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Maritime and Marine Technologies for a New ERA

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MarTERA (Maritime and Marine Technologies for a New ERA)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-12-31

The overall goal of the MarTERA is to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) in maritime and marine technologies and Blue Growth. The realisation of a European research and innovation agenda needs a broad and systematic cooperation in all areas of waterborne transport, offshore activity, marine resources, maritime security, biotechnologies, desalination, offshore oil & gas, fisheries, aquaculture etc. covering all relevant maritime and marine sectors and regions for a sustainable development of the maritime sector. Research and innovation activities in these fields cannot be tackled either at national levels alone, or solely by a single sector. Coordinated actions are required for the maritime industry to strengthen Europe's position in this important and complex economic field in a global market. MarTERA consortium, consisting of 16 collaborating countries, has organised and co-funded, together with the EU one joint call for transnational research projects on different thematic areas in 2017. Furthermore, additional joint activities that go beyond this co-funded call are planned, in order to contribute to the national priorities as well as to the Strategic Research Agenda of JPI Oceans and WATERBORNE. The focus of development in MarTERA is given to technologies (instead of sectors) due to their potentially large impact to a wide range of application fields.
The coordinator established a management structure for the overall legal, contractual, financial and administrative issues as well as for the communication between MarTERA partners and the EC, which is in agreement with all partners. An efficient working environment for the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the MarTERA co-funded Call was created by extensive communications between the coordinator and all partners. The organisational structure provides a simple and efficient decision-making process and coordination of all efforts within the consortium (fig.1). Main bodies of an efficient project management structure consist of a Steering Committee (SC), the Project Coordinator (CO) and the Executive Team (ET). With experiences made in other consortia all partners help to improve MarTERA structures.
Main Goal of MarTERA during the first period was the organisation and implementation of the first co-funded call. For that, the call announcement and supporting documents in line with the objectives of the national programmes were prepared and finalised in time according to the ERA-NET Cofund rules. The coordinator established an adequate online submission system (electronic tool and forms), according to the agreed procedures of the co-funded call. The online submission system was available from mid of December 2016 for submitting the pre-proposals. One of the key objectives of MarTERA is to establish a framework for networking between project partners (common project meetings, social media, etc.) to seek complementarities and enhance exchange of knowledge and ideas. It was hence decided to organize brokerage events in the intermediate period between the launch of the calls and the deadline for submission of proposals. A first brokerage event for networking took place in February 2017.
The evaluation and selection of the submitted proposals to the MarTERA co-funded joint call was successfully achieved in due time. The Independent Observer report attested the conformity with the rules of the ERA-NET Cofund scheme.
For the communication and dissemination of MarTERA a website has been developed and leaflets for the dissemination activities were printed out and taken to different workshops, conferences, seminars. Press releases were published in magazines and disseminated via various newsletters of the National Contact Points and ERA-LEARN platform.
The partners decided to prepare and launch the next call in 2019. For this call discussions with other ERA-NETs are in progress in order to share the resources for a common call.
The ERA-NET Cofund MarTERA will give special emphasis on funding projects that will present the best prospects of passing across the “valley of death” and bringing a product as close to the market as possible. Companies are the major drivers in bridging the gap between research results and innovation. Therefore, priority for funding is given for projects which include at least one industrial participant (in either leading or supporting role). The participation of the industry has been very strong in the first co-funded call in 2017 (fig.2). All consortia had a least one participating industrial partner.
Selected topics for funding in MarTERA, with a huge relevance for the marine and maritime field, are based on the overarching technological challenges, due to their relevance and possibility to benefit a wide range of applications and sectors. The development of innovations in these topics has been addressed within the co-funded call in the following Priority Areas:
•MarTERA partners have agreed that one of the five priority areas of the scope of the co-funded call is “Environmentally friendly maritime technologies” (PA1) to tackle the problem of GHG emissions reduction, implementation of new technologies and fuels.
•Another priority area named “Safety and Security” (PA5) is covering topics such as ICT tools for monitoring and optimization of maritime operations, evacuation and rescue concepts, early warning and accident management systems and individual safety concepts harmonized with navigational requirements.
•The co-funded MarTERA call included three priority areas with relevance to four KETs. Priority Area (PA) 2 deals with “Development of novel materials and structures” including nanomaterials. There is a consensus of opinion among MarTERA partners that certain advances in materials can result in addressing problems, such as biofouling and underwater noise, which are ubiquitous throughout a large number of applications. Industrial Biotechnology is of relevance due to challenges such as biofouling, but also to PA 3 through development of biosensors.
•Priority Area 4 is named “Advanced manufacturing and production” and addresses automation of production, new concepts for recycling-oriented construction to final disposal vessels/platforms, as well as improved and novel production technologies for flexible manufacturing, with focus on organization and networking along the value chain.
In all these Priority Areas pre-proposals were submitted within the first co-funded call. Most of them were in the PA3.
With its activities MarTERA will also support trans-national, pan European research networks and synergies among national/regional and European EU research programmes. The monitoring of the MarTERA activities will provide valuable feedback for national and transnational research policies. Analysis and assessment of the funded projects and the other activities performed by MarTERA will represent an information source of the networking of the European maritime and marine research groups. The cooperation with JPI Oceans and other initiatives e.g. ERA-NETs, European Technology Platform (WATERBORNE) can contribute to defragmentation of research efforts and avoid duplication of funding topics. As many of the MarTERA partners are also members of JPI Oceans, with the help of JPI Oceans a better communication to the relevant ministries could be achieved and new strategies for the future of the network could be generated together.
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