In order to meet its objectives, the proposed project will put in place a set of activities that will globally lead to an innovative data infrastructure supporting the Ecosystem Approach introduced in the previous sections. These activities range from those dedicated to define its governance model to those aimed at implementing it. This section elaborates further on the methodology that will be followed to achieve the project objectives by describing the proposed activities and how they are related. The section is organized as follows. Section introduces the iMarine Board, i.e. a body conceived to ensure an extensive participation and involvement of the major stakeholders active in the EA domain. Section describes the approach driving the deployment of the iMarine data infrastructure, including the characteristics of existing providers that will contribute to it. Section describes the methodology put in place to develop the technology needed to deploy and operate the iMarine data infrastructure. Section describes relevant business cases faced by the EA-CoP. The project will vertically integrate services deployed in the iMarine data infrastructure to offer support to these business cases through dedicated Virtual Research Environments. Section describes the methodology and actions that will be put in place to promote the iMarine outcomes. Finally, Section provides an overview of the work packages that will implement these activities and of the main interactions that will take place among them.
Linking the Ecosystem Approach Community of Practice
The project’s expected impact is an enhanced connection between information and decision making in Fisheries management and conservation of Marine Living Resources. Such an endeavour requires an active participation of EA-CoP actors to project orientations and decisions. To facilitate this participation, an iMarine Board will be established as part of the overall project governance. The primary goal of this Board will be to define the iMarine Data e-Infrastructure governance model with a view to sustainability, and to formulate a set of organizational and technological policy recommendations regulating the resource sharing and services provided by the new iMarine Data e-Infrastructure. This objective will be fostered by the conception of concrete applications serving three EA business cases (cf. Section ) and by their validation.
Nature of the EA-CoP
The structure, membership, responsibilities, and relationships of the Board with the other project’s bodies respond to the nature of the concerned EA-CoP, its expectations with regards to the iMarine Data e-Infrastructure, and the expected interactions between the project and the broad User Community (UC). These aspects are introduced first with reference to the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Community of Practice (EAF-CoP).
The EAF-CoP aims at involving the broad range of practitioners required to reach EAF objectives in a common dialog, i.e. those developing the knowledge necessary to support decision making as well as those involved in the implementation steps. Three relevant clusters can be identified in relation with project goals:
Epistemic communities such as stock assessment scientists, socio-economists, biodiversity specialists, fishery managers regularly meet in scientific working groups, networking meetings, or statutory committee meetings.
As part of EAF initiatives, representatives of these epistemic communities cluster and work together in ad hoc or statutory meetings, under the leadership of “EAF champions” (policy makers or fishery managers and their advisors). In complement to meetings, they set-up networking facilities such as discussion groups.
Data managers and information system specialists are tightly associated in the work of the communities for each of the above levels. On the one hand, they are very familiar with the specific user community requirements, and on the other hand are the experts primarily concerned by standard exchange protocols, systems specifications, standard vocabularies and code lists, data security, workflow process management, user-friendly interfaces. They also are the ones who can contribute business oriented software components that will constitute parts of the shared data e-infrastructure resources. This positioning designate them as the mediators between the core providers of the data infrastructure and the thematic practitioners, hereby called User Communities Mediators (UC Mediators).
The iMarine Board will consist of:
a main body composed of information system specialists (UC Mediators) having generally managerial level responsibilities in their agencies infrastructure, such that a broad range of EA business domains be represented. The Members of the Board are those belonging to institutions formally involved in the project; the Board also cater for Observers from institutions not formally involved in the project.
a subsidiary body called “Advisory Council”, members of which are high level leaders / champions of EA initiatives selected in the context of the project. This Advisory Council will orient the work of the iMarine Board.
In order to ensure strategic communication with the other project bodies, the iMarine Board will also include as observers the chairs of the Steering Board and of the Technical Board (cf. Section 1.7). The composition of the Board is presented in .
Main responsibilities and tasks of the iMarine Board
The iMarine Board will elaborate the iMarine data e-infrastructure governance model with a view to ensure its sustainability, and will formulate a set of organizational and technological policy recommendations regulating the resource sharing (hardware, data, applications and services) provided by the new e-Infrastructure.
The Board will steer activities regarding interoperability standards, and ensure the translating of policies into implementation guidelines and best practices. The Board will ensure an effective connection between the realisations of the project and the final user community beneficiaries (i.e. the concerned EA initiatives and epistemic communities).
The Board will formulate recommendations to the Steering Board for matters which require executive decisions at project level.
The iMarine Board’s membership, structure, and relationships with the other project’s boards are designed to fulfil these responsibilities. While the high level profile and domain diversity of the UC Mediators composing the Board will favour emergence and ownership of cohesive policies and implementation guidelines, the Advisory Council will favour the live connection with the existing EA initiatives and the broader support from UC’s managers. The participation as Observer in the Board of the Technical Director (chair of the Technical Committee) aims at alignment with the IT developments undertaken by the SA and JRA work packages, while that of the Scientific Director (chair of the Steering Board) aims at streamlining iMarine Board’s recommendations into project’s implementation decision. This later goal will also be supported through the participation as full member in the Steering Board of the chair of iMarine Board.
Operation of the iMarine Board
The operations of the iMarine Board will be supported by the project for what regards travels, meetings organization, secretariat and technical function. FAO will hold the Secretariat responsibility. The Board will hold its meetings twice a year for duration of 2 to 3 days, and invite attendance of the Advisory Council during one day every two sessions (i.e. once a year). During the intersession the work of the Board will continue through on-line meetings as required. The Board will operate according to the following TORs.
Terms of References of the iMarine Board
Elaborate recommendations for a post-project data e-Infrastructure governance model;
Formalise high level data e-Infrastructure policies and develop the implementation guidelines and best practices;
Identify and review interoperability standards and protocols; formulate recommendations to project’s strategic boards regarding their adoption and implementation priority;
Identify need for, review and advise on functional requirements and data management / workflow facilities;
Review services and user interfaces made available, and formulate recommendations thereof;
Review exploitation and sustainability plans and formulate sustainability strategy;
Review recommendations of the Advisory Council, and present project developments/achievements to the Advisory Council;
Review opportunity for new Members or Observers that would contribute to the goals of the project, including the conditions under which they can join project activities, and advise project’s strategic boards accordingly;
Membership: the initial membership consists of UC Mediators from agencies formally involved in the project, as listed in Table . They will nominate their alternate.
Secretary: UC Technical leader (FAO);
Observers: UC Mediator from institutions not formally involved in the project but identified in the project document as fulfilling an important role; UC Mediators from other institutions which application to the Board have been endorsed through Steering Board; representatives of strategic Project bodies (Technical Committee, Steering Board, Executive Board). Observers have no “voting” power regarding responsibilities within the realm the iMarine Board.
contribute high level guidance regarding data and application sharing policies and project developments;
review the policies and advise accordingly;
review the sustainability plans and advise accordingly;
provide general knowledge regarding existing activities relevant to the work of the Board;
provide general advice with respect to user communities feedback.
Membership: the start-off membership consists of 4 EA champions having high level influence in EA-CoP; these members have an active role in the EA initiatives concerned by the business cases (cf. Section ) as listed in Table below. At the beginning of the project, the identified Members might transfer this role to other persons from their community.
Individual members responsibilities:
provide active support regarding outreach activities;
contribute to promote sustainability plans in their respective sphere of influence;
Note: iMarine Board Members are from agencies which are formally part of the project consortium or identified as subcontractors; Most Observers are not identified at individual level at this stage.
Table . List of members of the iMarine Board and Advisory Council