The Project

Metrology for Integrated Marine Management and Knowledge-Transfer Network

MINKE is an INFRAIA project that brings together 16 key European marine metrology research infrastructures to coordinate their use and development and propose an innovative framework of ‘quality of oceanographic data’ for the different European actors in charge of monitoring and managing the EOVs (Essential Ocean Variables) and marine ecosystems.

Data quality is the key element in Ocean & Coastal Observing Systems to provide reliable measurements for developing evidence-based environmental policies. MINKE doesn’t just address data quality but also focuses on all data quality dimensions, with a special emphasis on those related to metrological factors. The project proposes a new vision in the design of marine monitoring networks, integrating two dimensions of data quality, namely accuracy and completeness, as the driving components of quality in data acquisition.

In fact, this new vision will create an optimal metrological framework: a combined system integrating the information provided from:

  1. The selection of few ‘key’ points for regular monitoring, prioritising the use of top-level instrumentation to maximise the measurements’ accuracy.
  2. The attempt to cover all the potential points of measurement, with the implicit use of low-cost observational systems, maximising the completeness of the dataset.


Project Vision

MINKE Research Infrastructures

MINKE Research Infrastructures

In an ideal scenario, a monitoring programme would provide the highest data quality, maximising both the accuracy and completeness of the required dataset. However, this ideal case is unviable because of the implicit cost of deploying and maintaining such a high-completeness (dense) network of sampling stations with high-accuracy and usually expensive instruments.

Data quality approach

Data quality approach

The two metrological data quality dimensions (accuracy and completeness)

MINKE’s new vision will be framed within a quintuple helix model of innovation, incorporating the natural environmental context (ocean health), civil society (NGO, makers community, social media and citizen science platforms), academia, industry and governments as the factors involved in monitoring the network design.

Quintuple Helix and Integrative Activities

5 Helix Model of Innovation

Main activities of the proposal (NA, TNA-VA and JRA) linked with the quintuple helix model of innovation


MINKE will provide these different actors involved with easy access to the high-quality services and resources needed to develop innovative and ethical solutions for ocean health and thus efficient management of marine resources, and to improve the overall EOV measurement quality. MINKE will:

  • Consolidate a European network of sparse accurate reference sensors for the accuracy-based metrology approach;
  • Consolidate a European network of dense low-cost instruments for the completeness-based metrology approach;
  • Offer advanced data fusion and integration tools to integrate the measurements from these two networks to produce the optimal data products (time series, dynamic maps, large-scale integrated data products) for the parameters of interest;

Build a unified platform to connect all the different actors involved in the process (civil society, academia, industry, government) and to promote research and training in marine metrology in Europe.

Specific objectives

As an INFRAIA project, networking, transnational-virtual access and joint research are the main activities that aim to lay the groundwork for creating the necessary synergies among the different involved actors in the quintuple helix innovation model. MINKE will define the following objectives with each INFRAIA activity:

At the networking level, MINKE will mainly:

  • Allow for better use of existing Research Infrastructures (RIs) and stimulate collaboration across research fields, production systems and national borders.
  • Provide a system for harmonised and optimised access to state-of-the-art marine RIs, including those linked with citizen science (through transnational or virtual access).
  • Develop and implement a TNA-VA programme that places MINKE RIs at the core of addressing key European research challenges in a coordinated way.

At the joint research level, this project will:

  • Improve the information quality for EOVs and the cost/benefit ratio of the marine monitoring services provided by MINKE RIs.
  • Provide the state-of-the-art data fusion techniques to offer the best data products by combining different types of data flows generated by MINKE RIs.
  • Provide case studies on how the collaboration between the metrology community and the oceanographic community can lead to an improvement in data reliability and therefore better data use and exploitation to address pressing issues related to climate-driven and natural variability and ocean health.

At the transnational and virtual access level, MINKE will promote key EU marine calibration and experimental facilities and participatory platforms to:

  • Provide the academic and private sectors with effective and convenient access to the 16 MINKE key research infrastructures for marine observation research.
  • Reach out to new users by broadly publicising the calls for access and promoting equal opportunities (e.g., Southern and Eastern European countries).
  • Select TNA-VA applications according to their excellence, feasibility and scientific priorities and abide by the principles of transparency, fairness and impartiality.

MINKE reports to INFRAIA-02-2020: Integrating Activities for Starting Communities. The consortium is made up of 22 organisations from Europe and South America and will last from April 2021 until March 2025.