This action aims at promoting innovative "laboratories" (hereinafter called Blue Labs) to pilot new and economically viable solutions addressing selected maritime and marine challenges and opportunities. The focus of this action is to support young scientists supported by experienced researchers, industry and local stakeholders, to team up and develop innovative technologies, products and services in support of a sustainable blue economy, preserving marine resources and ecosystems.
The Blue Labs concept works at the interface between research and commercial exploitation, testing and piloting innovative products and services so that results from research are taken forward closer to the market.
In order to ensure the EU added value of supported activities, the development of solutions has to be tailored to the specific problems or needs of one or more sea basins or sub-sea basin surrounding the EU coasts (e.g. Mediterranean, Western-Mediterranean, Adriatic-Ionian Seas, Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea).
The proposals submitted under this topic must develop the following specific elements:
solid partnerships between maritime stakeholders and fostering multidisciplinary approaches and combination of competences from businesses, the public sector and research bodies;
enhanced cooperation and coordination amongst maritime stakeholders at local, regional or even sea basin levels.
Blue Lab definition:
For the purpose of this call, a "Blue Lab" is the collective endeavour to develop a new idea and to apply it in the maritime domain and/or marine environment. It provides the organizational space for collaborative and multidisciplinary work. A Blue Lab shall be:
- Result-oriented: resulting in a tangible deliverable, such as a pre-marketable service, product or prototype;
- Multidisciplinary: developed by involving businesses, researchers, young scientists (e.g. post-graduate students, recent post-graduates, other students) and, if relevant, other entities such as local authorities, NGOs etc.; and bringing different disciplines together into a common project idea development.
- Stakeholder driven: being designed and implemented in cooperation with at least one private partner and in consultation with a group of relevant partners (e.g. research bodies, businesses and local authorities).
For this topic, we seek to fund projects that will develop innovative solutions relating to one of the following themes. Applicants must select only one of the following specific themes per proposal:
1. Blue bio-remediation: e.g. exploiting metabolites, biomolecules, enzymes and genes from micro-organisms living in extreme marine environments in order to develop new technologies, products or services which can solve problems such as pollution, disposal of hazardous materials, etc.;
2. Unexploded ordnances at sea: e.g. development of innovative solutions and tools (algorithm, artificial intelligence systems, methods and standards) to identify and recognize different types of unexploded ordnances, to detect their deterioration (e.g. corrosion state, release of toxins, movement) and their impact on the environment, to disarm, safely remove and demolish ammunition from the sea, including to sense and neutralise chemical agents.
3. Innovative marina and leisure boat design: e.g. development of technological solutions/products and services for marinas to adapt to changing demand from customers (e.g. access to marinas and boats for an ageing population; ICT-oriented requirements from young people) and/or address environmental challenges (e.g. safe dismantling and recycling of leisure boats);
4. Marine biomass and blue-bioeconomy: e.g. development of new technological solutions/products and approaches to add value to otherwise low value marine biomass, including jellyfish, algae, mollusc shells, and fish (also fish products for non-direct human consumption);
5. Ecofriendly aquaculture : e.g. establishment of new markets, product support, and adaptation of existing production towards the most eco-friendly and sustainable practices such as multi-species, multi-product production (e.g. Integrated MultiTrophic Aquaculture and aquaponics).
EASME intends to fund at least one project for each of the above themes.
As part of the evaluation process, priority will be given to proposals that build on the outcome of prior research or applied research projects, whether EU-funded or supported from other sources. In this context, proposals shall describe how they build on, complement and differ from finalised or ongoing research and innovation projects, including from EU programmes, if relevant. Where a proposal will operate in a particular sea basin in which a sea basin strategy or similar initiative exists, priority will be given to proposals that explain how they contribute to the objectives of the relevant sea basin strategy or initiative.
Applicants have to list the main results expected from the project. The expected results to be achieved by the end of the project must be concrete, realistic and quantified as far as possible.
Proposals must clearly describe the specific results of the project for each of the following elements:
New services/products/tools relating to selected marine/maritime challenges/opportunities developed at pilot or pre-commercial stage;
Partnerships combining multidisciplinary competences from businesses, the public sector and research bodies, and integrating local knowledge, resulting in an increased capacity to drive innovation forward;
 freshwater/inland aquaculture is included.
 Sea basins strategies and other relevant sea basin information for the Atlantic, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean or North Sea:
 Results: capture more direct, short to medium term changes in a situation, which are achieved by the end of the project. E.g. If four FTE jobs are expected to be created by the end of the project, this will be an expected project result.
Dateline for submission: 31 January 2019 17:00:00 Brussels time
Source: The European Commission
Illustration Photo: Virginia Institute of Marine Science graduate student and Virginia Sea Grant graduate research fellow Jingwei Song on July 26, 2018. Under climate change Speckled Trout populations are projected to migrate northward in Virginia. By understanding the cold tolerance of the species, we can better project future distribution of the trout. Song's research works with recreational fisherman to experience the species firsthand and looks into the genetics and physiological component of the species. (credits: Lisa Sadler / Virginia Sea Grant / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0))