ICES is an inter-governmental organization, formed of over 3,000 scientists, that provides advice to support the sustainable use of the oceans.

Anna Davies works at ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) as a conference and training coordinator. She coordinates ICES’ annual conference and training programme. The courses offered by ICES are aimed at scientists at various stages of their careers, with topics over recent years including stock assessment and communication science. Scott Large is a professional officer for advisory services at ICES. He helps provide scientific advice for national and international decision-making bodies on marine issues throughout the North Atlantic.

Anna uses the BlueBRIDGE VREs to support scientific trainings, while Scott is leveraging some of the tools offered. by the VREs to speed up some of ICES’ processes to provide advice to governments and international regulatory bodies.

We asked them to talk about their experience with BlueBRIDGE services and how the VREs they are using help them in their daily work.  

Good morning Anna, good morning Scott. Can you tell us which BlueBRIDGE services are you using or are going to use in the following months?
Scott: We are using the stock assessment services to facilitate some of the more data intensive processes that we have at ICES.
Anna: For the ICES training programme, we have been making use of the virtual research environments to provide an online space where educators and trainees can share information and perform the data analysis and experiments required by the course.

Scott, regarding stock assessment, what are the main challenges that BlueBRIDGE will help you to solve?
ICES is in a unique situation. We provide advice on over 225 stocks and each stock is a little bit different, so coming up with a coordinated approach to assess stock is a challenge. One of the advantages of BlueBRIDGE is  that we can utilize some of the cloud computing and e-infrastructure services that it offers to try to speed up some of these processes, to streamline them and to make everything more transparent and clear for every actor involved in the process.

Have you ever used VREs before BlueBRIDGE? How did you find that approach?
No, I haven’t used VREs before BlueBRIDGE. About the approach, I think that most people who can navigate on Facebook, can also figure out how to use a VRE.

Anna, coming back to the training, we know that some training courses have been perfomed so far exploiting VREs. What were the most used facilities?
It depends on the type of training course.  Some of our courses were very social science based, which means that they made more use of the communication tools and more use of the  “fan page” which is, as Scott said, a little bit like Facebook, where you can communicate, talk, comment, like each other’s posts. Some training courses were more technical, for example stock assessment advance, which made use of the computational power that’s behind the virtual research environment and of the data anlytics tools.