Citizens can help enhance safety in the Baltic Sea

7 Jun 2016

Ordinary citizens can be of great help in improving maritime safety. A new, innovative solution by the ESABALT project of BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme, enables leisure boaters to make observations and reports about human activity and interactions with nature. The project is an important first step in crowdsourcing applications that have yet to be examined in more detail in the Baltic Sea setting.   

“Our project allows ordinary citizens to become both collectors and users of valuable data while at sea. The data collected can also help in preventing accidents and other dangerous situations,” says Professor Heidi Kuusniemi, the coordinator of the BONUS ESABALT project, from the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute. 

The other twelve ongoing BONUS innovation projects seek to develop new methods to evaluate water quality, create robotic fish sensors to monitor fish passages and enhance phosphorus recycling, for instance. Altogether 52 research institutions representing the Baltic Sea EU coastal states participate in the BONUS innovation projects. Finnish researchers participate in eight of these projects.  

“The BONUS programme combines research and eco-innovation and by doing so supports blue growth based on sustainable development. We encourage more SMEs to join us in supporting the protection of the Baltic Sea next year when further innovation projects funded by BONUS will start,” says Dr Kaisa Kononen, Executive Director of BONUS.  

Active citizen science has an important role to play in environmental decision-making processes and as part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. BONUS is funded jointly by national research funding institutions in the eight EU member states around the Baltic Sea and the European Union. Russia participates in BONUS through bilateral agreements. In Finland, BONUS projects are funded by the Academy of Finland, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency.  

BONUS' vision is to create long-term, multidisciplinary research cooperation that will produce sound knowledge to support the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the EU Blue Growth Strategy and national, regional and European-wide policies.  

The BONUS programme is based on a co-decision of the EU Parliament and the EU Council. BONUS is funded by its members, by national research funding institutions and under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration. Its total budget is 100 million euros for 2011–2017.

More information

  • BONUS ESABALT, Heidi Kuusniemi,, +358 40 653 2228
  • BONUS Executive Director Kaisa Kononen,, +358 40 581 1189
  • communications:, +358 40 649 3108,, +358 40 352 0076
  • BONUS:, BONUS innovation projects:
  • BONUS projects’ website:

Academy of Finland Communications
Niina Kellinsalmi
+358 295 335 062

Last modified 7 Jun 2016
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