The MERIS instrument delivers a unique dataset of ocean colour measurements of the coastal zone, at 300m resolution and with a unique spectral band set. The motivation for the Coastcolour project is to fully exploit the potential of the MERIS instrument for remote sensing of the coastal zone. The general objective of the project is to develop, demonstrate, validate and intercompare different processing algorithms for MERIS over a global range of coastal water types in order to identify best practices. In this paper the Coastcolour project is presented in general and the Regional Algorithm Round Robin (RARR) exercise is described in detail. The RARR has the objective of determining the best approach to retrieval of chlorophyll a and other marine products (e.g. Inherent Optical Properties) for each of the Coastcolour coastal water test sites. Benchmark datasets of reflectances at MERIS bands will be distributed to algorithm provider participants for testing of both global (Coastcolour and other) algorithms and site-specific local algorithms. Results from all algorithms will be analysed and compared according to a uniform methodology. Participation of algorithm providers from outside the Coastcolour consortium is encouraged.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.