Ecosystem Approach Community of Practice: The iMarine Board

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“The primary goal of the iMarine Board is to define the data e-Infrastructure governance model, with a sustainability focus, and to formulate a set of organizational and technological policy recommendations regulating the resources shared and services provided by the infrastructure.”

This goal will be achieved by the Board by providing assistance and recommendations to the iMarine e-Infrastructure partners in orchestrating the activities to ensure an effective exploitation of the e-infrastructure. The Board has a primary role in outreach and marketing of the e-infrastructure, and its activities range from identifying opportunities for collaboration and sharing of resources, to organizing the collection of requirements, support to implementing solutions, and ensuring packaging of outcomes in manageable resources.

The Board is convened for formal meeting sessions every 6 months.

Formal aspects of the Board (mandate, membership, officers, decision making process, operational policies, ...) are defined in Board’s Rules and procedures.

The Board operates by defining among it’s members and the EA-CoP a range of objectives, and the work plan to achieve these. The objectives are verifiable outcomes that will be validated to measure project success.

Rules and Procedures

The June 2012 version of the Rules and Procedures governing the operations of the iMarine Board is available here

Criteria for prioritization

The Rules and Procedures refer to a set of criteria that govern the prioritization setting of initiatives in the Board's decision making process.

These criteria were agreed at the iMarine Board kick-off meeting, They are:

  • Users now;
  • Co-funding;
  • Project structural allocation of resources;
  • Clearly referred to in the iMarine Description of Work;
  • Related to EA-CoP business cases;
  • The proposed actions support sustainability aspects relevant to the EA-CoP;
  • Consistency with EC regulations/strategies such as INSPIRE;
  • Re-usability with clear benefits to EA-CoP representatives and proven compatibility with EA-CoP resources.

Overall workplan

WP3 objectives and activities

Project activities involving the EA-CoP take place under WP3. These activities are organized according to the three main objectives:

1. Operations of the iMarine Board:

  • Meetings of the iMarine Board
  • Meetings of the iMarine Advisory Council
  • Mobilization of/mediation with the wider EA-CoP concerned by the three Business cases

2. Governance and Policy developments

The Governance relate to the activities of the EA-CoP where they interact with the e-Infrastructure. It describes how Deliverable D3.2 (M10) and D3.3 (M29), that report on this governance, are achieved.

  • Development of the Sustainability plan
  • Development of Governance model
  • Development of Data Policies
  • Development of Software Policies
  • Development of guidelines and best practices

3. Harmonization of systems and schemas

Harmonization activities are organized by technical clusters and can be validated through the VREs set-up to serve the Business cases

  • VREs planning
  • Technical Clusters: Statistical; Biodiversity; Geospatial; Semantics


Status of Board's overall workplan

At its first session, the iMarine Board has initiated the elaboration of an overall workplan which spans across the entire project duration. This workplan provides an overview of Board's activities and related timing expectations, and is used to identify possible conflicting use of project resources in order to decide on priorities.

  • after Board 1 meeting - the Board Work Plan overview in Excel format (Registration required)
  • after Board 3 meeting - the Board Work Plan was updated until July 2013

Implementation results

This section describes the tangible outputs of activities listed in the above workplan

Mediation with the CoP concerned by the Business cases

iMarine Board meetings

They constitute the primary mechanism for mediation among the EA Community of Practice directly involved in the project. The meetings page documents the events organised to support the board activity including their reports, recommendations and conclusions;

  • iMarine kick-off meeting
  • First iMarine Board meeting (March 2012)- this meeting has elaborated the iMarine Board Rules and Procedures ; this page describes the regulations and principles supporting the operation of this board;
  • First Advisory Council meeting (March 2012)- this meeting has brought together for the first time the 5 advisors who were presented the iMarine's objectives and strategy and the potential for the platform.
  • Second iMarine Board meeting (October 2012) - this meeting has discussed a second version of the Data access and sharing policy, and consolidated the plans regarding the harmonization of systems.
  • Third iMarine Board meeting (March 2013) - this meeting further discussed the Data access and sharing policies, and review the progress towards work plan objectives.
  • Second Advisory Council meeting (March 2013)- the meeting was organized in conjunction with the third iMarine Board meeting in Rome, and presented the results and collected feedback and advice from the Bard Advisors.

iMarine collaborations

iMarine collaborations progressively develop through various stages, starting with a Mobilization/outreach phase and pursued further with negotiation then implementation phases. The progressin collaboration can be tracked in the IMarine_Liaisons

Mobilization through outreach

The mediation efforts of the iMarine Board are primarily geared towards serving the three Business cases. The iMarine Business Cases page describes policy driven business needs which will eventually be supported by one or more VRE's.

The iMarine Board must first mobilize the concerned CoP; this mobilisation effort calls for liaison and outreach activities to the EA-CoP, as identified by the iMarine Board.

By Board2 (October 2012) the following outreach activities had been recorded:

  • BC2 - Presentation of iMarine to High Seas Deep Seas VME community (December 2011)
  • BC3 - Presentation of iMarine to GEF/ABNJ Tuna project (FAO team in February 2012; Steering Committee in June 2012)
  • BC1 - Presentation of iMarine to DG-MARE (June 2012)
  • BC3 - Presentation of iMarine to SmartFish Indian Ocean community (July 2012, Harmonization workshop)
  • Attendance of the ICES Conference
Negotiation phase

A second phase in the mobilization requires more targetted mediation efforts in order to progressively refine which are the more specific needs which iMarine can address in support of the concerned CoP and business case.

By Board3 (March 2013), a comprehensive iMarine Collaborations deliverable has been produced. These collaborations are at various stages of development. See the iMarine liaison page.


Conclusions of the D4Science project and the first iMarine forums stress that the Governance proposal must be adjusted to the business model and to the size of the CoP which can be expected at the end of the iMarine project. Developing a governance proposal is therefore tightly related to the sustainability plan.

Policies constitute key Governance instruments. The iMarine project will develop Data oriented policies, and Software oriented policies. See the iMarine Policies page;

The first draft of iMarine Data Access and Sharing policy has been presented at the first iMarine Board meeting

Guidelines and best practices enable a practical implementation of the above policies through more user oriented description:


Harmonization of systems

Board's objectives include organizing the collection of requirements accross the three Business cases, providing support to implementing solutions, and ensuring packaging of outcomes in manageable resources. This sub-set of objectives are articulated under the "Harmonization of systems".

As mentioned above, the response to Business case needs will be delivered through a set of VREs. Furthermore, the first iMarine Board meeting has described how a team work organized by technical clusters can better contribute to achieve harmonization of schemas and IT solutions across business cases.

The Requirements area contains:

  • the VRE planning page which describes the EA-CoP desiderata in terms of a composition of services and resources, delivered as a packaged single unit to the CoP. A VRE provides a defined set of services for a specific group of users that collaborate on a specified task or workflow. An alternative approach to VREs are gCube apps. In the context of the CoP desiderata, no difference is made.
  • the Clusters page describes how the CoP organizes the requirements collection and discussion on high-level topics in a set of organic, but also technological clusters; geospatial, biodiversity, statistics, and semantic technologies all are supported by technologies that overlap in functionality with other clusters, yet are still easily identifiable as falling within one of the clusters.
  • the Use Cases articulated around specific exploitation scenarios of infrastructure resources by communities capture the functional and organization requirements to complete a defined set of activities. The descriptions for not only the base for benchmarking the completeness of the proposed solution, but are also used to validate the technology package.


According to the Description of Work, the goal of this activity is (i) to document status and issues on harmonization approaches, and (ii) to validate implemented policies and business cases, their functionality and conformance to requirements.

The Validation area describes:

  • The procedure followed to validate VRE's;
  • The overall results; i.e. the appreciation of the e-infrastructure by the EA-CoP;
  • The validation activity results; a VRE may be validated multiple times, and the activity results are reported here.
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