IMBeR Science Plan and Implementation Strategy (SPIS)

The IMBeR Science Plan and Implementation Strategy (SPIS 2016-2025) is based on the vision “Ocean sustainability under global change for the benefit of society” with the goal to: “Understand, quantify and compare historic and present structure and functioning of linked ocean and human systems to predict options for securing or transitioning towards ocean sustainability”. The SPIS is structured around three Grand Challenges and four Innovation Challenges supported by a number of research and societal questions. You can see the full SPIS here: IMBeR SPIS 2016-2025.

Since IMBeR’s midterm review process which concluded in 2022, the Science Plan is now primarily focussed around nine Priority Research Objectives, three under each of the Grand Challenges, listed below, and expanded in more detail on subsequent pages.


Grand Challenge I

Understanding and quantifying the state and variability of marine ecosystems

Champion: Alice NewtonDongyan Liu and Nina Bednaršek

Deputy Co-Champion: Wen-Chen Chou

Grand Challenge I Fact Sheet  CurrentPrevious

Priority Research Objectives

  1. Stressors-combined effects
  2. Climate change and variability
  3. Impacts on society – preparation for a changed future

Learn more

Grand Challenge II

Improving scenarios, predictions and projections of future ocean-human systems at multiple scales

New Champions and Team Coming Soon

Grand Challenge II Fact Sheet  Current | Previous

Priority Research Objectives

  1. Development of integrated data systems and approaches for predictions and projections
  2. Development of predictive models and projections for use at regional scales
  3. Development of alternative scenarios to bridge the gap between physical climate sciences and humanities

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Grand Challenge III

Improving and achieving sustainable ocean governance

Led by Derek Armitage and Micaela Trimble

Deputy Co-Champion: Marta Ballesteros

Grand Challenge III Fact Sheet   Current | Previous

Priority Research Objectives

  1. Develop knowledge on best practices for multilevel governance approaches to ocean climate adaptation and mitigation
  2. Develop understanding on key ingredients for transformation towards more sustainable, equitable and inclusive governance approaches to fisheries and aquaculture
  3. Support implementation of post-2020 biodiversity targets for marine spatial planning, marine protected areas

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Innovation Challenges

Innovation challenges supplement the Grand Challenges and focus on new topics where research is needed and where it is believed major achievements can be made within five years. The current Innovation Challenges (IC) are:

IC3: To Advance Understanding of Ecological Feedback in the Earth System; led by Eugene Murphy

IC4: To Advance and Improve the Use of Social Science Data for Ocean Management, Decision Making and Policy Development; led by Andrea Belgrano and Nireka Weeratunge

IC5: Interventions to change the course of climate impacts; led by Nina Bednaršek

IC6: Sustainable management of Blue Carbon ecosystems; led by Tiziana Luisetti and A’an Johan Wahyudi

Previous Science Plans

The original IMBER Science Plan and Implementation Strategy built on the IGBP/SCOR Framework for Future Research on Biological and Chemical Aspects of Global Change in the Ocean, and input from the OCEANS Open Science Conference that was held in Paris, France in 2003. The ideas from these were woven into a framework of four themes, each with a series of issues and priority questions that formed the basis of the IMBER Science Plan.

The supplement to the original IMBER Science Plan and Implementation Strategy was commissioned by IGBP and SCOR to facilitate the successful merger of the ongoing GLOBEC regional programmes into IMBER. IMBER _supplement.pdf