The Digital Ocean Forum 2023 took place on the 15th of June in Brussels and brought together marine scientists, numerical modellers, ocean experts, policymakers, and citizens interested in the co-design and co-creation of the European Digital Twin of the Ocean (EU DTO).
The EU DTO, announced by President von der Leyen at the One Ocean Summit in Brest, in February 2022, is a key deliverable of the EU Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters. Its purpose is to provide society with actionable knowledge and to support daily decisions and planning, to ensure a healthier and more sustainable ocean.
The Digital Ocean Forum 2023 was an opportunity to showcase the role of the EU DTO in addressing challenges, such as the marine implications of climate change or biodiversity loss. The event facilitated collaboration among diverse stakeholders, engaging all in thoughtful discussions about ethical considerations and identifying potential avenues for utilizing digital twins to tackle various pressing ocean issues. The contribution of the EU DTO to decision-making processes was also discussed with the aim of fostering a more sustainable blue economy.
The development of the EU DTO core infrastructure had been entrusted to the main operators of the Copernicus Marine Service and European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet), respectively Mercator Ocean International and the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), through the EDITO-Infra project. Its sister project, EDITO-Model Lab, was also part of this endeavor, with the responsibility to develop the next generation of ocean numerical models by combining artificial intelligence and high-performance computing to provide access to focus applications and simulations of different what-if scenarios.
During the Digital Ocean Forum 2023, Francisco HERNANDEZ Technical Director of VLIZ and coordinator of the EDITO-Infra spoke on the results of the workshops that took place the previous day in Brussels involving stakeholders from the marine research community across many themes. This exercise was the kickoff event in the co-design process of the EDITO project. The co-design process will work hard to ensure that the EDITO technology will have relevance to the widest group of stakeholders possible, while still being focused on specific technical goals of EDITO.