Background and description
Over the last decade of the 20th century, marine research institutes and postgraduate training organisations in Brittany have joined together in a “Blue Network” (20 members), an informal coordination structure. This network has played a key role within the region to purchase specific equipment (for instance a coastal oceanographic vessel from INSU-CNRS to work along the Channel coastline, co-funded by the Brittany Regional Council) or shared equipment (for instance the La Pérouse Library, joint between Ifremer, IUEM-UBO and IRD).
Brittany was also successful with respect to the 6th Framework Program of the European Union in Marine Science and Technology. 3 Networks of Excellence (REX : Marine Genomics Europe, EUR-OCEANS, ESONET), 2 Integrated Programs (IP : MERSEA et SPICOSA) and 1 ERANet (EUROPOLAR), all led by researchers based in Brest or Roscoff (Finistère), were supported by the European Commission, leading to the foundation of Europôle Mer (EM) in 2004. Besides their solid research activity, numerous partners from Europole Mer and in particular Ifremer, the European Institute of Marine Studies and the Biological Station of Roscoff, are well interfaced with the industry thanks to their participation in the Pôle Mer Bretagne, an economic competitiveness cluster with a global remit that gained recognition by the French Government in 2005. The coordination of the various scientific strategies of the Europole Mer members was further emphasised throughout the preparation of two major projects:- The Project plan Contract between the French Government and the Brittany Region- The application to the French Government for recognition as a Thematic Network of Advanced Research ("Réseau Thématique de Recherche Avancée (RTRA)" submitted in September 2006). Europole Mer was not selected as a RTRA network by the government, however the application was well evaluated and was transformed into the Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique (GIS) Europole Mer which started early 2007. The main institutions dealing with research, education, valorisation, and scientific communication to a wider public on Marine Science and Technology in Britanny are part of Europôle Mer and are:
- The European Institute of Marine Studies (IUEM, whih is part of UBO, CNRS, and INSU),
- Ifremer in Brest,
- The Biological Station of Roscoff (which is part of UPMC, CNRS, and INSU),
- The University of South Brittany
- The National Museum of National History (Concarneau),
- TheInstitut for Research and Development, (IRD Centre in Brittany)
- The French Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor
- The French Hydrographic and Oceanographic Naval Services ,
- 5 top level engineering schools (so called grandes écoles) :Ecole Navale, Telecom Brest (École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications de Bretagne), Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Brest (ENSTA Bretagne), Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs des Etudes et Techniques d'Armement (ENSIETA), and Institut Supérieur de l'Electronique et du Numérique (ISEN),
- and Océanopolis, a Center for Scientific, Technological, and Industrial Communication, which includes a large aquarium.