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MOSES was an EU multinational research project involving eight partners representing the five member states of the Atlantic Area. The multinational partners of MOSES (universities, marine research institutions, and regional bodies) include representatives from France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In the last decade, Europe’s ocean economy has received increasing policy attention, as evidenced in the publication and ongoing implementation of the EU’s Blue Growth Strategy, the Atlantic Strategy and its Action Plan, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, among others. These initiatives are all aimed at fostering the sustainable development of the EU’s marine resources.

The impact of current and potential human activities on marine and coastal ecosystems will therefore be a key determinant of ocean health and of the benefits received through ecosystem goods and services. With this in mind, the objective of MOSES was to examine the Blue Growth path for sustainable development of the major sectors operating in the Atlantic space as envisaged by the Atlantic Plan. This project built on the EU Interreg IV Marnet project by examining the growth achieved in the marine sectors across the Atlantic Arc. The project also focused on examining the environmental pressures and impacts from the growing sectors and possible transition paths to sustainable blue growth.

The MOSES case studies were used as ‘living labs’ to identify Blue Growth Pathways. Blue Growth is defined as growth in ocean economic activities that does not interfere with the marine environment’s long term ability to continue to deliver ecosystem services. Living labs help to support innovation in (evolving) real life contexts. This involves working with stakeholders to identify future sustainable growth scenarios and then addressing these complex challenges through constraint mapping which involves identifying and classifying barriers to Blue Growth. The location and research focus of each case study is illustrated on the below map.



































Our engagement with the MOSES project involved carrying out the 'Belfast Harbour' case study. The case study was used to critically evaluate the potential opportunities and challenges facing the port and shipping sector. This case study used a transition management approach to explore how sustainable Blue Growth can be realised in these sectors. Phase I of the Belfast Harbour case study entailed engaging with a range of key stakeholders to determine drivers and barriers to sustainability in the Harbour. As part of Phase II, QUB built on the findings of Phase I and conducted a Future Pathway Analysis Approach to assess how Belfast Harbour could respond to a number of change drivers over the short, medium, and long-term to 2050. To read more about this phase of work and the transition approach that was followed, download the final report by clicking on the link below:


To learn more about the project, visit the MOSES website by clicking here.


To keep updated on the latest work and outputs of the MOSES project, follow it on Twitter.


For more information on our work with MOSES, please contact Dr. Welsey Flannery ( or Dr. Christina Kelly (

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