The Data we need for the Ocean we care for - Satellite event at 2024 UN Ocean Decade Conference

"The Data we need for the Ocean we care for" - Satellite event at 2024 UN Ocean Decade Conference
Blue-Cloud Event
9 April 2024 17:00–18:30
World Trade Center, Room 9-10, South Building (Sala Sud) Barcelona, Spain

Data collection, analysis and application are key enablers for ocean data innovation. Data integration/interoperability is needed. A workshop organised as an off-site event of the 2024 UN Ocean Decade Conference, 9 April 2024 in Barcelona, Spain, deep dived into cases of success in data sharing practices from European research infrastructures, and how to maximise this potential at global level for contributing to the SDGs and the Digital Twins of the Ocean programmes.

The workshop was opened by the European Commission's Directorate-General Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) and showcased best practices of marine data federation  from the Blue-Cloud2026 and the iMAGINE European projects, with specific insights on applications for marine biology and the fishery domain. With input by EMODnet, Copernicus Marine and leading marine research infrastructures, Blue-Cloud ( is contributing to the open science transformation by an easier discovery and access of blue data, open to all to implement open science and AI. The iMagine initiative ( provides a portfolio of image datasets, high-performance image analysis tools empowered with Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Best Practice documents for scientific image analysis.

The OceanTeacher Global Academy (OTGA) and the Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS) of IOC/UNESCO also joined the workshop to dive into the education and training needs to ensure data management practices and standards are put in place at a global level.

Last but not least, representatives from the European Digital Twins of the Ocean (EU DTO) Programme and its global counterpart, the DITTO programme, complemented with insights from the global efforts to build awareness around the ensuring cross-regional data sharing towards the development of digital twins of the ocean.


Chair: Sara Pittonet Gaiarin, Trust-IT Services & Blue-Cloud 2026 Project coordinator

Download the slidedeck

17:00 - 17:05 Welcome & Overview Sara Pittonet Gaiarin, Trust-IT Services & Blue-Cloud 2026 Coordinator
17:05 - 17:15

EU Research and innovation in support of blue economy
Keynote speech

Andreea Strachinescu, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, A1: Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment - European Commission

17:15 - 17:35

Topic 1: Data Management for achieving UN SDGs

Insights from data products and scientific applications from the Blue-Cloud 2026 & iMagine projects

Dick Schaap, MARIS and Blue-Cloud 2026 Technical Coordinator

Oriol Prat, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and OBSEA

17:35 - 17:55

Topic 2: Best practices and training opportunities for global ocean research

Best practices and standards for global ocean research, data management and applications used in DTOs by Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS) -  UNESCO-IOC. Training opportunities on ocean data globally offered via the OceanTeacher Global Academy (OTGA) and Blue-Cloud 2026 Training Academy

Rebecca Zitoun, Co-Coordinator, OBPS UN Ocean Decade Programme: ‘Ocean Practices for the Decade‘ 

Ana Carolina Mazzuco, OTGA Secretariat, UNESCO IOC Programme Office for IODE
17:55 - 18:15

Topic 3: Towards Digital Twins of Oceans

Insights from the EU Digital Twins of the Ocean European programme and issues faced by the global DITTO Working Groups on aspects such as data lakes and interoperability, data layers  and visualisations

Alain Arnaud, Digital Ocean Department, Mercator Ocean International

Fei Chai, Xiamen University, China

18:15 - 18:30 Q&A  



Andreea Strachinescu (Keynote), Head of Unit Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment in the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, is responsible for promoting innovative and emerging technologies and solutions, and ensuring broad dissemination of marine knowledge and research. The Unit she manages fosters innovation and provides policy input to Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, and it aims to create a better understanding of the ocean resources and advocate their sustainable use. It is also in the lead for providing policy input to the investments strategies for the blue economy.
Prior to this position, Ms. Strachinescu was Head of Unit responsible for New Energy Technologies and Innovation in the Directorate General for Energy, European Commission, in charge with the development of policy and actions on non-nuclear energy research and innovation.

Alain Arnaud. Dr. Arnaud obtained his PhD in Computer Science from ENSEEIHT - Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electronique, Electrotechnique, Informatique et Hydraulique de Toulouse (France) in 1997. Prior to this, he received a degree in Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique (X89) and a Master’s degree from the Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse – INPT (France). He has more than 30 years of experience in the remote sensing, data processing and environmental applications. He served as technical officer at both the French Space Agency (CNES) and the European Space Agency (ESA) as civil servant. In 2000, he founded his own company, Altamira Information, to develop ground motion services based on his PhD work. Altamira was sold in 2010 to the CLS group and Alain Arnaud acted until 2015 as CEO of Altamira and Director of Terrestrial Radar activities in the group. Leaving CLS he had a 2 years experience in Business development and Venture Capital as Partners in Avent Venture. In parallel to Mentorship activities in Copernicus accelerator from 2016 to 2020, he started in 2017 a long period of collaboration with Mercator Ocean international to help in developing Digital transition activities with the WEkEO Data and Information access platform and the Digital Twinning of the Ocean. He currently leads Mercator's Digital Ocean department and oversees the development of the European Digital Ocean Twin for the European Commission.

Fei Chai. Prof. Fei Chai received his Ph.D. from Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in 1995. Prof. Chai was a faculty member at the University of Maine since 1994, served as the Director of School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine between 2012 and 2015, he became Professor Emeritus in 2021. Since September 2022, Prof. Chai has joined Xiamen University and become a Chair Professor in Marine Science. Prof. Chai studies physical and biological processes contributing to global carbon cycle, ocean acidification, open ocean and coastal hypoxia, and climate variability affecting marine ecosystems and fisheries, ocean-based CDR. Prof. Chai has led and participated in over 40+ large interdisciplinary research projects both in US and China, and he published over 200+ papers in international journals. Prof. Chai serves as committee chairs and member for several international scientific organizations and programs (POGO, TPOS, GOA-O

Ana Carolina Mazzuco. Ocean scientist as a background, passionate about life by the sea. Currently, the IODE Training Coordinator – OTGA Project Coordinator at the UNESCO/IOC Project Office for The International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme, working together with a global community of experts and training centers to build capacity on ocean science, services, and management.

Oriol Prat. Researcher at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and OBSEA

Dick Schaap has a background in working as project engineer in Rijkswaterstaat North Sea Directorate (Netherlands Public Works Department), and extensive experience in coordination of many national and EU projects on marine data management  infrastructures. Currently he is coordinator of the EU funded EMODnet Data Ingestion projects and technical coordinator of EU funded projects SeaDataCloud, EMODnet High Resolution Seabed Mapping, EMODnet Chemistry, and EMODnet Physics. He is also invited member of EuroGOOS DATAMEQ group for advising on operational oceanography data management procedures. Dick is also the Blue-Cloud Technical Coordinator.

Rebecca Zitoun. Co-Coordinator, OBPS UN Ocean Decade Programme: ‘Ocean Practices for the Decade'

About the UN Ocean Decade Conference

Hosted by Spain and co-organized with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO), the 2024 UN Ocean Decade Conference will take place on 10-12 April 2024 in the coastal city of Barcelona. It will be a 3-day, in-person event co-led with a range of partners: Government of Catalonia and the Barcelona City Council through the Barcelona Capital Náutica Foundation, and the Spanish National Ocean Decade Committee, which is led by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the Spanish Research Council (CSIC).

Official website: