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The IOW Transfer Strategy

In parallel with its research programme, the IOW has developed a strategy for its transfer products, roads and targets.

Knowledge transfer at the IOW is designed to meet the demands of three different target groups: (1) authorities / agencies involved in the implementation of European or German marine policy; (2) the general public but also, specifically, schools and (3) enterprises involved in the development and production of marine research technologies (technology transfer in sensu stricto).

(1) Authorities and Agencies

Our main target group is the first one, i.e. the authorities / agencies involved in the implementation of environmental policies. For example, the IOW has engaged in long-term cooperations with the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). For both, the IOW is conducting monitoring programmes with the aim of assessing the state of German waters of the Baltic Sea in general and that of benthic habitats such as sand banks and reefs in particular. Among the resulting products are annual assessments of the state of the Baltic Sea environment, maps of anoxic areas and of benthic habitats and comprehensive datasets freely accessible via the IOW databases or the Baltic Sea Atlas, a Web-GIS application offering maps of a broad variety of environmental variables. As members of HELCOM expert network groups and of related working groups on national and state levels, we support the processes required for the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) and of other European regulations, through our assessments of the state of the Baltic Sea environment and the development of new indicators.

(2) General Public

To provide the public with scientifically sound information on topics of common concern, such as the over-fertilisation of the Baltic Sea, its expanding “dead zones”, ocean acidification, the impact of climate change on the Baltic and pollution issues such as microplastics, the institute offers talks and discussion rounds on a regular basis in the form of the “Warnemünder Abende”, a series of weekly talks during the summer, and the biannual “Ostseetag”, which offers presentations, discussion rounds with politicians and school competitions related to environmental issues impacting the Baltic Sea. In the school programmes MariSchool and PlasticSchool, special teaching modules are offered that focus on involving school students in experiments or providing hands-on exercises on the above-mentioned topics. An exhibition in the Baltic Sea Research Villa presents our work and its results, for example in the form of a multitouch table that explains the development of anoxic areas in the Baltic Sea. Frequent contact to the media (print, TV, radio) in the form of press releases, expert interviews, and support of reportage on IOW research, as well as routine social media activities (Facebook, Twitter) and an extensive website with many publically available resources such as fact sheets or oxygen maps round off the information offered to the general public.

(3) Enterprises

Technology transfer at the IOW aims at (a) improving marine research technologies and (b) supporting enterprises to develop new products to fulfil scientific needs. In the first (a), IOW technicians and engineers most commonly adjust commercially available equipment to the special conditions of the Baltic Sea or to meet a specific scientific demand. These new, highly welcomed products are used by IOW and other German scientists. Recent examples are a research winch with Active Heave Compensation and the Self-cleaning Monitoring Box (SMB) for continuous, on-route analyses of surface water on board research vessels. In the second (b), IOW scientists cooperate with enterprises on, e.g. new marine research instrumentation or environmentally friendly applications. Examples are the BONUS projects PINBAL, SEAMOUNT, ECOMAP, MICROPOLL and the BMBF-funded project MicroCatch_Balt. Most recently, the institute started an EXIST-Startup-funding project with a group of young engineers, who are aiming at the foundation of a start-up company. They plan to construct and sell special pressure-neutral UW-platforms for research and monitoring purposes. The Federal Ministry for Economics has granted a one year scholarship to support the team and help them during the phase of establishing a new enterprise.