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The Scientific Interest Group of Maritime History was created during a meeting on the 8th and 9th of September, 2005, which was held at Université de Bretagne Sud (Lorient). Statuses were prepared, notably the setting of financial terms, and the different teams submitted them to their respective scientific councils. The presidency of the SIG is at Université de Bretagne Sud in Lorient, however the SIG activities take place at the various partner universities.

The SIG functions through two main tools:

The creation of an internet site with two objectives, first to be used as a tool for information and news on the SIG and research in general, and to be used for collecting and sharing reviews of works, especially foreign works, a specific need for doctoral students. The website is meant to be a means of collaboration online.

The SIG does not have a journal, but the editorial committee of the Revue d’Histoire maritime of the Presses Universitaires de la Sorbonne has welcomed several members of the SIG and two annual issues are to be published per year to share the scientific production, notably that of the teacher-researchers and researchers, who are members of the SIG.

The objectives of the SIG are three fold:

The SIG is to federate (while respecting the different identities) the teams and the researchers. Indeed, SIG members can be laboratories (UMR-EA-JE) and the teams and individual members of these laboratories, as well as federative structures, such as an UMS (Joint Service Unit) or institutions, like the Historical Service of the French Ministry of Defence, Naval Department. This is just the type of ad hoc structure to confirm the strength of a network, which through its research potential is capable of significance in the national and international research landscape, and to collect the funds necessary for organising research events at an international scale.

The SIG is to federate so as to assess research, follow up on it, set guide lines and clear new avenues of research. Collaboration leads to creation.

The SIG is to provide young researchers with a stimulating research environment for their education and works.

The SIG has three missions:

To give national and international visibility to the coastal maritime research field. The SIG must form connections with foreign teams.

To offer doctoral students the resources of a network forwarding, through research seminars, their meeting for scientific debate on the sources, methods, and state-of-the-art. The first national seminar for doctoral students already taken place on March 11, 2006 at the Université de Nantes.

To commit to a scientific programme: First a large conference was organised in Lorient to assess the evolution of research in France and abroad in the last twenty years and its perspectives with different perspectives: thematic, chronological, regional, international (colleagues from abroad were invited to assess the research in their own countries and the research on France). A perspective on upcoming subjects seems necessary to place research on history at the heart of current issues. Two other perspectives were also used: comparative assessment between research in France and research abroad, as well as links with other disciplines.

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