LOICZ working to support sustainability and adaptation to global change in the coastal zone
Value added by LOICZ to the multiple globally executed individual scientific activities and the scientific community in general is largely in its interdisciplinary capacity. By bringing together leading scientists of a variety of areas in coastal research as part of a regular implementation strategy LOICZ fulfils its mandate to mainstream future scientific directions and to provide a forum for development of cutting edge research questions. This is orchestrated in a way that disciplinary experts are explicitly encouraged to cross traditional boundaries and foster integrative research and concepts on coastal change and human dimensions.
Underlying is the globally recognized and credible framework of Earth system sciences set out by the International Council for Science, ICSU, and the International Social Science Council, ISSC. Embedded in this global research framework LOICZ invites individual, project-based and conceptual scientific contributions. With its scientific priorities it maps strongly onto the priorities and “Grand Challenges” as defined by the “Visioning process” carried out by the ICSU
The LOICZ Scientific Steering Committee is an international group of leading scientific peers representing a multiplicity of natural and social science disciplines. Selected by the scientific sponsors the SSC provides scientific guidance that oversees the development, planning and implementation of LOICZ research.
LOICZ science as outlined in the SPIS in 2005 is organized in core activities usually conducted under the direct leadership and/or supervision of members of the SSC (including occasionally Corresponding Members to this group). In its years to come starting in 2010/11 LOICZ will expand its core activities from ongoing conceptual work on social-ecological systems, biogeochemical fluxes and modelling as well as methodology and application of governance assessments to special coastal domains. These so called “Scientific Hotspots” (SHS) result from broad global exchange and consensus of scientific peers and are considered to be of central societal relevance in the realm of coastal system vulnerability and sustainable development. They are complemented by so called Cross-Cutting Activities addressing overarching topics such as the ecological economics of global change and ecosystem goods and services. Both, hotspots and cross cutting activities are an expression of a continued synthesis and review process in LOICZ reflecting a “Living Science Plan”.
In parallel, a global, interdisciplinary network of scientists and institutions contribute to LOICZ by affiliating their individual research activities to the LOICZ portfolio of contributing projects. Since 1993, this has been a number of over 400 projects including for example the former European Land Ocean Interaction Studies (ELOISE) research cluster of the European Commission. Currently, there are about 50 projects affiliated (see detailed project information). They constitute one of the backbones of LOICZ science in contributing to either one or more of its core research priorities or cross cutting areas. Affiliated projects are an integral part of synthesis contributions to the Earth System Sciences. Since affiliated projects cover a variety of spatial and temporal scales they also provide useful information assisting in the necessary up- and down-scaling of results and knowledge products. In order to invite more strongly young researchers, LOICZ increasingly encourages young scientists to affiliate their academic work if it contributes to the LOICZ directions. All activities are complemented by strong efforts aimed at advanced capacity building and training as well as by targeted partnership-based working groups addressing very specific questions.
In summary LOICZ scientific work is being implemented through a variety of mechanisms:
- Agenda setting and mainstreaming cutting edge scientific directions and questions – the LOICZ niche
- Designing, promoting and supporting targeted LOICZ research activities (largely in form of the core (Hotspots) and cross cutting activities)
- Designing and implementing targeted or open scientific workshops and congresses to work on a specific question or a subset of those along the LOICZ scientific priorities
- Clustering and synthesizing existing or proposed scientific research activities on local, national regional and global scale primarily through the network of affiliated projects
- Encouraging and promoting as well as supporting, scientific synthesis
- Disseminating, and communicating scientific results and knowledge products
- Capacity building and training
- Congresses and workshops