Skip to main content
European Commission logo
Maritime Forum

EU4Ocean announces Platform Chairs and Working Group Chairs 

EU4Ocean announces Platform Chairs and Working Group Chairs

The EU4Ocean Platform welcomes two Platform Chairs and three Working Group Chairs, who will serve in advisory and steering roles for the Platform.

Platform Chairs Professor Paula Kankaanpää (Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE) and James Nikitine (Manaia Productions) will provide overarching steering for the Platform to ensure it continues to develop as a diverse, inclusive and accessible network, for all stakeholders to work together on joint actions to drive collective awareness, action and change in society across Europe.

Working Group Chairs Tymon Zielinski (IOPAN; WG Climate and Ocean), Jens Ambsdorf (Lighthouse Foundation, Germany; WG Food from the Ocean) and Elisa Baldrighi (Ocean Literacy Italia; WG Healthy and Clean Ocean) will provide leadership and foster collaborations for joint actions developed in these three thematic areas.

Short biographies and photos for the Platform Chairs and Working Group Chairs are shown below. All Chairs were nominated from the EU4Ocean Platform founding membership and they represent the increasing diversity of members – both in terms of geography and stakeholder sectors spanning academia to civil society, science communication and education. All Chairs will have a leading role in the Platform development and will serve a minimum of 1 year in their role. In addition to serving as Ambassadors for the Platform and wider Coalition, Chairs will also work with facilitators to seek out opportunities for potential connections across Platform, Youth4Ocean and European Network of Blue Schools components.

The EU4Ocean Platform Chairs held their first joint tele-meeting on 27 August 2020, leading up to the EU4Ocean workshop on 24-25 September 2020.

Platform Chairs


Professor Paula Kankaanpää

is the Director of the Marine Research Centre of Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE. SYKE operates the Finnish ice strengthened Research Vessel Aranda and hosts the Finnish Marine Ecology Laboratory. Currently she is also leading a multi-sectoral project on Finnish Marine Knowledge and Data Portal. Kankaanpää is Chair of Protection of Arctic Marine Environment, PAME -Working Group of the Arctic Council, and Vice President of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), a Finnish Delegate of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), a member of the Arctic Team of the Ministry of the Environment and chair of the Finnish National Committee of Arctic and Antarctic Research. Earlier, she acted as the Director of the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland for 15 years since 2000. She was a research fellow at the Dartmouth College in 2010. Kankaanpää worked as a Senior Advisor for the Arctic, Barents and Antarctic cooperation in the Ministry of the Environment in 1991 - 99. She acted as the Deputy Executive Secretary of Arctic Council’s CAFF Working Group in Iceland 1998. Kankaanpää made her PhD at the Geography Department of the University of Helsinki while working as a scientist in Finnish Marine Research Institute. She also studied in the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


James Nikitine (Manaia Productions) James is a French and British marine scientist, filmmaker and consultant, originally from the French Alps near Geneva. He holds a MSc in Marine Systems and Policies from the University of Edinburgh and a Bachelor of Arts in Film from the University of Exeter. For nearly a decade, he has worked globally as a consultant in ocean science and policy communications, on issues of high seas governance, microplastics pollution, climate change impacts on the ocean, deep reef research, ocean risk and marine protected area management. He is the co-founder and CEO of Manaia Productions, a strategic communications and film production agency specialized in nature conservation, science and livelihoods. James has been working for several years as project manager and producer with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and has worked with WWF, Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy, the Ocean Acidification Alliance and the UK government. In 2019, he worked as Media Advisor for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, in the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for sustainable Development. Since 2015 he has been a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, contributing to its marine task force. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand and is a Fellow with the Edmund Hillary Fellowship. Recently he founded Blue Cradle, a non-profit working in New Zealand promoting ocean conservation and literacy.

EU4Ocean Platform Working Group (WG) Chairs

WG Climate and Ocean


Tymon Zielinski is a leader of the Climate and Ocean Research and Education Unit at Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences (IO PAN), Poland where he has a position of an associate professor. Since 2016, Tymon is a member of the UN group of experts of the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment. Since 2019, Tymon is a member of the Steering Committee of the European Marine Board Communication Panel. Tymon has been involved in numerous projects focused on climate change and marine environment, organized numerous meetings and has been a PI in both national and international project.

WG Food from the Ocean


Jens Ambsdorf is the Managing Director of the Lighthouse Foundation, a German charitable foundation focussing on the implementation of local sustainable development projects and the role of the marine environment for the future of humanity. He has a Diploma in Biology and studied Freshwater Ecology and Marine Chemistry at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel. He then became responsible for project implementation at the “Technologiestiftung Schleswig-Holstein”. During several years his work focused on the interdependency of regional development and technological trends on the local, regional and European level. In 2000, Jens Ambsdorf became founding Director of the Lighthouse Foundation, Hamburg. Since its inception the foundation has spent more than 20 Mio Euros in supporting initiatives in more than 40 countries.

WG Healthy and Clean Ocean


Elisa Baldrighi (Ocean Literacy Italia) graduated in Marine Biology in 2007, with a PhD in Marine Biology and Ecology (2013). She has a broad experience in deep-sea benthic ecology, biology, biodiversity, assessment of water quality and benthic environmental status. In the period 2014-2016, she worked as a post-doc at CNR (Ancona, Italy) and she was also responsible for Communication and Dissemination. In 2016-2018, she worked as post-doc at the University of Brittany and Ifremer, France, where she was involved in ocean literacy activities with students and citizens. At present, she works as post-doc at CNR-IRBIM (Ancona). She is member of Ocean Literacy Italia (OLI) since 2019, and was part of OLI Scientific Committee, and since 2020, she is part of the OLI Steering Committee. She coordinates the project of Citizen Science ‘Walking on the sea traces’.


EU4Ocean Platform & Working Group Chairs meeting, 27 August 2020