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ERA-NET Cofund on Blue Bioeconomy - Unlocking the potential of aquatic bioresources

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BlueBio (ERA-NET Cofund on Blue Bioeconomy - Unlocking the potential of aquatic bioresources)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2018-12-01 do 2020-05-31

BlueBio will act to unlock the potential of aquatic bioresources to create jobs, economic growth and provide food, valuable nutrients and bio-based products and services to promote a sustainable and competitive Blue Bioeconomy. The goal is to identify new and improve existing ways of bringing bio-based products and services to the market and find new ways to create value by addressing needs and gaps along the value chains. The objective is to establish a R&I funding scheme that will strengthen Europe's global position in this complex economic domain. This will primarily be achieved by engaging funding organisations to implement one cofunded call focusing on blue knowledge and technology to respond to needs and gaps for R&I applying a value chain aspect. The funding organisation will together with the European Commission (EC) fund 19 projects amounting to more than EUR 25 million. BlueBio builds upon the networks, achievements and strategies of the COFASP and MBT ERA-NETs and will leverage the role of JPI Oceans as a coordinating intergovernmental platform. Additional calls will be launched. A range of activities including communication to add value to the funded projects and enhance their impacts will be implemented. Emphasis will be placed on the creation of pre-commercial outputs aimed at accelerating commercialisation and competitive deployment. BlueBio contributes to the objective of the European Research Area by enhancing cooperation and coordination of national R&I investments.
The main goal of BlueBio the first 18 months was to implement the cofunded call. It was launched on 17 December 2018 and was announced in European and national platforms. An electronic submission tool was established for applicants. A brokerage event was held in Oslo on 30 January 2019. Participants were informed about the call and could meet potential partners through matchmaking sessions. The event was streamed online to enable remote participants to interact. Eligibility, evaluation and selections schemes endorsed by the Call Steering Committee were set up for the two-stage call process. A total of 83 pre-proposals were received, of which 66 were eligible and passed to evaluation. Following this, 35 pre-proposals were invited to submit full proposals. In the end, 19 projects were selected. An Independent Observer attested that the process was in conformity with the principles set out by the EC for ERA-NET Cofunds. Because of COVID-19, several of the projects were granted a postponement of the original deadline to start (1 June 2020). This means that the projects are starting in the period 1 January to 1 September 2020. Key performance indicators for the follow-up of the projects have been developed. An Independent Ethics Advisor has assessed the ethical risks with the projects and will follow up the projects. On 9 June 2020 a kick-off meeting for the cofunded projects was held, online because of COVID-19. The event allowed the projects to get to know each other and start internal collaboration. Coordinators and funding organisations could communicate their expectations and clarify uncertainties. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), Human Capacity Building, including training and mobility exchange have been emphasised. The kick-off meeting included an RRI seminar, open also for external participants. Four Value Chain Supervisors (VCS) are appointed to oversee that the sectorial and value chain approach is balanced when implementing calls and other activities. They will also contribute to the collaboration with the private sector to identify specific opportunities, as well as to create connectivity between funded projects and other relevant ongoing projects to stimulate synergies between projects and industries along the value chain. The coordinator has established a management structure for the overall legal, contractual, financial and administrative issues, and internal communication. For operational issues, it involves the Executive Team that is comprised of all work package leaders and the VCS, and the coordinator supported by a team at the Research Council of Norway (and the JPI Oceans Secretariat. Monthly online partner meetings have been held in addition to the formal consortium meetings. A BlueBio communication plan, a visual identity and a website, including a partners-only website have been developed and social media accounts have been established. BlueBio partners have updated and expanded the project database of cooperation in fisheries, aquaculture, seafood processing and marine biotech, originally developed within the COFASP ERA-NET. It is available at
Although BlueBio is at an early stage, several activities have been undertaken that will contribute to maximise its impacts. By bringing together two successful ERA-NETs and JPI Oceans with their respective roadmaps, strategies and agendas, BlueBio has demonstrated commitment to strengthen R&I investments and to build a Blue Bioeconomy community. European added value is strengthened by requesting that consortiums must consist of at least three independent eligible entities from at least three partner countries. At least one industry partner is requested to ensure an applied perspective and industry relevance and, in the end, new knowledge-intensive products and services from aquatic biomass. Of the 19 cofunded projects, 12 will explore new aquatic bio-resources, and six will have improvements in fisheries and aquaculture as their main targets. The bioresources addressed vary and include four projects on macro-algae, three making novel use of aquatic waste, while others will address different kind of use of various underutilised or novel aquatic bio-resources. A few projects will look into synergies with land-based industries, while several have biotechnology or ICT as an integrated part. Communication of results and developments from R&I activities to key decision-makers, the industry and the public is of particular importance for well-informed dialogues and an obligatory part of the projects. RRI, human capacity building, training and mobility exchange as project activities will also ensure a wider impact than just the results. BlueBio activities to create connectivity and synergy among ongoing R&I projects are expected to contribute to add value to the projects and strengthen the Blue Bioeconomy community. BlueBio will organise an integrated training course on Blue Biotechnologies and Blue Bioeconomy together with the BLUEMED CSA at the beginning of 2021. A 1st Additional Call was launched in June 2020 to which 14 partners from 13 countries have committed EUR 11 million. Its scope is based on a value chain analysis undertaken of the outcome of the cofunded call that revealed that none of the funded projects address supply systems and market entry. The call specifically targets projects to facilitate the transfer of bio-resources from harvesting (catch or production) to processing in order to ensure e.g. traceability, quality, sustainability and the necessary quantity or pre-processing of the bio-resources for conversion into products for the market. This demonstrates that BlueBio actively seeks to address bottlenecks in the value chain. The ambition is to launch additional calls in 2021 and 2022. A forward-looking activity to accommodate the changing landscape and to inform the new European Partnerships under Horizon Europe is planned in 2021-2022.
The BlueBio Cofund logo - dark blue version
The BlueBio Cofund logo - white background
The value chain concept for BlueBio Cofund R&I
The project structure of BlueBio Cofund, how workpackages inter-relate and contribute to the output