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s.Pro – sustainable projects is a consulting company based on more than fifteen years of experience in the management of international projects. s.Pro initiates, prepares, manages and follows–up on transnational projects, thus covering the whole project cycle s.Pro experts address specific areas of expertise related to sustainable development: maritime policy and blue growth, resource efficiency and regional development. s.Pro work philosophy is based on the desire to develop projects which not only cover sustainable development but are also sustainable in themselves.
s.Pro is founding and managing partner of the Submariner Network, which brings together an unlimited range of public and private actors from all Baltic Sea Region countries in order to promote and realise activities necessary for using marine resources innovatively and sustainably.In MSP4BIO, s.Pro as a project Leas partner is in charge for the over-all project coordination and day-to-day management, taking care of project’s implementation alignment with funding requirements, governance functioning, timeline, communication with the project officer, as well as of communication, exploitation and dissemination activities.






Cerema (Centre for Studies and Expertise on Risks, the Environment, Mobility and Urban Planning) is the French leading public agency which develops public expertise on spatial and urban planning, regional cohesion, climate change ecologic and energy transition. Founded in 2014, this ecnical and scientific resource centre, it supports the setting up and implementtation of public policies at national and local level.
Concerning Maritime Spatial Planning, Cerema supports the French State Secretary in charge of the Sea in the elaboration and revision of the National Strategy for the Sea and Coast, at national level, and of the Sea Basin Documents which implement MSP at Sea Basin level. Concretely, it produces guidelines and methodologies, technical analysis and thematic synthesis to support decision making. It also publishes information and adopted documents through the Geolittoral web platform. Finally, it takes part in the cooperation international and European projects such as MSP4BIO. 
In MSP4BIO, Cerema is in charge of the North-West Med test site implementation along with the Italian partner of the project. It also leads the task dedicated to the coordination of implementation of all test site activities with focus on the stakeholder engagement through communities of practice. 






The Center for Coastal and Marine Studies (CCMS) is a research and non-profit organisation, established in March 2018 in Varna, Bulgaria. It has the fundamental goal to develop and promote science, research, knowledge transfer and innovation technologies in the Black Sea and the World Ocean by bringing together science, expertise, stakeholders and policy making. CCMS activities comprise a vast range of coastal and marine research, with a mission to study and protect geodiversity and biodiversity, as well as support to the implementation of the EU coastal and maritime strategies by developing scientific basis and providing expertise, project development, knowledge transfer, networking and consultancy. CCMS is closely collaborating with the national MSP authority on th national MSP processes and directly supported MSP processes under the MARSPLAN-BS II project (LSI and MU case studies). CCMS experts have over 20 years experience in the field and were involved in diagnostics for Blue economy policy note for Bulgaria.  
In MSP4BIO project, CCMS co-leads with NIMRD (Romania) the Black Sea pilot site – Bulgarian cross-border area bringining in its experience on the national MSP processes and local stakeholders involvement. CCMS leads also the task on final recommendations, transferability and scale-up of effective biodiversity mainstreaming in MSP.




Gdynia Maritime University is the largest state school of higher maritime education in Poland and one of the largest in Europe, founded in 1920. Gdynia Maritime University (GMU) has a long experience in MSP and sea management projects. The GMU experts elaborated the first Polish MSP covering almost entire marine territory of Poland approved by the Polish government in 2021. GMU was also involved with CORPI (Lithuania) in a joint Baltic Sea initiative implementing the EU ICZM working group methodology and creating the first comprehensive ICZM ATLAS with assessment of 27 ICZM indicators for Baltics. GMU experts have participated in numerous transnational projects in the field of MSP, ICM and blue economy.
In MSP4BIO, GMU will contribute to the project with its expertise on conflicts and synergies between various maritime sectors, its long experience in the EU, regional and national policy analyses and the MSP governance studies on Baltic level, and its know-how on MSP participatory process, especially on involvement of local stakeholders. In particular, GMU will provide support in ensuring the contribution of socio-economic aspects in the collaborative research. GMU will also be responsible for pilot testing and validation of tools developed in the project in the Black Sea basin preparing deliverable 5.2.




University of Cadiz


The University of Cádiz (UCA) is a non-profit public higher-education institution located in four campuses in southern Spain. UCA leads the “CAMPUS DE EXCELENCIA INTERNACIONAL DEL MAR” (CEIMAR), a campus whose mission is to become an international reference in teaching and research in marine themes including the Science, Engineering and Humanities (a strategic alliance of universities, research centres, science and technology parks and innovative companies of the South UNIof Spain, Portugal and the North of Morocco). Additionally, UCA is the coordinator of the European University of the SEAS (SEA-UE), an alliance of 6 European universities (University of Cadiz (Spain), Bretagne Occidentale in Brest (France), Kiel (Germany), Gdańsk (Poland), Split (Croatia) and Malta). The university is involved in four Horizon Europe projects, including MSP4BIO. In this project, the UCA brings expertise on human geography to the social aspects. The UCA also participates in the screening of the existing ecological and environmental criteria and in the establishment of strategic and spatial measures for the blue economy sector by steering the work on interaction with trade-off scenario analysis.





Nantes University

With 42 research labs and 45000 students, Nantes Université is one of the major academic bodies in France, with particular strengths in the field of “health of the future” and “industry of the future”; with ocean sciences included in the latter. As part of Nantes Université, LETG is a research laboratory dedicated to marine geography, which addresses diverse issues, such as ocean governance, geomatics, marine spatial planning, fisheries, MRE, etc. This is in this context that Nantes Université is contributing to the MSP4BIO project.
Nantes Université’s contribution includes, but is not limited to, analysing environmental policies pertaining to ocean management and biodiversity protection; providing solutions to strengthen biodiversity consideration in sectoral policies and marine planning; and developing a framework considering the ecological, social, and economic dimensions in marine planning. Nantes University is in charge of the project’s knowledge transfer and capacity building.






The University of Tartu enhances the knowledge and understanding of the Baltic Sea ecosystem, and seeks scientific and management solutions to improve the environmental quality and the sustainability of ecosystem services. UTARTU has decades of experience in studying marine biodiversity, with a particular focus on the transformation of our oceans due to local and global anthropogenic drivers. To investigate the impact of these drivers on the structure and functioning of ecosystems, UTARTU integrates monitoring, experimental and numerical/statistical approaches (including the active development of innovative algorithms) with sophisticated but easy-to-use decision support tools. This combination allows the modelling of ecological and environmental phenomena across biological (from populations to ecosystems) and spatial (from local to global) scales, and their dynamics under different human use and climate change scenarios. These tools are applied in tight collaboration with local, national and regional authorities, practitioners and stakeholders with an aim to integrate ecological and environmental knowledge and data in the process of MPA and MSP-related decision-making. UTARTU also manages regional databases of the Baltic Sea environment and represents an operational link of the most recent scientific advances and ready-to-use databases in the region.




The World Wide Fund for Nature - WWF MMI and WWF EPO


WWF is one of the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organizations with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable and prompting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Within MSP4BIO WWF will contribute to a large number of activities with a main focus on coordinating the Science Policy dialogues on multiple level, including the development of a report on Policy solutions for MSP, and on supporting successful transferring and communication of the results of the project to the selected target audiences.






The Coastal Research and Planning Institute (CORPI) is a non-profit public research institute in Lithuania dedicated to applied marine research, carrying out R&D activities with the aim to foster the implementation of maritime policy and the development of the maritime economy. Personnel of the Institute is composed of experts in maritime biology, geology, environmental engineering, and social science – a team of experts having scientific backgrounds and competencies within maritime-related research and businesses. Experts having extensive experience in the fields of Environmental Impact, Risk, and Human Health Impact assessment provide high-quality services for marine and coastal economic developments. The group of experts in CORPI on integrated coastal zone management and maritime spatial planning are among the authors of the first MSP in Lithuania. They have also been involved in a number of European projects dealing with MSP. The good balance of scientific and applied research activities carried out at CORPI ensures the efficient transfer of European level scientific knowledge into high-quality services requested by national and international business and governmental organizations. In the MSP4BIO, CORPI will contribute to almost all project work packages, especially on the MSP dimension of the project.





The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – also known as the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) – is an intergovernmental organisation (IGO) and a regional sea convention in the Baltic Sea area. A regional platform for environmental policy making, HELCOM was established in 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution. Constituting the foundation of HELCOM, the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area – also known as the Helsinki Convention – was originally signed in 1974 by all Baltic Sea coastal countries.
The HELCOM Secretariat coordinates the work and meetings of the Helsinki Commission and ensures that the Contracting Parties meet their obligations under the Helsinki Convention. The international team is led by the Executive Secretary.
In MSP4BIO project, HELCOM Secretariat will lead “Work Package 6 – Policy coherence and co-production of solutions” that aims to establish a joint understanding of and improve coherence between the key EU policies especially in relation to the EUBS and the CBD’s post-2020 framework. In addition, Baltic Sea will be one of the six case study areas that work packages will apply their methodologies, which will be led by HELCOM Secretariat. In general, HELCOM will participate other work packages including Work Package 2 – Scoping and gap analysis, Work Package 3 – Systemic approach to biodiversity consideration, and Work Package 5 – Operationalisation and participation in test sites.





The Institute of Marine Sciences of the National Research Council (CNR-ISMAR) is the largest public research institution in Italy founded in 1923. It integrates multidisciplinary research skills for the study of oceanic processes, climate variability, ecosystems functioning and evolution, and to develop integrated systems/operational services for the monitoring, protection and sustainable management of the marine environment, from the open sea to coastal areas. CNR-ISMAR is also involved in the implementation of EU marine policies and directives, in linking research and institutional needs, promoting blue growth and science-to-policy initiatives, in particular through the development of decision support tools for MSP and ICZM, the development of Italian MSP Plans and through projects and initiatives for a coherent and ecosystem-based implementation of MSP in the Mediterranean. In the MSP4BIO, CNR-ISMAR will be responsible for improving systemic biodiversity prioritization criteria for MPAs and OECMs, using the best available knowledge and including impacts of climate change on biodiversity attributes. CNR-ISMAR will contribute to improving the existing operational tools, also through the integration of dispersion and hydrodynamic models, and will have the task of synthesizing all the knowledge acquired in the design of a flexible Ecological Toolkit to be applied in the project’s testing sites, in support of specific planning objectives for a better decision-making process. CNR will be also co-responsible for the NW-MED Testing site together with Cerema, the French project partner. 




Flanders Marine Institute


Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) promotes marine knowledge creation and excellence through interdisciplinary research about the ocean, seas, coast and tidal estuaries. This is done in close collaboration with other (marine) research groups, citizens, policy makers and industrial partners in Flanders, Belgium, and through international collaboration.  VLIZ has extensive experience in developing products and knowledge relevant to the MSP4BIO project, such as biodiversity data collection by the Marine Observation Centre, data management and the development of geographic data systems by the VLIZ Marine Data Centre, and engagement at the science-policy-industry interface by the Policy and Innovation division.
In the MSP4BIO project, VLIZ is responsible for the evaluation of the ecological criteria and datasets that are currently underpinning the designation of marine protected areas, at international, European and sea basin scales, as well as of the measures in place to manage MPAs. Moreover, VLIZ coordinates the gap analysis at each of the six test sites, to understand the context-specific challenges at play in relation to the planning and management of marine protected areas, including the interactions with marine spatial planning. VLIZ is the lead for the Belgian part of the North Sea test site.





The Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) is the research and development centre of the Finnish environmental administration. Syke’s overall strategic goal to support the sustainability transformation. The institute covers a broad range of environmental issues from terrestrial to marine ecosystems and from urban to rural areas. Our experts provide independent information and insight on global phenomena such as climate change, biodiversity loss, overconsumption, pollution and eutrophication. To mitigate the impacs of these phenomena, we promote nature-based solutions and develop new approaches for reaching a good state of the seas and inland waters, and for achieving sustainable use of water resources. This leads us to advancing the overall transition to a sustainable circular economy.
Co-operation with partners is a prerequisite for our success, therefore we bring our environmental expertise in projects such as MSP4BIO, and in national and international networks.


University of the Azores

University of Azores

The University of the Azores’ (UAC) mission focuses on knowledge development and dissemination, through teaching, research, cultural dissemination, service rendering. Particularly, die to its geographical location, the University contributes to the overall development of the Azores. It holds several research centers focusing on the fields of humanities, arts, sciences and technologies. The UAC team has elaborated several Coastal Zone Management Plans and participated in several projects relating to ICZM and Climate Change, it is also part of this thematic group at the Air Centre. Additionally, the UAC authored the first Azores Marine Park and its network of Marine Protected Areas approved by the Regional Government. In MSP4BIO, the UAC brings in the synergies with the Blue Azores project that will deliver the Azores MPA network revision, and enlargement to new goals, both on offshore and coastal areas. Thanks to this expertise, the University of the Azores leads the establishment of the socio-ecological framework of MSP4BIO.




The National Institute for Maritime Research and Development “Grigore Antipa“- NIMRD is a representative national organization with a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary structure, operating under the coordination of the Ministry of Research Innovation and Digitalization in Romania. From 1970, NIMRD carries out basic, applied and technological research for the knowledge, protection and management of the coastal zone and marine environment, oceanography, marine and coastal engineering, management of the marine living resources in the Black Sea and World Ocean.
NIMRD ensures the national, regional and European marine strategies/plans implementation and works closely with national MSP authorities. According to the establishing legal document, the institute is the scientific responsible of the physical, chemical and biological national network for marine waters and for coastal erosion surveillance and national scientific responsibility for the collection and management of fisheries data.
NIMRD hosts the National Oceanographic and Environmental Data Center (RONODC).
NIMRD is part of the European Marine Observation and Data network and was involved in many of European and regional projects. In MSP4BIO, it will be responsible for the implementation of the cross-border Black Sea case study together with the Bulgarian partner, CCMS. It is also a lead beneficiary of the WP5 ensuring validation of the developed tools, facilitating exchange, building ownership and ensuring uptake test areas and beyond.






Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), established in 1977, is one of the six Regional Activity Centres of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), itself part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Twenty-one Mediterranean countries as well as the European Union constitute the MAP, and their common objective is the creation of a healthier Mediterranean environment, resting on the principle of sustainable development. 
Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention have given a mandate to PAP/RAC to provide technical support to the Parties in strategic projects towards sustainable coastal development, focusing both on the land and marine part of the coastal zone, through: 
Preparation of strategies, plans and programmes for coastal (including marine) planning and management; 
Assessment of coastal biodiversity as well as assessments of its social and economic values; 
Providing support towards establishment of coordination mechanisms, ensuring sustainable coastal governance 
Preparing methodological guidances, organising trainings and other types of capacity building programmes; 
Organising public awareness campaigns. 
Particular mission of the PAP/RAC is to provide support to Mediterranean countries to ratify and implement the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean (ICZM Protocol).  
Specific role of PAP/RAC in MSP4BIO project is to contribute to policy integration of ecosystem approach into MSP and provide regional considerations to the implementation of EU policy framework.





Seascape Consultants (est.2010) provides solutions and high-level advice to the rapidly developing offshore sector including industry, policymakers and regulatory bodies. We are experts in the fields of ocean governance, marine biodiversity, ecosystems, seafloor geological processes and habitat mapping.  Our portfolio of activities includes legislative advice, strategic environmental management planning and the management of marine data and information, among others. The Seascape Consultants Ltd. enjoys well-established and productive relationships with stakeholders across the EU and internationally.
In the MSP4BIO project Seascape Consultants Ltd. is a non-EU associated project partner with a role to enhance international cooperation for the project. The Seascape Consultants Ltd. brings in the plethora of expertise. In particular, MSP4BIO capitalizes on the recommendations of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) to advance the scientific basis for conserving biological diversity.





Steven Degraer

Dr. Steven Degraer started his scientific career in benthic ecology of intertidal and shallow subtidal temperate marine ecosystems at Ghent University. After his PhD research (1999), he broadened his research focus: from temperate to tropical ecosystems, from sandy to rocky coasts, from benthos to avifauna and from fundamental to applied research. Marine management, focusing on nature conservation and sustainable use and exploitation of the marine resources, has always been the red line through his work, which finally brought him to RBINS’ Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models in 2008; now: Operational Directorate Natural Environment (OD Nature). He is now coordinating OD Nature’s Marine Ecology and Management team with a broad expertise in marine mammals and seabirds, rocky shore fauna and invasive species, and underwater noise, embedded in an ecosystem management context. He further holds a research and teaching visiting professorship at the Biology Department of Ghent University. Steven Degraer (co)authored over 600 publications, of which 150+ a1-publications.

Mike Elliot

Prof. Mike Elliott, The University of Hull, UK

Professor Mike Elliott is the Director of International Estuarine & Coastal Specialists (IECS) Ltd and also the Emeritus Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences at the University of Hull, UK. He was Director of the former Institute of Estuarine & Coastal Studies (IECS) at the university from 1996-2017. He is a marine biologist with a wide experience and interests and his teaching, research, advisory and consultancy includes estuarine and marine ecology, policy, governance and management. Mike has published widely, co-authoring/co-editing 20 books/proceedings and >350 scientific publications. This includes co-authoring ‘The Estuarine Ecosystem: ecology, threats and management’ (with DS McLusky, OUP, 2004), ‘Ecology of Marine Sediments: science to management’ (with JS Gray, OUP, 2009), and ‘Estuarine Ecohydrology: an introduction’ (with E Wolanski, Elsevier, 2015). He was an editor and contributor to the ‘Coasts and Estuaries: the Future’ (Wolanski, Day, Elliott and Ramachandran; Elsevier, 2019), Fish and Fisheries in Estuaries (Whitfield, Able, Blaber & Elliott; Wiley, 2022) and the Treatise on Estuarine & Coastal Science (Eds.-In-Chief – E Wolanski & DS McLusky, Elsevier). He has advised on many environmental matters for academia, industry, government and statutory bodies worldwide. Mike is a past-President of the international Estuarine & Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA) and is now Vice-Chair of Future Earth Coasts and a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Estuarine, Coastal & Shelf Science; he currently is or has had Adjunct Professor and Research positions at Murdoch University (Perth), Klaipeda University (Lithuania), the University of Palermo (Italy), Xiamen University (China) and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity. He was awarded Laureate of the Honorary Winberg Medal 2014 of the Russian Hydrobiological Academic Society. Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award of ECSA, September 2022. He is also a member of many national and international committees linking marine science to policy.

David Johnson

Professor David Johnson trained as a physical geographer and completed an MSc in Recreational Land Management (National Parks) in 1982. In 1992 he joined Southampton Solent University as a Senior Lecturer in marine resource management, becoming first Head of the Maritime Studies Department and in 2003 Professor of Coastal and Ocean Management. He completed his PhD on the ecosystem goods and services of intertidal wetlands in 1998.

In 2006, David was appointed as Executive Secretary to the OSPAR Commission, the international convention for the environmental protection of the North-East Atlantic. He was intensively involved in the production of the OSPAR Quality Status Report 2010 and subsequent regional implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Amongst other achievements, David coordinated and negotiated the establishment of the world’s first network of marine protected areas in Area Beyond National Jurisdiction (2010/2012).

David is the Coordinator for the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) and led the science-policy interface work in the EU ATLAS project. Most recently, studies have been undertaken for UNEP (Regional Seas Programme and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework) and FAO (cross-sector impacts on deep-sea fisheries).

Rachel Shucksmith

Dr Rachel Shucksmith (University of Highlands and Islands Shetland). Initially specialising in environmental impacts of industry on the marine environment, Rachel’s research and consultancy group focuses on the use of interdisciplinary data and knowledge to guide decision making. Rachel has developed an international reputation in linking interdisciplinary marine science with real-life management opportunities and challenges, including marine planning and marine protected area management. Her research examines how differing data types and values can be utilised and embedded into both strategic and project level decision making. Rachel has co-authored over 50 publications and has provided advice and evidence on marine management to governments, statutory bodies, industry and academia.

Thanos Smanis

Mr. Smanis is an Environmental Consultant. He is a PhD candidate in Ecosystem Management and holds a MSc in Economic and Regional Development and a MSc in Agriculture Science and Engineering. After his involvement in various environmental research projects collaborating with different institutes worldwide, he became an evaluator for the EU LIFE projects for Nature and Environment. The last 15 years, he has worked on the technical implementation of EU and other IFI’s funded projects in a number of areas including governance and public policy – always providing an environmental and climate change approach. He works closely with financial institutions and national governments on their institutional design, capacity building and strategic approach to channelling environmental and climate change issues in economy. Specialized on capacity building, stakeholder engagement and development of policy frameworks in the field of Integrated Maritime Policy. In the last years involved in multiple international, multidisciplinary projects to provide support to different Sea Basins and countries to frame and implement their sustainable Blue Economy strategies and Maritime Spatial Plans. He is Greek, speaks English and Spanish fluently and has a basic understanding of French and German.

Virgil Zetterlind

Virgil Zetterlind

Virgil Zetterlind is director of ProtectedSeas, which provides the Navigator global encyclopedia of marine protected areas (MPAs), including their rules and regulations. ProtectedSeas also deploys low-cost solutions to monitor human activity in nearshore marine protected areas. He is a leading expert in remote sensing, mobile/web mapping, and processing and visualization of GIS Data. His career started with a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Missouri S&T University and an officer commission with the U.S. Air Force as a Developmental Engineer. He was awarded a MS in Electrical Engineering with honors from the Air Force Institute of Technology and worked in the Air Force Research Laboratory as a system engineer for remote sensing platforms including EO / IR Cameras, radar, and lidar. After the Air Force he conducted research into image and video data extraction for MITRE Corporation before co-founding his own software development company which focused on consumer nautical mapping applications for web and mobile devices. This work led him to co-found Conserve.IO in 2010 to provide citizen science and outreach tools for marine conservation including the IFAW Whale Alert app and Atlantic White Shark Sharktivity app. Virgil joined ProtectedSeas in 2015 to help build the Navigator and Marine Monitor platforms. Over his career, Virgil has worked on various research and development projects for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Google Earth, and NASA. He is an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer.

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