The Technological Research and Innovation Network RITMER was created by the French Ministry of research in 2001 after the ERIKA oil spill, in order to structure the French research, and to develop links between public and private research and development in the fight against accidental pollution domain. The network is a tool created to stimulate the innovative research and is complementary to activities carried out by Ifremer and Cedre. It brings together representatives of academic research, industry and authorities responsible for spill control preparedness and operations. Ifremer and the Brest University are the moderators of the network, and Cedre is one of its most active members.

The main activity of the Ritmer is to define priority areas and to publish calls for proposals, and organize the selection of innovative projects to be supported by the French Ministries. These projects must associate research institutes or universities, with industry or other users of the R&D results, and they should have direct potential application in the fight operations.

Since 2001, 25 projects have been selected, representing more than 13 million Euros of budget and 7.7 million Euros of support by the ministries. These projects concern the main problems encountered in case of accident: detection tools, evaluation, models, recovery at sea and on the coast, waste treatment, organization, communication. Two of them deal with chemical spills.

The paper describes the main projects and gives more detailed description of seven of them which have already produced significant results after two years of work: remote sensing of sunken oil, thermal treatment of oily waste, oil biodegrading parameters, behavior of chemical products at sea.

The future priorities for the French research are also presented in relation to two Ritmer seminars organized in 2003 and 2004, respectively on detection devices and probes, and on innovative tools and methods for the response in coastal areas. Several international actions which have been conducted for the coordination of research in Europe, and in cooperation with Japan and Spain are also described.

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