On 18-19 November 2021 the BLUE BIO MED project organised the Blue Bioeconomy Innovation Forum at SEALOGY (European Blue Economy exhibition) in Ferrara (Italy) and online, and gathered over 100 persons in two days. BLUE BIO MED, in collaboration with PANORAMED, B-BLUE and the Blue Growth Community Interreg MED projects, brought together representatives of Mediterranean transnational organisations and strategies, as well as European institutions responsible for innovation policies and programmes relevant for the Mediterranean blue bioeconomy. On this occasion, the Sustainable Blue Bioeconomy Mediterranean Innovation Alliance was officially launched. It is conceived as an open platform to enhance and streamline efforts ongoing both at transnational and territorial levels to build on innovation to move towards sustainable development in blue bioeconomy.
The process of starting-up the Alliance is supported by BLUE BIO MED, B-BLUE, BLUE GROWTH COMMUNITY and PANORAMED, and it is expected to last until the end of summer 2022. It aims at building a community of people and a network of organisations that share their experiences and actions looking at the 2030 horizon. The constitution of the Alliance will be consolidated via the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding among the members and the establishment of an internal governing structure. Thus, the Alliance represents an opportunity for innovation of blue bioeconomy in the Mediterranean.
Tatiana Fernández, Head of Economic Promotion at the Government of Catalonia, stressed that “nowadays, it is important to improve multilevel governance, but a much more urgent issue is to create tools to encourage stakeholders to address collectively the MED challenges, and the Alliance represents one of these tools”. As a matter of fact, the governance of innovation policies in the blue bioeconomy is characterised by a complex interplay of policies promoting innovation at different scales, where the participation of stakeholders is key to develop and implement innovation policies.
Meanwhile, Lourdes Reig, Vice-rector for International Policy at the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, explained that “the Alliance has the role of a permanent call to action for a sustainable Mediterranean, as well as a space to share visions committed to innovation, enrich diversity, higher the level of ambition and drive forces to define and implement clear actions for the Mediterranean.” Ms Reig emphasised the spirit of collaboration that features the Alliance and that aims to build up a better, and more sustainable, future in the Mediterranean area.
Cristian Chiavetta, from the Department for Sustainability of ENEA, the leading partner of B-BLUE, stressed that “structuring and formalising the Alliance could be an added value to the effort we are already making within the B-BLUE project. The idea is to have a focus on specific challenges, and this could be the way to promote a regenerative and sustainable blue bioeconomy at Mediterranean level.” In this scenario, also the B-BLUE project itself has a crucial role, since it contributes to gather key actors of the Med blue biotechnology sector and increase their innovation capacity and coordination through the activities of the Blue Biotechnologies HUBs, the project activated in 5 pilot areas around the Mediterranean.
Loukia Prentza, Project Manager at the National Technical University of Athens, partner of the BLUE GROWTH COMMUNITY, explained that “through the participation to the Innovation Alliance, we aspire to reach new networks, to establish a constant dialogue with other experts and to adopt new interest in research on emerging sectors, such as blue biotechnology.” Ms Prentza added that they plan to contribute to the Alliance with their experience on skills development and technical innovation, in order to achieve the interdisciplinary approach needed to develop new ideas.
Moving towards a more practical vision of the Alliance, Fabio Fava, Professor at the University of Bologna, representative of the BLUEMED initiative and member of the “National Bioeconomy Coordination Board” (CNBBSV) – IT Presidency of Council Ministers, explained that “today the blue bio economy has a crucial role in the Mediterranean, since it reduces CO2 and pollution levels.” Indeed, one of the main objectives of the Green Deal is reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. As a matter of fact, CO2 emissions have a threatening effect on marine environments and life, as they foster ocean’s acidification and increase marine species and ecosystems’ vulnerability.
On the other hand, Gian Marco Luna, Director of the Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Biotechnology of the National Research Council of Italy, stressed that “research can be crucial to foster growth within blue bioeconomy in Europe.” Indeed, the Alliance highly encourages the participation of, among others, Research entities.
All these actors are now working towards the consolidation of the Alliance and the implementation of activities to further promote and develop it.
Learn more on the Innovation Alliance open to all Mediterranean stakeholders joining the Call to action for a Mediterranean Blue Innovation Deal and undersigning the letter of adhesion!
 These three projects are all co-financed by the Interreg MED Programme. PANORAMED is the axis 4 Platform project focusing on governance that dedicates a part of its activities to innovation (through its Work Package 10 in Innovation). It is in the framework of PANORAMED that the 2 strategic projects on innovation (namely B-BLUE and BLUE BIO MED) were funded and launched.
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