Special Session 9 (SS9):

Special Session 9 (SS9):

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:30am-12:00 pm

Science and Policy: UN, Sustainable Development and Oceans

Location:                             Tikahtnu Ballroom A

Convener/Organizer/Speaker:       Francesco Maurelli, Jacobs University Bremen and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 Email address of Convener          f.maurelli@nullieee.org

 Session Format:              Presentation and Discussion

Attendance:             Open to all registered for OCEANS’17 and those with Exhibit Only Pass

 Session Description:

Science and research are actively influenced by policies, from local up to national and international government bodies. This is reflected not only by the budget devoted to research activities, but also on roadmaps and priorities.

On September 25th 2015, at the UN headquarters, countries around the world adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. These goals are therefore called the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. Oceans sustainability is one of the 17 global goals, towards which each member state needs to show a significant advancement. The specific targets related to Oceans span from pollution reduction to protection of coastal areas, to sustainable exploitation of marine resources, to transfer of marine technology. Marine systems, ranging from conventional vessels up to autonomous and semi-autonomous systems can play a very important role in achieving these goals, both in terms of data collection and monitoring, but also intervention.

The aim of this session is to present the current work at the UN related to Oceans and sustainability, explain the way for both students and senior professionals to get involved in the process, and to actively discuss the contributions that the IEEE / MTS Oceans scientific community can bring to the UN Oceans activities. Outcomes from the UN Multi-stakeholders forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (May 2017), as well as the UN Oceans Conference (June 2017) will be presented and discussed.

The intended audience ranges from students to academics to industry representatives, interested in sustainability and in framing their work into a bigger picture. In addition of being a great personal and professional experience, contributing to shape the policies at UN levels may lead to exposure of the longer-term impact in the environment and in the overall society more in general. Additionally, member states policies (and therefore the related budgets) are often associated to the States’ commitments at international level, as they have to regularly report on the goals’ achievements. A proper advocacy on the importance of marine technology in this framework may also result in concrete R&D, and innovation opportunities.

The presentation will make use of a projector and will show short videos. This session is cross- technology, and cross-position, therefore any OCEANS’17 attendee from the student level up to established professional, in any ocean- related field can take advantage of this and become more active in science policy, and consider sustainability aspects in their work and research.


Agenda Topics




Sustainable Development Goals is Why I Joined the United Nations Association Student Chapter, LGME 2015

Sustainable Development Goals, Routledge 2017



Francesco Maurelli

Jacobs University Bremen – Research I

Assistant Professor in Marine Systems

Campus Ring 1

28759 Bremen, Germany


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Scholar, Marine Robotics Group – CSAIL

77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States


+1 415 9007213



Short bio:

Francesco Maurelli is a passionate scientist dedicated to marine systems and marine robotics. His main research interests are related to reliable systems for autonomous navigation, world representation and fault management. He has started to get active in the UN system a few years ago, with ICMYO – International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations, and MGCY – Major Group of Children and Youth, which represent the voice of youth at the UN. He has therefore started to look at science in the UN system, and has actively followed the activities related to SDG14 Oceans, also co-organizing the side event “Staying Afloat: Building Resilience in a Changing World (using Oceans as a Case Study)”, during the STI forum 2017.