Are you the next chair of ICES Ecosystem Observation Steering Group?

“Observations are essential to support all marine science and advice.”

Nominations for EOSG chair now accepted.
Published: 7 August 2020

​​​​Ocean observation is a science priority for ICES. Scientists and resource managers rely on monitoring and the resulting data sets that allow us to track environmental and population changes in the ecosystems and identify resources for sustainable use and protection.

​Our expert groups design, plan, and coordinate different types of surveys to support fish stock assessments and the development of science. The design of these surveys need to be evaluated and optimized to meet the needs of our member countries. New technologies are identified and evaluated. The design, deployment and efficiency of sampling methods and gears is advised on. All this is carried out while developing monitoring that meets emerging data, science, and advisory needs, and is focused on integrated ecosystem assessment and ecosystem-based management. And then, how should the resulting data be used in assessments and advice?

The Ecosystem Observation Steering Group (EOSG) guides and supports these expert groups working on topics related to ecosystem observation as they meet data demands and contribute to the running and further development of effectively coordinated, integrated, quality assured, and cost-effective monitoring in the ICES region and beyond.

The term of the current Chair is coming to an end and nominations are being accepted for the position - a three-year term beginning in January 2021. As Chair, you will have the opportunity to influence the direction and impact of ICES science in this area, develop an international science network, and contribute to the work of ICES Science Committee. To allow time to interact with existing steering group chairs and the current chair of the Ecosystem Observation Steering Group to support the handover of responsibilities for this group, a new Chair will be elected during 2020.​

Advice from the current Chair

Sven Kupschus, Cefas, is the current chair of EOSG. After moving back to Europe from the US, Kupschus became heavily involved with ICES advisory process, contributing to stock assessment and benchmark groups for many years. “As part of this work, I became increasingly interested in what data we collected and how”.

He then transitioned to the science side of things - where many of the decisions and impacts of the data collection are considered - attending survey and methodological working groups. With this shift in focus came the realization that both ecosystem and stock assessment advice could benefit from a greater connectivity between data collectors and data users. Since then, Kupschus has predominantly focused on these aspects, utilizing his existing connection to the advisory system along with his insights into the operations of data collection.
Kupschus took on the role of EOSG chair in 2017, representing the EOSG expert groups in both ACOM and SCICOM as well as contributing to numerous subgroups and taskforces. “I thought of it as a natural progression from where I had been and an opportunity to positively input into a system from which I had benefitted. I also felt that I could use the opportunity to develop direction in the area of data collection and improve communication with data users as I have spanned those activities throughout my career and felt the importance of this was underestimated in ICES.


"EOSG is the largest of ICES steering groups and the main challenge has been the organization. One of my main accomplishments has been to drive forward a bottom-up consultative process with the expert groups in how to tackle this and provide opportunities for improvements in EOSG." This has resulted in the expert groups with very diverse roles and responsibilities now being divided amongst two steering groups (Ecosystem Observation Steering Group and the newly created Data Science and Technology Steering Group). Kupschus feels that each steering group will now have its own better defined focus, leaving scope for future development and more interesting science to come and the incoming chair will have the scope to make more efficient and effective progress on new challenges. 

"In the steering group chair role, you have to rely on motivating others - which was a personal challenge, as I have for many years relied on being able to do things myself - but the strength of ICES is in a community opinion." ​

Kupschus feels that having chaired a steering group, he now has a much better understanding of ICES processes and how to operate effectively in the system both as an expert group chair or even just a member. "The best ideas can get lost in the system unless you know how the system works. This knowledge has and is likely to impact my effectiveness in driving marine science forward for the rest of my career."


​“EOSG really needs an enthusiastic chair that is willing to put the effort in to make some changes. It’s not for everyone and it’s not for the title. However, if you see places where we can improve our science and advice and if you enjoy working with a diverse range of people learning about many different topics, then it could be really rewarding."

“Being a member of ICES does not grant you instant access to resources or open direct pathways to develop your career as some might expect", says Kupschus, "However, it does grant you intimate access to one of the largest networks of scientists and if, like me, you are interested in a broad range of topics and methodologies, there are few places in the world that can offer the same level of scope for learning and opportunities for cooperation.”

The term for the EOSG Chair is three years which begins on January 1 2021. If you have any questions regarding the role, please contact current EOSG Chair Sven Kupschus.

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday 15 September​ 2020. ​

How to apply

If you are interested – or would like to nominate someone – then please contact your national Council delegatesScience Committee, or Advisory Committee members with the following information:

  • A short CV and an expression of interest that includes-
    • Your reasons for standing for the role of steering group chair
    • Relevant experience in science, advice, leadership and/or management
    • Your vision for the steering group
    • Any other information you wish to share with the Committees​


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​Sven ​Kupschus is the current EOSG Chair.

​​ICES currently has six steering groups. Each addresses a broad area of science and advice and 'parents' a number of expert groups. Collectively, the steering groups oversee a significant proportion of the activity of ICES expert groups, as described in our Science Plan and Advisory Plan.

What does an ICES steering group chair do?

  • Works with expert group chairs to ensure that their work supports the science objectives and advisory needs of ICES 
  • Reviews the science being undertaken within groups, identifies science highlights, demonstrates the impact of their science
  • Provides groups with feedback on ways to improve the impact and influence of their work, provides the Science Committee with feedback on research priorities and implementation of ICES strategy
  • Identifies shortfalls in skills and knowledge needed to achieve ICES objectives, develops capability
  • Identifies gaps and overlaps in groups, proposes consolidation, rationalization or new groups
  • Facilitates  communication, collaboration, and coordination between expert groups and identifies opportunities for collaboration 
  • Represents the steering group at Science Committee and Advisory Committee meetings and at the Annual Science Conference​​
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Are you the next chair of ICES Ecosystem Observation Steering Group?

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