Strengthening cooperation on Earth observation and the environment

The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today, which sets out common objectives and areas of cooperation in the field of Earth observation and the environment over the coming years.

To read the full article click here.


Fishing boats used as citizen science data platforms

Fishermen in South Devon, UK, have turned their boats into “massive data platforms” for a citizen science study. They have become the first commercial fishers to gather data for the Secchi Disk Study, which is gathering data on the state of the oceans’ phytoplankton.

To find out more read the full article here.


EEA release new “State of Europe’s seas” report

A new report recently published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that, despite some improvements, the way we use our seas remains unsustainable and threatens not only the productivity of our seas, but also our wellbeing.

The EEA’s ‘State of Europe’s seas’ report examines whether the EU is meeting its policy goals for the quality of the marine environment. Some of the key findings in the report include:

  • Climate change is already affecting Europe’s marine ecosystems.
  • Hazardous substances are widespread in the marine environment. They can accumulate through the marine food chain and pose health risks to humans.
  • Marine litter, mainly in the form of plastic, is also accumulating in Europe’s seas. Most of the litter comes from land-based activities. Micro-plastics can enter the food web.
  • Underwater noise from human activities (shipping, renewable energy, oil and gas extraction, etc.) is increasing and can have a wide range of impacts on marine life.

The full report can be viewed here.


DCU Researchers receive NVIDIA award

Prof Dermot Diamond and his team at the National Centre for Sensor Research in DCU, have been successful in securing a Quadro K5200 graphics card from NVIDIA through their Academic Hardware Grant Request to assist them in their research for the COMMON SENSE project. Professor Diamond said:

“One main focus of our research is to merge the digital world with the molecular world. To do this we rely heavily on our ability to produce very high quality rendered images from CAD (Computer Aided Design) packages to illustrate our latest system designs to our research partners.”

Speaking on the particularities of the sensors being developed by the COMMON SENSE project, Professor Diamond added:

“These systems are low-cost autonomous sensors designed for in-situ environmental monitoring, providing access to previously unobtainable data by increasing the temporal and spatial resolution issues associated with expensive probe type spot measurements. By sending the recorded data to the cloud we can provide unprecedented access to real time data over wide-scale deployment sites. We can detect and record the concentration of nutrients leading to eutrophication in marine and fresh waters, track gas concentrations in air samples, along with temperature and pressure measurements.”

The COMMON SENSE researchers at DCU would like to thank the NVIDIA team for their support in this research. This award will significantly reduce the computational time required for a full render (including lighting, liquids and transparencies) by 70%, and will result in a greater number of high quality rendered images and videos produced in a much shorter time frame.

DCU nVidia awardDr Margaret McCaul, Mr Eoghan McNamara and Prof Dermot Diamond at the National Centre for Sensor Research, Dublin City University, Ireland.



New COMMON SENSE Progress Update 2015 Factsheet now available

COMMON SENSE is successfully developing prototypes for innovative, next generation sensing technologies that will be a key tool for EU Member States in meeting their Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requirements.

A new 2015 Progress Update factsheet is now available which specifically focuses on how COMMON SENSE sensors will contribute to improving marine monitoring and marine data management. The factsheet provides general project information and objectives as well as an infographic which shows for the project development timeline alongside a timeline for MSFD implementation.

Sensors being developed by the COMMON SENSE project will increase the availability of standardised data on: eutrophication; concentrations of heavy metals; micro plastic fraction within marine litter; underwater noise; and other parameters such as temperature, pH and pressure. These cost-effective sensors directly respond to current marine monitoring challenges and will be a key tool for EU Member States in meeting their MSFD requirements and achieving Good Environmental Status (GES).

The factsheet has been designed to appeal to a non-expert audience. It can be viewed and downloaded here.

For further information about COMMON SENSE, please contact COMMON SENSE Scientific Coordinator Sergio Martinez (

 Capture Factsheet pg2

EC flag The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 /2007-2013) under grant agreement no 614155. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which maybe made of the information contained therein.