Photo: Niklas Björling
Photo: Niklas Björling

The challenges facing the Baltic Sea demand collaboration. The EU has taken note of this with a BONUS-call (Joint Baltic Sea Research Programme), a programme that is part of the EU’s Baltic Sea strategy. What changes are affecting the Baltic Sea’s biodiversity and how should they be managed? These are some of the questions researchers are trying to answer through the project “BIO-C3: Biodiversity changes: causes, consequences and management implications.” The project, led by the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Germany in cooperation with 12 other institutions, is now in its third year.

“We study the importance of biodiversity for the Baltic. A central question is how species are adapting to climate changes. The research concerns the interactions between different levels in the food chain, as well as the effects on diversity of eutrophication and fisheries.  The findings will be used to improve our management of the Baltic Sea”, says Monika Winder, project coordinator, Stockholm University.

Good ideas are key

Concrete solutions to the challenges that face the Baltic Sea are an important part of the BONUS programme. So, there are certain things to consider for those who are applying for funds. The projects are large and need strong ties to administration and applied research.

“You need a substantial goal and an interdisciplinary approach. It is essential that all proposals have clear objectives and good methods. Emphasize what is new in the project, its innovative aspects, and explain why the research is important. At the same time, you need to show that you have the resources and knowledge to realise the project”, says Monika Winder.

The final deadline for the latest BONUS programme grants was in March. Monika Winder seeks funding for a research project focusing on the interactions between organisms that live in sediment and those living in water. Monika Winder is the coordinator for this project which has seven collaborators.

“It’s really fascinating working with international partners, but it does take time to coordinate. A new grant would be a big responsibility, but also a chance to work with more partners and a potential for top-notch scientific research on the Baltic Sea”, she says.

BONUS – Research programme focusing on the Baltic Sea

BONUS is an international research programme with a focus on the Baltic Sea’s environment and social development. The EU contributes up to 50 percent of the financing, with the rest coming from research funding agencies in the participating countries: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The most recent call for application was the third and the largest so far, with a budget of 30 M EUR and 11 different thematic areas.

Text: Anna-Karin Landin