The RITMARE project is organised into seven sub-projects, the objectives of which are summarised below:
SP1. Maritime Technologies. The economic growth of Italy depends on certain crucial aspects of the maritime and shipbuilding sectors: sustainable transport, energy efficiency, the quality of products (including food) “Made in Italy”, employment, safety, tourism and environmental quality. Meeting these challenges means increasing Italian competitiveness in the production of large cargo ships, cruise ships and yachts. This objective can be achieved only via innovation in materials and the use of ICT, and by increasing the energy efficiency, life-cycle, safety and comfort of vessels. Envisaged in the sub-Project is the building of a prototype research ship with which to test highly innovative technologies.
SP2. Technologies for Sustainable Fishing. The Italian fishing fleet and annual catch are the biggest in the Mediterranean. In order to maintain and enhance this leadership position while respecting the principles of environmental sustainability and maritime safety, systems for locating and quantifying fish resources are urgently needed, together with a new generation of observation systems and fishing equipment.
SP3. Planning of the Maritime Space in Coastal Waters. For Italy, surrounded by 8,500 km of coastline, effective planning of the maritime space and sustainable management of coastal waters have become indispensable. This in turn requires central and local administrations with valid decision support systems. RITMARE envisages the development of multiple technologies designed to achieve effective planning of the maritime space and sustainable management of coastal waters. This requires knowledge of how the situation evolve in the short and long and of the processes and the quality of the environmental matrices. In addition however, it requires expertise in decision support systems – the implementation of which must also take account of socio-economic considerations – for central and local government. The Project also developes integrated approaches to advanced monitoring, coastal risk early warning systems, rapid response to both natural and anthropic events and the mitigation of impacts.
SP4. Planning of the Deep Marine Environment and the Open Sea. Deep marine environments hold a rich potential for the economy of the future. Indispensable for an adequate assessment of this potential is a knowledge of their chemical, physical and biological characteristics, in order to verify any risks and the feasibility of ecosustainable exploitation of both geological and biological resources. For this reason, for the first time in Italy, a systematic mapping and census of natural risk and the potential for exploitation of geo-resources has been carried out. Technologies also are developed for the assessment and mitigation of human impacts on the seabed and research into deep-water biological communities is enhanced, taking account of the use of goods and services (Blue Technologies).
SP5. Observation System for the Marine Mediterranean Environment. The integrated observation system set up as part of the RITMARE Project represents a decisive contribution by Italy to the European strategy for research infrastructure. The system is based on the development of a network of fixed sites in key areas of the Mediterranean, remote observation techniques, the reorganisation of current observational and operational capacities, and equipment that enable observations and measurements on the seabed or in the water column in the deepest parts of the Mediterranean, which still constitute an unexplored frontier. The resulting technological development open the doors to new markets for innovative industrial products Made in Italy.
SP6. Research, Training and Dissemination Structures. The success of RITMARE depends on its capacity to disseminate the results attained, train new generations of professionals and to equip Italy with efficient and shared research infrastructure. For this to happen it is essential that the structures where research is conducted and marine scientists are trained are brought up to date. RITMARE provides incentives for the construction or expansion of shared laboratories in the strategic sectors of marine science. Particular attention is paid to the dissemination of project’s results, among the research community, marine enterprises and ordinary citizens, with the objective, in the latter case, of enhancing the perception of the marine environment as a resource. Also envisaged are dissemination activities for public administrations in order to promote the databases and the decision support systems arising from the Project’s activities.
SP7. Interoperable Infrastructure for the Observation Network and Marine Data. The objective of the sub-project is to provide an accessible and interoperable information infrastructure for the storage, distribution, access, use and web processing of data and Project deliverables. An adequate infrastructure has been designed and created in the light of experience, European directives (INSPIRE, SPI, MFSD, GMES, WFD, Fisheries Directive) and global initiatives (GEO/GEOSS). Emphasis also is placed on a clear definition of policies regarding access to the data, its distribution and sharing, in order to ensure the adequate flow of data for the needs of the Project and the recognition of the intellectual property rights of individuals and institutions.
A RITMARE stakeholders' forum is also set up, facilitating contacts between the participants in the Project and the main stakeholders for the discussion of new technological developments; the planning and management of maritime space; and the prevention and management of environmental risk. It also facilitates discussion and analysis of specific problems on which to test the new production methods or intervention approaches.