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What is SPICOSA?

The Integrated Project SPICOSA was funded by the EU´s Sixth Framework Programme and took off in February 2007.It aims to develop and test a self-evolving, holistic research approach for the assessment of policy options for the sustainable management of Coastal Zone (CZ) systems. It is thus of high relevance to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and other related European policies.

The initiative is based on the insight that policy has not been able to respond effectively enough to human pressures on the coastal environment. A more innovative, thorough approach is needed to treat the coastal zone as an integral functioning system (the CZ System) and to focus more on providing prognostic information to decision makers on how a CZ system might respond to sustainable technical options or management strategies.

The methodological product of the project is called the Systems Approach Framework (SAF). It is based on an adaptation of the Systems Approach that incorporates the ecological, social and economic dimensions of the coastal zones together with emerging concepts on system complexity. The SAF is designed to be readily updateable, to provide an accumulative knowledge base for wider and more complex applications, and to contribute to a growing understanding the options and actions necessary for the transition to sustainable development.

Who are we?

54 institutions from all across Europe are united in the SPICOSA partnership, representing national research institutes, universities, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the Joint Research Centre(JRC) and the NGO EUCC Mediterranean Centre.

What are we doing?

Six main objectives are guiding the SPICOSA initiative:

  • To create an operational Systems Approach Framework (SAF) for assessments of policy alternatives in Coastal Zone Systems
  • To establish a working science-policy interface and qualify and quantify complex systems, in order that the SAF is scientifically credible and operationally functional
  • To implement and test the SAF over eighteen diverse Study Site Applications throughout the European region
  • To generate an SAF Portfolio consisting of generic assessment-methodologies, decision-support tools, models, and new knowledge useful for ICZM
  • To improve the Communication and Integration among the main actors and infrastructures of coastal zone systems that promote Sustainable Development
  • To enhance new opportunities for academic and professional training in ICZM. See SETnet platform.

What are the Study Sites?

We have chosen eighteen Study Site Applications (SSAs) all over Europe to test and perfect the System Approach Framework, SAF methodology at various sites such that its operational use is not limited to any specific policy issue, socio-economic condition, or coastal zone type.

Figure: SPICOSA Study Site Applications (SSAs)

How are we organised?

Management structure

In order that Spicosa can make best use of its internal and of external expertise, we have designed the following management structure:

  • SPICOSA secretariate: daily operation , located in Brest (France)
  • Executive Coordination Board: Board composed of the three coordinators and the five node coordinators with the ultimate responsibility for all major decisions and for ensuring that the objectives, work plans, and deliverables are satisfactorily executed.
  • Scientific Steering Committee: Board consisting of all coordinators and Work Package leaders with the responsibility for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the research function of the project.
  • External Scientific Review Panel: A review panel of five international (non-European) experts to review the work plans, the achievements and the governance of the project to assess its overall effectiveness in reaching its objectives.
  • End Users Advisory Panel: A review panel of about ten representatives from major organisations or networks representing typical endusers involved in Spicosa activities.

Research Structure

The primary activity unit is that of a Work Package. These are clustered into functional Nodes. Each of the Project’s five nodes is differentiated by functional distinctions based on differences in objectives, deliverables, and scheduling.

Figure: SPICOSA Research structure (click to enlarge)
  • Node 1 produces reference material in the areas of social assessments, deliberation support tools, and methodology for economic evaluation that will serve the objectives of Systems Approach Framework (SAF) development and science-policy interfacing.
  • Node 2 is in charge of SAF development. It is implemented by forming working groups to produce methodological frameworks.
  • Under Node 3, 18 Study Sites have been selected to develop an application of the SAF in an interactive manner with local stakeholders.
  • Node 4 provides support and services to the whole SPICOSA community, in particular model support, internal and external information management, and an assessment of alternative strategies for Integrated Coastal Zone Management.
  • Node 5 concerns knowledge transfer activities, both academic and professional training.