"The idea is to develop a plan which has a clear and focused scientific vision, establishes a path to that vision, and has a much clearer link with the advisory services", explained SCICOM Chair Manuel Barange.
The main objective of the Science Plan is to tackle the scientific challenge of "integrated ecosystem understanding", lining up the scientific activities of ICES into four interconnected areas: 1) understanding internal ecosystem processes, 2) understanding the external pressure and impacts on ecosystems, 3) developing integrated ecosystem assessments as a way of quantifying and delivering on the challenge, and, in parallel, 4) developing an integrated observation and monitoring programme for ICES.
The development of the Science Plan ties in with a similar process on the Advisory Plan, both linked to the new ICES Strategic Plan. These coordinated plans will help steer the organisation towards the common goal of achieving integrated marine ecosystem understanding.
"The ultimate goal of the Science Plan is to prepare ICES into an organization capable of providing an integrated understanding of the functioning of, and impacts on, marine ecosystems in the ICES area. The Science Plan is a key process in developing the science to accomplish this goal, facilitating connections between different elements in the system", said Barange.
The ICES new Science Plan will be presented to the public at the Annual Science Conference (ASC) in September, but will be shared with Expert Groups and ICES structures in the spring, for input and comment.
SCICOM met in Copenhagen 11-13 March.