The European Network of Marine Stations

Strategic Plan Highlights

Supporting a decade of Marine Science in Europe and beyond


The vision of MARS is for a network of connected marine stations across Europe, which are well-positioned to meet the future scientific and societal challenges for the marine environment from the national to the global level.


A key goal of MARS is to promote the national and international importance of marine stations with an increased international focus for MARS being of particular importance by

  • providing a forum for the directors of marine stations,
  • providing an important avenue to feed into European and international marine policy related to marine research funding and broader strategic issues,
  • highlighting and promotes the importance of marine stations at a time when our seas and oceans are under more pressure than ever before.
  • focussing on international networking towards the development of the World Association of Marine Stations (WAMS), and
  • facilitating capacity building, mobility and training through financial support.


The core values of MARS are:

  • Collaboration: this is at the heart of MARS as it ensures there is a voice for its members and a support network for marine stations
  • Inclusivity: MARS has an ethos of low membership fees in order to encourage as wide a membership as possible.
  • Flexibility: the scientific and societal drivers are constantly changing. We must be constantly evolving and adapting to meet emerging challenges.
  • Advocacy: We should be speaking up on the importance of marine science and the marine environment and on the unique function of marine stations


Within 5 years the organisation aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • To broaden the focus of MARS so it has wide representation beyond just core EU so it is well-connected internationally, principally via WAMS
  • To be the network for directors (or appropriate representatives) of marine stations to be able to support one another by, for example, identifying sustainable financial operational models
  • to provide a coordinated voice for marine science into the policy arena
  • to provide an ‘umbrella function’ for other networks
  • to support other ad-hoc activities as they arise (e.g. promoting stations as maintainers of valuable long-term biological time-series)

Key indicators

Achievement of the objectives will be measured using the following key indicators:

  • Increased MARS membership both in terms of absolute numbers and expanded geographical coverage
  • Well attended bi-annual meetings for marine directors
  • Increased profile for the work of marine stations (as reported by the stations themselves)
  • Improved financial position for MARS
  • WAMS to be a functioning active entity
  • A ‘world congress of marine directors’ to be held in 2020