Project Overview

The Atlantic Action Plan aims to revitalize the Marine and Maritime Economy, recommending closer collaboration among member states such as to set up sustainable strategies for natural resources exploitation while promoting innovation and regional strategies that secure and enhance the marine and coastal environments.

The European Atlantic Region (EAR) has the largest potential for “blue growth” due to, among others, its size, maritime tradition, and vast deep-sea areas available for exploitation.

The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) set up tools to monitor and forecast marine systems at the oceanic scale, foreseeing the subsequent development of innovative services by regional/local actors, oriented to the development of solutions at regional/local scales able to support authorities and investors.

This project aims to downscale CMEMS products and to combine the conventional monitoring programmes with emerging technologies such as gliders, ocean buoys and satellite data, to develop tailor-made and innovative products.

The latter should:
  • Assist the MSFD competent authorities;
  • Provide services at regional/local scales necessary to enhance the blue economy development;
  • Contribute to the challenges posed by climate change;
  • Provide tools for the optimisation of observing strategies for better forecasting;
  • Capitalise on individual partner initiatives and historical data based on an EAR perspective.
Common Challenge

The European Atlantic Area is specific for its extent and especially for having a narrow continental shelf and extensive deep areas. Hence, the influence of large-scale ocean circulation/dynamics extends almost up to the shore-line. Furthermore, its great surface area hinders detailed in situ characterization/ monitoring due to its extremely high costs involved (24% of total EU waters for 12% of total population).

The implementation of the MSFD is therefore, very challenging, particularly if the objective is to extend periodic monitoring programs to off#shore waters. Remote sensing and modelling have been recognised by the CMEMS as suitable methodologies to characterise the global ocean both for nowcast and forecast. iFADO aims to demonstrate that similar strategies are valid at the regional scale and that downscaling is the most suitable mechanism to generate the required solutions and that new technologies are able to provide data in higher quantity, with wider spatial coverage and for remote marine areas. Institutions in charge of the implementation of the MSFD experience great difficulty in monitoring extensive areas.

At the same time, it is those institutions that have more potential to both acquire/access in situ/historical local data necessary for validation. For these reasons, they have been included as Associate Partners, becoming the first generation of users of the system and important disseminators near marine economic actors.

Transnational Approach

In order to successfully tackle the major difficulties arising from the MSFD implementation, the project iFADO shall aggregate ocean information for the EU Atlantic region ensuring the comparability of assessment approaches and methods.

Furthermore, it shall develop/present technical specifications and standardized methods that shall assure at the end, the best representation of ocean circulation and dynamics amongst all regions.

Additionally it will foster consistent, coherent and coordinated programmes avoiding effort duplication, while taking into account emerging issues such as climate change and the transboundary effects on the quality of the marine environment. iFADO modelling and Remote Sensing (RS) components shall cover the whole North Atlantic Area. In situ and historical data (made available by the Associated Partners and/or by other running transnational monitoring campaigns) shall also be considered as input for the project.

Ocean gliders and other sensors owned by the partners shall be used for in situ data validation. Furthermore, iFADO shall create synergies with current EU-flag-ship projects related to Ocean Observation (e.g. AtlantOS), bringing loosely-coordinated sets of existing Ocean Observing activities to a sustainable, efficient, and fit-forpurpose Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System (IAOOS). The project shall also enhance the role of existing regional working groups such as IBIROOS and ICES working groups.

Technologies Collaboration

The iFADO partnership, involving 20 partners, will foster the regional quadruple helix cooperation including public sector, university/research centres, enterprise and end-users to ensure that the designed products meet the market needs and are sustainable after the project lifetime.

The iFADO project is looking for companies interested in testing their developments on open waters conditions (i.e. cruises or the consortium platforms) and that will gain visibility to the monitoring institutions and policy-making organisations. This visibility will be reinforced through the project webpage ( and social media (twitter: @AAiFADO, Facebook: @AAiFADO; LinkedIn: iFADO; vimeo: iFADO). The collaboration will be formalised by a common simplified Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) .

The project is open for collaboration with other institutions/projects that are currently performing monitoring activities in the Atlantic waters in order to provide visibility to their activities and to share methodologies for indicators calculation.

The project is trying to involve citizens to obtain more effective ways to collect data in offshore waters by promoting the use of existing mobile apps for ocean data collection with special focus in the sailing for pleasure community. Citizens will also be approached by ocean literacy events in the five participant countries.

Long-Term Effects

The iFADO project is in line with the objectives determined by the European Action Plan for the Atlantic, and with the strategy of CMEMS to address the scales of the marine systems.

iFADO builds on the most recent technologies for data gathering and processing, being very well suited for providing services to agents interested in investing in blue economy.

Project partners are expected to improve their skills and provide services to the national authorities and to participate in international forums and networks such as IBI-ROOS and ICES SSGIEOM Working Group. iFADO implementation shall also improve the European capacity to export services worldwide using this application as a demonstration case study, thus contributing to the economy of the Atlantic Region, the success of Copernicus Programme and the European Space Strategy.

In fact, the needs of the Atlantic Europe are common to all the oceanic margins around the world and the CMEMS service and the ESA products are available for the whole world. The iFADO project shall also create synergies amongst the different scientific community and the competent authorities. The project shall support associated research while enhancing the incorporation of scientific and technological developments in the research, development and management policies.

The new in situ data to develop satellite products will enrich European initiatives as the CMEMS service and EMODnet with Atlantic-tailored products.

Gender Equality

Non-discrimination and gender equality has been considered in all stages of proposal preparation, starting from the project idea, the consortium creation and the first phase EOI, and will be continued during the implementation phase until the project completion.

The iFADO consortium is gender balanced with women playing key responsibility roles in the promotion of the proposal, coordination and management activities as well as in the Working Package leadership and associated technical activities.

The coordination team will promote gender equality practices within and outside the consortium and will assure and report their application