European Commission Invests $8.5 Million for Maritime Growth - Global Trade Magazine
  April 15th, 2016 | Written by

European Commission Invests $8.5 Million for Maritime Growth

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  • EC requests for proposals focus on skills, creativity, and technology in the maritime sector.
  • The Blue Economy is an EU initiative for exploiting the potential of oceans as a source of jobs and growth.
  • A number of bottlenecks are holding back the drive for Blue Economy innovation in Europe.A number of bottlenecks are hol

The European Commission is investing over $8.5 million to boost innovation and create jobs in the marine and maritime sectors.

The money is available under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and divided in calls for proposal focusing on the key areas where the European Union can have the biggest impact: skills, creativity and technology.

Innovation in sectors like aquaculture, biotechnology, and ocean energy is vital for the blue economy to thrive, said the commission in a statement. The commission’s Communication on Innovation in the Blue Economy is a European initiative which calls for exploiting the potential of seas and oceans as a major source of new jobs and growth.

A number of bottlenecks are currently holding back this drive for innovation, the commission noted, including a lack of highly-skilled professionals, underinvestment in knowledge and technology, and slow progress from research results to the commercial stage.

“With these calls for proposals, the European Commission is taking another step to create the conditions for blue growth in Europe,” said Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. “We are developing skills. We are rewarding creativity. We are boosting technology. Armed with these assets, I am convinced that the European maritime industry can become a global pioneer of blue growth.”

The investment earmarked under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will comprise three calls for proposal:

  1. Under the Blue Careers call, $3.93 million will be made available to equip job-seekers with useful skills necessary for the marine and maritime economy, re-train those willing to join the sector, and help people already working in the blue economy to progress in their career. It can also be used to make maritime professions more visible and to attract young talent, in particular women.
  2. Under the Blue Labs call, which corresponds to $1.94 million, the commission is promoting innovative laboratories, where students and recent graduates team up with experienced tutors from the local business community and the public sector to address maritime and marine issues. This could mean developing new technologies to eliminate marine litter like microplastics or nanomaterials, building unmanned robotic systems to discover and protect underwater cultural heritage, or finding out how marine microorganisms can be used to break down hazardous substances.

3. Under the Blue Technology call, the commission is putting up a total of $2.87 million to encourage public-private partnerships that will support the transfer of new technologies and research results into commercial applications and coordinate strategic investment at sea-basin level.