Future Ocean Network

Understanding the ocean — sustaining our future

The ocean. It covers more than two thirds of our planet and therefore plays a pivotal role in achieving the sustainable future of humanity. How does the ocean control climate and environment at transitions of warming? How can living and non-living ocean resources be exploited in a sustainable or low impact manner by striking an appropriate balance between ocean use and ocean protection?


Marine scientists from the Future Ocean Network are addressing these and other questions. The Future Ocean Network is an association of Kiel researchers who, as successors to the "Future Ocean" Cluster of Excellence, are jointly implementing research projects that contribute to the sustainable use of ocean resources on an interdisciplinary and cross-institutional basis. These include, in particular, activities for the targeted transfer of research results to stakeholders from various interest groups including politics, business and civil society as well as joint concepts for the promotion of young scientists.

Building on the scientific results and established structures of the Cluster of Excellence "Future Ocean", the Kiel research agenda will continue to be developed in the future and geared to the needs of society with regard to the ocean. The aim is to link science even more closely with society, with aspects in the context of the ocean-human relations and the sustainable development of the ocean and coastal zones. The aim is to further sharpen integrative marine research beyond the boundaries of disciplines and institutes. Organizationally, the Future Ocean Network is part of the priority research area Kiel Marine Science (KMS) at the Kiel University.

The Kiel location has unique expertise in Germany, ranging from scientific ocean and coastal research to engineering, humanities and social sciences. In recent years, this broad interdisciplinary research has led to internationally acclaimed scientific results.

Integrative research in the Future Ocean Network
The foundations for the overarching research topics of the Kiel marine researchers have been laid in more than ten years in the Cluster of Excellence "Future Ocean", funded by the German Research Foundation on behalf of the Federal Government and the Länder as part of the Excellence Initiative. At that time, the Future Ocean Network had begun to investigate the changes of the ocean and its coasts with more than 250 researchers from eight faculties of Kiel University(CAU) and the partner institutions GEOMAR Helmholtz-Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design with a multidisciplinary approach and in a unique breadth: In addition to the physical, chemical biological and geological ocean sciences, researchers from economics, law, sociology, philosophy, theology, history, geography, nanosciences, medicine, mathematics, computer science, engineering, life sciences, politics and arts are still involved today.

The research topics in the years after 2012 were built on the results of the first funding phase (2006-2011). In the first funding period, the main objective was to gain a better understanding of the fundamental processes at sea in various research projects. The aim was to research ocean change and reassess the risks and opportunities. In the funding phase 2012-2017, the focus was on a stronger interdisciplinary understanding of the ocean system. The fundamental understanding of the ocean should lead to scientifically sound predictions and scenarios in order to contribute - in close dialogue with decision-makers - to a sustainable management of the ocean. With the Future Ocean Network, we are building on this mission and want to make a decisive contribution to maintain the transdisciplinary research agenda.

Partner institutions
Kiel University, Kiel Marine Science Centre for Interdisciplinary Marine Science
GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design