September 15, 2021


The CNES delegation to the maritime economy convention in Nice, led by its Chairman & CEO Philippe Baptiste, was welcomed to the Monaco Oceanographic Museum by its Director, Robert Calcagno, Tuesday 14 September. After a guided tour and discussions centred on future areas for cooperation, Philippe Baptiste and Robert Calcagno signed a partnership agreement aimed at gaining new insights into the oceans through space technologies, in the presence of His Excellency Laurent Stefanini, France’s Ambassador to Monaco.

Signature of a partnership agreement between Robert Calcagno (Oceanographic Institute Director) and Philippe Baptiste (CNES CEO) on Tuesday 14 September in the Monaco Oceanographic Museum. Credits:  M. Dagnino - Musée océanographique.

With this partnership agreement, exchanges between CNES and the Oceanographic Institute—already ongoing through a range of collaborations like the Sea and Space symposium at the Maison de l’Océan in Paris—will now be able to take shape on a firmer footing, while allowing both institutions to benefit from each other’s expertise.


The Oceanographic Museum’s motto—Ex abyssis ad alta (from the ocean depths to the stars)—has a special resonance for this collaboration. The oceans that cover a large portion of Earth’s surface are not only characterized by the complex physical, dynamic and biological processes underlying our planet’s ecological and climatic balances; they are also a formidable opportunity to fuel economic development, which is something central to CNES’s purpose. As a vital tool for understanding and monitoring the oceans and how they are being impacted by human activities, space must increasingly seek to drive development of the blue economy supporting value and job creation while protecting marine ecosystems durably and effectively.

CNES has for decades built up expertise in space oceanography, at the same time enabling the French scientific community to earn world renown. By opening access to its space-based data and services, the agency is increasing the potential to advance our knowledge about the oceans and the activities that rely on them. With the Oceanographic Institute, it is now giving itself the means to leverage this knowledge.

Space technologies and data are now set to become a core element of the programmes developed by the Oceanographic Institute, whose main mission is to promote knowledge and protection of the marine world and to conduct outreach to the widest possible audience on key ocean-related themes and issues, acting as a mediator between scientists, civil society, institutional and economic decision-makers, the media and the general public. In particular, the emphasis will be on getting younger generations interested in these issues through space science.

Plenty of opportunities to build this partnership lie ahead, notably the Oceanographic Institute’s upcoming programme dedicated to the polar regions in 2022, its outreach and education actions and future collaborations for the Explorations of Monaco project.


CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) is the government agency responsible for shaping and executing France’s space programme. It develops and guides research in the fields of space science and engineering. It is also the French centre of excellence for space technologies and applications, pursuing a proactive partnership policy that complements the efforts of other national and European public bodies, research laboratories, local and regional authorities, industry and French satellite service users, in particular with a view to nurturing space technologies, combining them with other terrestrial and maritime technologies, and boosting their uptake to inform government action and fuel the economy.

Oceanographic Institute, Albert I, Prince of Monaco Foundation
A French state-approved institution since 16 May 1906, the Oceanographic Institute has been working to protect the oceans for more than a century. It is leading numerous projects—symposia, exhibitions and education and outreach programmes—in the national and international arenas and pursuing its environmental education mission through its Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and Maison de l’Océan in Paris.

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