baltic region

Published 22 July 2011      
Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Sweden have agreed to jointly undertake the Joint Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme BONUS. BONUS aims to support scientific development and innovation by providing the necessary legal and organisational framework for trans-national cooperation between the Baltic Sea States on environmental research in the Baltic Sea region.

BONUS is largely focused on environmental research. BONUS cuts across a number of related Union research programmes on a range of human activities having accumulated impacts on ecosystems such as fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture, infrastructure (including in the field of energy), transport, training and mobility of researchers as well as socioeconomic issues.  

Funding sources
Participating States have agreed to contribute EUR 50 million to BONUS. The Union financial contribution for the implementation phase shall be EUR 50 million to BONUS. The implementation phase of BONUS shall last for a minimum period of 5 years. BONUS will have calls for research proposals in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The first competitive BONUS call is expected to be announced in December 2011.

Development of BONUS
The European Commission, in its work programme for 2007-2008 of 11 June 2007 for the implementation of the Specific Programme Cooperation, provided financial support to BONUS ERA-NET and ERA-NET PLUS in the field of Baltic Sea environmental research in order to strengthen cooperation between environmental research funding agencies in the Baltic region and facilitate the transition to a joint research and development programme in the Baltic Sea to be implemented on the basis of Article 169 of the EC Treaty. The European Commission evaluated the progress of BONUS ERA-NET and ERA-NET PLUS and concluded that programmes have worked well. The results of the BONUS ERA-NET and ERA-NET PLUS lead to conclusion that it is important to ensure the continuity of the research efforts in order to address the pressing environmental challenges. Thus, the decision No 862/2010/EU was made by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on 22nd September 2010 to participate a Joint Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme undertaken by several Member States.  

Current activities
During 22-26 August, BONUS projects will convene together with the Baltic Sea scientific community in St. Petersburg to the 8th Baltic Sea Science Congress. Altogether 8 out of 19 thematic sessions are initiated and chaired by BONUS scientists, to whom this will be the main forum to present the new scientific achievements to their colleagues. In addition, BONUS will arrange a special training and networking session for young scientists - the 3rd convening of the BONUS Young Scientists’ Club. Another event for presenting scientific results is the ICES annual science conference including a dedicated BONUS session during 19-23 September 2011 in Gdansk.  

On 24 October, BONUS Forum composed by representatives of ministries across sectoral borders of the nine Baltic Sea countries – environment, transport, agriculture, forestry and science – will convene for a seminar in Gdansk to hear what is the latest knowledge about biodiversity and eutrophication, what is the status in assessing risks and stressors as well as what are the future scenarios of the Baltic Sea. The BONUS Forum is open for all those who attend the joint conference of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Baltic Development Forum on the following days (25-26 October).  

Finally, there is a considerable number of EU Commission, Council and parliament officials, as well as Parliament Members who contributed significantly to the process of the decision concerning the BONUS programme. On 8 November, a dedicated seminar ‘BONUS+ highlights for the European community’ in Brussels will be arranged, where main success stories and achievements of the BONUS+ projects will take the centrestage.  

Please see further information on BONUS webpage: http://www.bonusportal.org


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