Maritime Forum

7 December event: details on the first Blue Bioeconomy Forum working groups' meeting

Published on: Thu, 29/11/2018 - 11:51
Table of Contents
    On 7 December, the working groups of the BBF will meet at the occasion of our first stakeholder event. This article provides further introduction to the working group sessions.

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    Overview of working group session topics:

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    On 7 December, the working groups of the BBF will meet at the occasion of our first stakeholder event. The objectives of the working group sessions are: to refine the findings of the Blue Bioeconomy State-of-Play report (under finalisation, abstract with list of key challenges available here), and to define priorities and next steps to overcome the identified challenges. The working groups sessions will therefore play a key role in the definition of the Blue Bioeconomy Roadmap.

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    Policy, environment and regulation:
    • Complexity of licensing procedures: blue bio projects face complex, unharmonized and lengthy licensing and permit procedures across Europe, that impede the development of the market, may distort competition within sea basin, and might not lead to the appropriate level of protection and regulation.
    • Environmental challenges: e.g. nutrient pollution, spreading of diseases, genotypical impacts on wild species, alien species invasion. The working group will review challenges both impacting and resulting from the blue bioeconomy, and what can be done to tackle them.

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    Finance and Business development:
    • Mismatch of private investors expected timeline of returns with Blue Bioeconomy initiatives: Venture Capital and Private Equity use a 10+2-year timeframe. Due to the nature of Blue Bioeconomy initiatives this timeframe is often too short. In addition, funding conditions are usually not adapted to the sector, which has a high volatility and large capital expenditures.
    • Lack of understanding from private market investors of the Blue Bioeconomy potential: most investors are not well educated about the risks of blue bio-business. Transparency, clarity and effective communication are central for gaining trust from investors.
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    Value chain, markets and consumers:
    • Lack of consumer awareness and consumer acceptance on bio-based products from aquatic or marine environments: the majority of the European consumers is not aware of the difference between bio-based and fossil-fuel based products. They are not aware of the beneficial aspects on ecological impact and recyclability of bio-based products compared to fossil-based products.
    • Lack of valorisation of side products from marine origin materials: side products can be used for a variety of adaptations: bio-based fertilisers, pharmaceutical & medicine, polymer & textile and food & nutraceutical products. Only a small fraction of marine biomass is presently used outside the food and feed sectors, but emerging market opportunities and completely novel applications for marine-derived compounds exist.

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    Science, technology and innovation:
    • Collaboration between academia (researchers) and industry; responding to the needs of end-users: Although European marine biotechnology activity has made significant progress over the past decade in building a research community, there is still a need to establish better links between researchers, industry and end-users. Mechanisms are also needed to promote technology transfer and support industry/academic collaborative approaches to develop markets and businesses.
    • Development, coordination, networking and improvement of technological research infrastructures to support marine biotechnology: The availability of a relevant and accessible research infrastructure comprising physical and human resources and capabilities is essential to continue the development and utilisation of outputs from marine biotechnology. To improve the EU research infrastructures landscape in Marine biotechnology, there are several areas where progress can still be achieved, such as: Increasing networks and collaboration; Developing infrastructure to support marine exploration; and creating access to research infrastructures facilities and data.

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