Sophia, Knowledge for Marine Environment Management

Project facts

Project promoter:
Directorate General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services
Project Number:
Target groups
Civil servants/Public administration staff,
Teachers, trainers, managers, leaders and other staff within higher education institutions
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 222,549
The project is carried out in:


DGRM is responsible for the implementation of Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and has identified several areas requiring consolidation of knowledge and qualified personnel for proper implementation of monitoring programs and measures. This project responds some of these needs, contributing to training and academic qualification in three areas: Deep Sea Ecology; Dynamics of food webs; GIS and satellite images of sea. The project is developed in partnership with FCUL (scientific and educational axis) and the ESCS (content production and web portal axis) and is structured in three areas: an international Workshop on deep sea ecology,seven thematic training modules and seven technical guidelines to support the training modules. It is intended that this project could be run twice during each cycle MSFD, updating existent knowledge and it can be included in the Program of Measures, strengthening of bilateral relations with Norway and with coastal states, will also be developed.

Summary of project results

In 2014, the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) required the development of measures and monitoring action plans. It became to DGRM, the implementing authority in Portugal, that there were critical knowledge gaps in the marine environment specialists community, especially regarding the Public Administration professionals. This was due to the more ecosystemic mindset which the MSFD brought about to marine environment management. Furthermore, we realized that bridging gaps between the very specialized knowledge areas would also be critical – we needed a community of professionals that understood each other and who could communicate technically as a multi-thematic team. SOPHIA provided the perfect opportunity to tackle these difficulties: most of the participants were introduced to areas of specialization that were not their own, and reported to us how they felt this facilitated their work. Those who chose to participate in training courses and debates within their own field of work reported the benefits of the broad technical dialogues, as well as by the exchange of ideas between fellow colleagues from various departments and organisations. We designed short training courses and supporting materials covering 8 key topics of relevance to MSFD and to marine environment management in general. We also developed an online platform to facilitate open access to the information. Furthermore, we designed this as a knowledge hub that gathers videos, infographics, and text materials. SOPHIA also engaged in promoting technical debates between specialists in marine environment from all the key topics covered by the project. For that, we operated a small multimedia studio, which resulted in the recording of unique videos and audio statements and debates, all published on the SOPHIA online platform. All the participants fit the target: a high rate of Public Administration professionals (85%), researchers (11%) and direct stakeholders from private companies and NGOs (4%). Out of the 393 participants in the training courses, 93% rated the programme, with a satisfaction index of 84%. There was a key question in this questionnaire, concerning perceived increase in autonomous capacity to deal with technical subjects. The participants reported a 76% raise in it. We take this as a very positive measure of success of SOPHIA. The engagement in the SOPHIA social media – Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ was far beyond the initial expectations of a 5000 reach: over 200.000 people were reached.

Summary of bilateral results