Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - ERA-MBT (Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET)

Executive Summary:
As demands on the bioeconomy increase, there is a pressing need to find new, sustainable sources of biomass to meet demand. The marine environment harbours one such source, and one that remains largely underutilised, so far exploited largely by capture fisheries oriented toward human consumption of fish and related ingredients. However, unsustainable harvesting of wild stocks has led to a decline of some species, and although conservation and improved resource management have allowed some species to recover, the scope to increase production from the wild is limited and more efficient use of existing resources is necessary. Over the last 40 years, commercial aquaculture and mariculture have demonstrated the potential for greater marine biomass production, creating new biomaterial supply-chains for selected marine organisms. Marine biotechnology is the key to unlocking the value of marine biological resources, providing biobased and other industries with access to sustainably produced and renewable biomass. Marine bioresources found in some of the most extreme and unique ecosystems on the planet, are rich sources of novel materials and bioactive compounds that can help to meet the demand for improved health and wellbeing, and support a wide range of other consumer and industrial applications. Whilst recent attention is directed to the greater utilisation of algae for products other than food, the diversity of marine organisms (including micro-organisms) make them highly attractive in a broad range of other applications. Marine biotechnology is a critical component of today’s bioeconomy, enabling marine biomass to be cultivated, harvested and processed to support the production of innovative products, stimulate new industrial activity, and support existing industry to become more competitive. The ERA-NET MarineBiotech Project has contributed to a better coordinated European effort broadening and diversifyfing research and development efforts; moving from a well-established demonstration of the merits of biotechnology applied to marine biomass, to a broad range of products meeting market demands sustainably.

The objectives and achievements of ERA-MBT were to:
- Stimulate trans-European marine biotechnology research, innovation and enterprise activity.
Transeuropean funding of Research and Development Projects in Three internal MBT Calls and two joint Calls With other ERA-NETs were done to achieve this.

- Build communities and capacity considering the maritime regions’ different perspectives and potential.
Through Three stakeholder Meetings, a foresight Activity, analysis of the European RTDI landscape and the publication of the marine Biotechnology Research Strategic and innovation roadmap, this objective was met from different perspectives.

- Deliver a lasting network to fund and support marine biotechnology research and enterprise activity.
A gradual approach to understand the ERA-NET COFASP and JPI-Oceans aims and objectives lead to a joint effort to pool Resources and bring the Networks together in a continued Cofunded ERA-NET to develop the blue bioeconomy (Horizon 2020 Call BG- 02-2018). In addition enterprises were active in the stakeholder Meetings and a dedicated workshop was held to understand the needs in the value Chains from biomass to Products.

- Further increase the level of coordination between European research funding bodies in the area of marine biotechnology.
The consortium of 19 funding agencies met regularly to foster coordination and achieve coordinated actions in Calls and to understand Our national strategies within relevant areas.

- Seek complementarities between national and international activities.
A comprehensive desk study was undertaken resulting in the identification of 7 potentially interesting countries for Collaboration and a fact finding mission was done With funding agencies in the eastern parts of Canada. Canada, US and Brazil were invited to participate in the Calls where Canada responded positively and joined two of them.

- Pool resources to undertake joint funding of trans-national RTDI projects.
Three internal ERA-MBT Calls addresses this objective resulting in 16 funded Project With a total Budget of more than 23 m€.

- Increase the awareness of marine biotechnology as an enabler for value creation from marine biological resources.
During the Project period, 7 newsletters, the www.marinebiotec.eu and 3 stakeholder Meetings fulfilled this objective.


Project Context and Objectives:
The ERA-NET MarineBiotechnology (ERA-MBT) brought together 19 partners from 14 countries across Europe to work with stakeholders in identifying marine biotechnological needs and gaps in the value Chains and fund Research and development Projects addressing these to increase the valorisation of marine bioresources. The ERA-MBT project was launched in December 2013 and operated until November 2017.
Marine biotechnology is the core enabling Technology contributing to create value from marine bioresources, however, to do so requires the current level of collaborative research in this area to expand. Measures that encourage expertise from the marine related biological and chemical sciences to work more closely with other areas of science and technology are necessary to achieve such collaboration.
Research capacity, knowledge and resources, including research infrastructures, are needed to fully utilize the potential within marine biotechnology. To further develop marine biotechnology research and innovation capacity and capabilities, Europe has to target efforts towards finding and exploiting competitive niches. The trans-European collaboration undertaken by ERA-MBT aimed to build synergies and create greater value for the partners' Investments in MBT based Research and Development by coordinated funding of research and develoment Projects, and by advancing research and innovation activity and strategies within this area.

The objectives of ERA-MBT were to:
• Stimulate trans-European marine biotechnology research, innovation and enterprise activity.
• Build communities and capacity considering the maritime regions’ different perspectives and potential.
• Deliver a lasting network to fund and support marine biotechnology research and enterprise activity.
• Further increase the level of coordination between European research funding bodies in the area of marine biotechnology.
• Seek complementarities between national and international activities.
• Pool resources to undertake joint funding of trans-national RTDI projects.
• Increase the awareness of marine biotechnology as an enabler for value creation from marine biological resources.

The ERA-MBT was designed to enhance the coordination of marine biotechnology related research funding programmes at international, national and regional levels. ERA-MBT drew attention to new research and innovation opportunities and created new funding initiatives to direct research towards priority areas. ERA-MBT launched three ERA-MBT transnational calls and two jointly With the ERA-NET COFASP and ERA-NET IB2 for research proposals.. These were informed by stakeholder feedback and the development of the strategic roadmap for marine biotechnology research and innovation. The Calls were within areas of biorefinery Processes, biodiscovery, metagenomics, aquacukture and industrial Biotechnology.

Achieving the broad goals of ERA-MBT required a detailed understanding of the key drivers and other factors that influence the future development of marine Biotechnology as a value enabler. The ERA-MBT initiated a series of actions to inform this understanding including, All are delivered as reports within the Project:
• Performing various desk studies as
• Hosting stakeholder events and undertaking surveys
• Completing a foresight exercise
• Developing a research and innovation roadmap

These activities contributed to the core elements of ERA-MBT, principally the initiation of joint calls for research in priority areas and laying the groundwork to build a sustainable network of funding agencies that are committed to continue developing marine biotechnology related research and innovation actions. In practice this materialised as a consortium of 29 partners joining forces and Budget to apply for the Horizon 2020 Call on a Cofund action to develop the blue bioeconomy (Call BG-02-2018). The ERA-NETs on marine Biotechnology and on fisheries, aquaculture and Seafood Processing (COFASP) together With JPI-OCEANS were the drivers to achieve this. The joined forces of these activities With their Networks and knowledge, will be a very strong consortium to develop marine bioresources for societal value contributing to a sustainable (blue) bioeconomy.

More details concerning the ERA-MBT are available at www.marinebiotech.eu.
Project Results:
Foreground from the ERA-MBT Project is delivered in Public reports, newsletters and on the website. The main foregrounds are the reports from:
- WP2 on MBT strategies for Europe and the bioeconomy aggregating into the "Marine Biotechnology Strategic Research and Innovation Roadmap". In addition the International Advisory Group's acices has been aggregated in reports and the long term support worked out as an Application for a cofunded ERA-NET addressing the Development of the blue bioeconomy.

- WP3 there are reports on industrial aspects and IPR, Technology transfer best practices and industrialization relevant funding Tools. In addition an analysis of sustainabilty matters for industrial Developments enabled by the use of marine Biotechnology is delivered.

- WP4 an analyzis of the European and international MBT lansdscapes produced reports aggregating these findings. The main finding here is the identification of 7 potentially intresting international countries for initiation of Collaborations within the MBT area.

- WP5 there is a report on the mapping of training programmes which has been included in the EU-training portal for further updates Beyond ERA-MBT (http://www.marinetraining.eu/)

- WP6 the website (www.marinebiotech.eu) has been maintained and aggregated a substantial amount of foreground within MBT and related areas. This also includes Access to most of the Public reports from the Project.

Potential Impact:
With a focus on supporting research needed to meet Europe’s Societal Challenges, the Horizon 2020 research programme is fundamentally different to
the earlier research framework programs. Marine biotechnology is relevant to major challenges in Horizon 2020, in particular, health, demographic
change and wellbeing; food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy; secure, clean and efficient energy; climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; and Europe in a changing world — inclusive, innovative and reflective societies.

Current EU research programmes highlight the need to go beyond rigid thematic approaches and are designed to increase collaboration across the research landscape to the benefit of society. The Lund Declaration adopted in 200929 and updated in 201530 stresses how meeting the grand challenges in Europe would require a strengthening of the frontier research, and by Europe taking a global lead in the development of enabling technologies (such as biotechnology, information technology, materials and nano-technologies). It also highlights measures designed to support business development and public policy goals; the creation and maintenance of world-class research infrastructures; and a risk-tolerant and trust-based approach in research funding.

The ERA-MBT Project has continously been running dissemination activities by keeping an active website updated, hosting Three stakeholder Meetings, producing seven newsletters and consortium members have contributed to a multitude of European, international and national activities to enlighten the external dialogue about marine biotechnolgy as the enabler to create value from marine biomass.
List of Websites:
Public website: www.marinebiotech.eu

Contact details:
Steinar Bergseth,
The Research Council of Norway,
Drammensveien 288,
0283 Oslo,
Norway.
Phone: +4797066883
E-mail: stb@rcn.no

Reported by

NORGES FORSKNINGSRAD
Norway
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