European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations


The Baltic Sea and its coasts are particularly affected by the combined and increasingly negative impact of pollution, climate change, acidification, overexploitation and biodiversity loss.

In order to meet the challenges that the Baltic Sea Region has to face, the “BONUS Joint Baltic Sea Research Programme” was founded on the basis of Article 185 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU).


The objective is to enhance the Baltic Sea Region’s research capacity to ensure a more sustainable development of the region. The BONUS Programme is fully aligned with the objectives of the European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

The Programme is intended to provide concrete scientific output facilitating the implementation of ecosystem-based management of environmental issues in the Baltic Sea. It will help Europe to respond more effectively to the region’s key challenges, with regard to environmental protection and sustainable development, tourism, aquaculture, food safety and maritime transport.

Organisation and Participation

To create an adequate legal structure for the implementation of BONUS, the "Baltic Organisations Network for Funding Science EEIG" was established in April 2007. The secretariat of BONUS EEIG, based in Helsinki, is responsible for the implementation of the BONUS - Programme.

First countries to join were Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Lithuania and Estonia, which were soon followed by Poland and Latvia. Germany joined in December 2007. Russian scientist can participate on the basis of special agreements.


TThe BONUS programme is co-financed by a total of 20 different funding institutions from eight participating countries ensuring 50% of the national co-financing for their respective partners in the approved projects. The Programmes planned total budget is 100 million EUR for the period from 2012 to 2016. The national funding is complemented by an additional EU contribution amounting to a maximum of 50 million EUR for the duration of the BONUS - Programme. The funding procedures are subject to the respective national regulations. An extension of the implementation agreement has been granted in 2016 to allow the BONUS programme to commit funds until September 2018 in order to allow it to use up unspent budget to better achieve its objectives and implement one more call.


BONUS will be implemented in two phases, a strategic phase from 2010 to 2011, and an implementation phase during 2012-2016. In the first two years, a Strategic Research Agenda (2011-2017) was produced. As well, BONUS has set up its Stakeholder Consultation Platforms ("Bonus Forum") and prepared the implementation modalities. This will be followed by a five-year implementation phase, during which at least three calls for proposals will be published. These calls are targeted at multi-partner and trans-national consortia and include research, technological development, training and dissemination activities.

Currently there is no new proposal of the European Commission for the follow-up of the initiative after 2018.