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Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR)

Expert(s) : Panayota (Yolanda) Koulouri
Anavissos (Attiki), Heraklion (Crete), Greece
Type of member : governmental marine research centre
Sea basin :
  • Mediterranean Sea
Topics :
  • Food from the ocean
  • Climate and the ocean
  • Healthy and clean ocean
  • marine biodiversity; coastal marine ecosystems; genetics; freshwater ecosystems; bioinformatics; etc
Environmental domains :
  • Marine/Ocean
  • Freshwater
Main activities :
  • Marine Science / Research
The Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) is a governmental research organization and the biggest institution for marine research in the Eastern Mediterranean, with high standard facilities and equipment, including research vessels, underwater vehicles, analytical laboratories and two aquaria. It covers multidisciplinary marine research, education and innovation. It aims to carry out scientific and technological research, experimental development, dissemination and implementation of produced results, especially in the fields of the study and protection of the hydrosphere, its organisms, its interface with the atmosphere, the coast and the sea bottom, the physical, chemical, biological and geological conditions that prevail and regulate the above mentioned systems. Its activities also include the production of products and supply of services, the support of decision-making concerning the general public, the economy and culture, their economical exploitation either by the HCMR and/or by its employees or by third parties. HCMR has signed framework agreements in the form of MoUs, with almost all the Black Sea countries, FAO, NIO (India), US universities and research centres (MIT, Texas, Rhode Island, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) and other universities, as well as third countries such as Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, training of under- and post-graduate students of numerous academic institutions has taken place through MoUs. Participating in European Networks of Excellence such as MARBEF, Marine Genomics, EurOceans and Esonet, among others, has provided the HCMR with the ability to strategically place itself among the leading research centres in Europe. Furthermore, networks such as COST, ERA-NET, MedCLIVAR and I3 networks build support and strengthen cooperation among the different areas of Europe with the HCMR adequately representing the Mediterranean. It has participated in major European infrastructure networks (ESFR Infrastructures) such as EMBRC, LIFEWATCH, EMSO-ERIC, EUROARGO-ERIC. Being part of these, is increasingly important for the advancement of knowledge and technology as they play a fundamental role in bringing together a wide diversity of stakeholders to look for solutions to the problems that society is facing today, while they attract and create a new research environment in which all researchers can interact and network to share knowledge and resources in all scientific disciplines. HCMR consists of three institutes: the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC), the Institute of Oceanography (IO) and the Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters (IMBRIW). HCMR brings expertise not only in marine knowledge but also in Ocean Literacy as its scientists: a) participate in the European Marine Educators Association (EMSEA) and its activities, especially in the Mediterranean Sea (e.g. development of a guide including Mediterranean Sea Literacy principles and concepts, questionnaires for primary and secondary schools in order to assess students’ knowledge, behavior and attitudes relevant to OL principles, participation in international events such as World Oceans Day); b) participate in the Ocean Literacy Expert Group of the European Global Ocean Observing System (EuroGOOS) and its initiatives (e.g. home schooling campaign due to COVID-19, policy documents); c) participate in international conferences concerning OL (e.g. all European Marine Science Educators Association Conferences 2012; 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018; 2019; European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018; 3rd International Workshop "Research in Shallow Marine and Fresh Water Systems” 2013; EU BON Joint Workshop of WP1 and WP6: citizen science within the framework of EU BON 2013; Vibrant Citizen science workshop 2013; Biodiversity Informatics Horizons 2020 2013) and international events (e.g. Researcher’s Night); d) publish in international scientific journals promoting OL activities (e.g. Frontiers in Marine Science, Biodiversity Data Journal, Zookeys); e) organize educational activities supported by HCMR Educational Unit (EdU) which operates with educational programs for schools (primary and secondary education), workshops for students and teachers, summer lectures, seminars etc. These programs are attended each year by approximately 2000 students. Furthermore, the operation of the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes and especially CretAquarium in Crete, which has more than 250,000 visitors (including 20.000 students) annually, aim to disseminate knowledge of marine research and the innovations produced especially by the HCMR and at the same time raising awareness of the general public. Finally, HCMR has contributed to projects relevant to ocean literacy activities, e.g. PERSEUS, SeaChange, Interreg Balkan-Mediterranean Meltemi, MEDCIS, INDICIT II, ViBRANT.