Mainly internal financing…
Scientific data management actions are not financed much at national level in France: there is no financing centre like the French National Research Agency, ANR. Also, the legislative framework (public access to environmental data) and the scientific framework (necessity of exchange of observations in the marine domain to obtain sufficient space-time coverage) and the very open practices in force in other countries (such as the United States) are not favourable to the establishment of a genuine market.
This maintenance of existing services and systems is therefore based mainly on internal financing by the organisations that produce the information. The sale of data cannot be considered as a sufficient source of financing for the overall data management and processing.
… for global issues
However, the issues vastly exceed the strict context of the organisations for two reasons:
• The ocean is difficult to observe! Therefore, only intense cooperation between the various observers and actors at regional, national, European and international levels can build a sufficient framework for obtaining a complete view of the phenomena to be described, planned or managed. It is important to note the awareness of this fact at the scale of the marine scientific community overall, which has built a genuine information exchange culture, across numerous domains.
• The intention to procure environmental management tools in France and in Europe also calls for access to all observations and information available. The actions of EMODNET / DG-Mare (European Marine Observation and Data Network) in preparation for the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive is a very good illustration of this.
And within Ifremer?
In total, the budget devoted to compiling data in databases represents less than 2% (source: MRAG investigation) of the total observation cost (including vessel costs) at Ifremer. As they have been stable for a number of years, these resources are facing difficulties in coping with the increasing requirements due to:
• The inclusion of new observation methods: acoustic imaging, for example.
• The strengthening of the multidisciplinary character of environmental studies in order to characterise the environment, resources and uses.
• The strengthening of the national and European legislative framework concerning environmental data and the intention of national and European bodies to procure management tools (possibly including scientific programmes intended to develop and assess such tools).
European funding: on the rise?
European projects are a significant source of financing but they essentially cover setting up systems, not their management over time. However, the necessity of more continuous financing in order to maintain the data banking and distribution services in operational condition is becoming a matter of greater awareness at national and European level ("Marine Core Services", DG-Mare/EMODNET).