The EASME, Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, launched a call for proposals titled “Sustainable Blue Economy” with a view to accelerate the deployment of the blue economy across Europe while consolidating efforts and recent developments to support the sustainable development of blue economy sectors in the Mediterranean sea basin, including by strengthening the resilience of the marine and coastal ecosystem and taking action for their restoration.
The call is divided in 4 strands:
S1. Demonstration projects strand aims to build on the results of relevant of research and innovation projects and support demonstration projects that help bring research results to the market and harness new business and investment opportunities in the blue economy.
This support is important to:
- Help innovative technologies and/or maritime services improve their market readiness and advance towards market entry, allowing economic players, in particular SMEs, to apply new ideas and research results in marketable goods and services;
- Facilitate scaling up business models and service concepts;
- De-risk the deployment of these demonstration projects and provide the necessary credibility for these projects to enable them to access other financing for the development of their activities.
Applicants must explain how their proposals will help innovative technologies and/or maritime services improve their market-readiness and advance towards the commercial phase demonstrating the benefit of a new product, service, process, and system to potential clients in a real environment.
Projects must undertake concrete activities in:
- producing new materials, products or devices, and/or installing new processes, systems and services, and/or improve substantially those already designed, produced and/or installed; and/or operating pre-commercial pilot manufacturing system;
- validating with relevant stakeholders the technologies/services/products being tested/deployed/scaled-up and/or prepare for full commercialization.
S2. Marine litter aims at supporting projects that develop methodologies and technologies to:
- Reduce the amount and harmfulness of marine litter from sea-based sources;
- Monitor and quantify the contribution of sea-based sources of marine litter;
- Remove and recycle, in an environmentally sound and resource-efficient way, marine litter found in seas and oceans in the European sea basins/areas.
For this strand, projects have to be undertaken in at least one the following priority areas. Projects may cover more than one of these areas:
- Reduction and prevention. Development and testing of methodologies and/or technologies to prevent and reduce marine litter from sea-based sources, including increased recyclability of fishing and aquaculture gears.
- Monitoring and quantification of marine litter. Development and testing of methodologies and/or technologies to monitor and quantify the contribution of sea-based sources of marine litter in the different compartments (i.e. at the sea surface, in the water column, on the sea floor or along coasts) including transport pathways and hotspots of marine litter facilitating harmonised and standardised approaches as far as possible
- Removal and recycling. Development and testing of methodologies and/or technologies for environmentally sound and cost-efficient retrieval of marine litter, such as lost gear, fragments of plastic, etc., in open waters and/or coastal areas and for methodologies and/or technologies facilitating recycling and contributing to increasing recycling rates.
The geographical area covered by this strand includes the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea basins as well as the EU Outermost regions marine areas.
S3. Blue networks in the Mediterranean aims to accelerate the development of the blue economy in the Mediterranean through closer cooperation between public and private maritime stakeholders such as education and training institutes, maritime clusters and fisheries local communities from the EU and its partner countries in the Mediterranean. It will support skills, innovation, entrepreneurship as well as job diversification and local communities’ empowerment.
Applicants must select only one of the following specific objectives per proposal:
- promote networking and collaboration between marine and/or maritime, port and logistics-related education and training institutes in the Mediterranean to develop relevant skills and promote maritime professions in cooperation with business and public authorities;
- promote networking between maritime clusters in the Mediterranean to produce concrete results in terms of maritime innovation and maritime technologies, business development and innovation (including boosters, business angels and start-ups) and skills development;
- pilot twinning of fisheries local coastal communities in the western Mediterranean based on the Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) approach to produce concrete results in areas such as diversification of fishing activities, both within and outside commercial fisheries and including tourism, pesca-tourism, sustainable aquaculture development and skills development, with a particular emphasis on women and youth.
This strand includes a strong element of capacity building between the Northern and Southern part of the Mediterranean.
S4. Restoring marine ecosystem in the MED. In line with key Commission policy initiatives, a project that also addresses the development of (existing or new) blue-green infrastructures will be given priority. The support of this strand is important to help:
- improving the health and good environmental status (GES) of marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea and its coast and contributing to the Mediterranean efforts on biodiversity conservation and restoration. as well as integrated coastal zone management;
- ensuring the continuation and improved provision of a wide range of services such as natural fish stock restoration, carbon sequestration, aesthetic, cultural or leisure services attracting visitors, and seawater purification;
- preserving the oceans’ natural function as a climate regulator;
- increasing marine and coastal resilience to climate change;
- supporting in a sustainable manner the basis and conditions for blue economy sectors such as tourism, aquaculture and fisheries, which are of great importance for the Mediterranean Sea basin;
- supporting the implementation of relevant strategies/initiatives and policy priorities in the Mediterranean at all levels, in particular the regional level.
S1: Applicants must be legal entities. They can be public or private bodies. Applicants must be active in the field of research and innovation, and/or in the blue economy and related sectors (such as marine renewable energies, blue biotechnology, coastal tourism, aquaculture, maritime transport, shipbuilding and ship repair, shipping, offshore oil and gas, fisheries or aquaculture). Potential applicants can be: public or private, small, medium or large enterprises; public authorities (national, regional); research centres, innovation agencies; and centres of excellence; cluster organisations or equivalent business network organisations in so far as they are established as an independent legal entity; non-profit organisations (private or public).
S2: Applicants must be legal entities. They can be public or private bodies. Applicants must be active in the field of research and innovation, in the blue economy and related sectors, environmental management or any other field if their relevance for the project is duly justified in the proposal. Potential applicants are: public authorities (national, regional); research centres, innovation agencies; and centres of excellence; public or private, small, medium or large enterprises; cluster organisations or equivalent business network organisations that have an own independent legal entity; non-profit organisations (private or public); the four regional sea conventions (Barcelona, Bucharest, HELCOM, OSPAR).
S3: Applicants must be legal entities. Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of minimum two legal entities. They can be public or private bodies. Applicants must be active in the field of blue economy and related sectors (such as marine renewable energies, blue biotechnology, coastal tourism, aquaculture, maritime transport, shipbuilding and ship repair, shipping, offshore oil and gas, fisheries or aquaculture etc.). Potential partners are cluster organisations or equivalent business network organizations; educational and training institutions; secondary school/institute/educational centre; public or private, small, medium or large enterprises; chambers of commerce; social partners; research centres; professional associations; non-profit organisations (private or public); public authorities (national, regional, local); federations and associations; fisheries local action groups (FLAGs).
S4: Applicants must be active in the field of marine environment, research, marine, maritime affairs or any other field if their relevance for the project is duly justified in the proposal. Examples of potential applicants. The following non-exhaustive list provides examples of potential applicants: non-profit organisations (private or public); public authorities (national, regional, local); research centres; educational and training institutions; public or private, small, medium or large enterprises; professional associations; federations and associations.
The indicative total budget for this call for proposals is EUR 14.500.000.
S1 – DEMO PROJECTS EUR 8.000.000
S2 – MARINE LITTER EUR 2.000.000
S3 – BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED EUR 3.000.000
S4 – RESTORING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE MED EUR 1.500.000
Deadlines for submitting application are:
S1 and S3 : 28/02/2018
S2 and S4 : 08/02/2018
Further information are available at the official website