The scope of this call results from a yearlong process in which interested JPI Oceans members invited scientists, policy makers, industry, and NGO representatives to take stock of knowledge gaps and future research priorities. Exploring the potential of a successor activity, experts, policy makers, and interested JPI Oceans members gathered first in a scoping meeting in October 2022. Several aspects of deep-sea mining impact were identified that require further or more detailed investigation. Following up, a meeting was set up with the International Seabed Authority secretariat to identify the critical information needs from a policy perspective. This step was complemented by a stakeholder consultation workshop in which representatives from NGOs and industry were consulted to give their perspective on a third phase of the Joint Action.
As a result of these meetings and considering recently published studies, the following issues have been identified as important scientific objectives:
- Analysis of ecosystem functioning and food web architecture in the deep sea;
- Understanding and assessing ecosystem resilience;
- Understanding of natural spatial and temporal trends and variability in the deep sea;
- Accounting of biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services in the deep sea.
Ecological impacts of polymetallic nodule mining
- Establishing threshold values that define serious harm and development of indicators of ecosystem health;
- Investigating effectiveness of mitigation and potential restoration measures;
- Studying longer-term and cumulative impacts on polymetallic nodule habitats by prototype collector trials;
- Developing a deep-sea digital twin and modelling approaches to enable a better predictive capacity and trade off analysis;
- Comparative analysis of terrestrial and deep-sea mining in terms of their socio-ecological footprints, forming a foundation for further societal discourse.
Ecological impacts of massive sulphide mining
- Characterising polymetallic sulphide-based ecosystems at inactive vent sites;
- Investigating abiotic parameters at hydrothermally inactive sites of massive sulphide deposits and neighbouring deep-sea habitats;
- Studying the ecological impact of potential massive sulphide mining tests including the identification of test-sites;
Science-based support to governance
- Preliminary analysis of proposed governance and management regimes;
- Defining and developing improved standards and guidelines for environmental baselines, monitoring, and impact assessment;
- Establishing adaptive management tools and criteria for minimizing harmful impacts;
- Analysing ethical implications and societal consequences related to deep-sea mining.
Please note that the information provided here is provisional. Changes may occur in the official call announcement.
While the previously funded MiningImpact II project studied ecological impacts of a pre-prototype polymetallic nodule collector vehicle, projects funded under the new call are welcome to link their field work to a full-scale mining test implemented by a private entity. In addition, projects are welcome to establish links to companies working on development activities, such as the integration or pilot testing of new (environmental monitoring) technologies in the domain of deep-sea mining or deep-sea habitat (baseline) surveys. To accommodate collaboration between the research project proposals and potential interested commercial parties, JPI Oceans is launching a call for expression of interest for private sector partners preceding the trans-national joint call. A list of potential opportunities for partnering will be made available at the call launch date on the 1st of December 2023.
Conditions for collaboration with private sector partners:
- The research project(s) will work in full independence of the private sector partners; Funding agencies will not provide funding for the development of mining activities or technologies. Vice versa, research project participants cannot receive funding from private sector partners.
- Regulatory requirements regarding state-aid and competition will be observed;
- Transparency is key. All results deriving from the publicly funded project(s) will be made available through open data and open access publications and databases;
- Enterprises will gain insights from the project(s) concurrently with the wider community, ensuring a level playing field in access to the resultant data.
- Research projects working in partnership with private sector entities should not serve as substitutes for environmental impact assessments related to test mining activities or technologies. Private sector entities are responsible for funding separate assessments if mandated.
|Deadline for submitting pre-proposals||01.03.2024 - 17:00 CET|
|End of peer-review process||01.05.2024|
|Selection of pre-proposals by funding partners||15.05.2024|
|Inform positively ranked institutions||20.05.2024|
|Deadline for submitting full proposals||15.10.2024 - 17:00 CET|
|End of peer-review process||30.11.2024|
|Selection of full proposals by funding partners||15.12.2024|
|Start of projects||01.07.2025|
To date, several funding organisations have declared their interest in providing funding for the call.
- Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and Department of Economy, Science & Innovation, Government of Flanders, Belgium
- The Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
- Ministry of Universities and Research (MUR), Italy
- Dutch Research Council (NWO), The Netherlands
- Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju (NCBR), Poland
- Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development, and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI), Romania
Please note that the listed funding partners is preliminary and on the condition of available national budgets. A final list of funding partners will be available on 1 December 2023.
In-kind contributions (eg. ship-time) will also be made available by several funding partners. Project applicants will be encouraged to make use of these available resources.
Each application for a joint project must involve researchers from at least three FUNDING PARTNER countries. Self-funded partners including partners from countries (and/or regions) not participating in this call are allowed but do not contribute to the minimum eligible consortium size. No maximum number of partners is specified.
As in previous phases, the successor activities on the ecological aspects of deep-sea mining will focus on studying environmental impacts and risks but not fund or develop mining activities or technologies. Furthermore, implementing the Joint Action does not imply that JPI Oceans or its Member Countries neither endorse nor disapprove of seafloor mining and related operations.