Successful first BlueBio Advisory Board meeting

On January 26th the newly appointed BlueBio Advisory Board had their first meeting. The board is appointed from 01.12.2021 until 31.05.2024, which is the end of the BlueBio ERA-NET Cofund.

The aim of the BlueBio Advisory Board is to support the BlueBio Cofund in the final 2,5 years. The board will help BlueBio make strategic decisions on the multiple activities within the cofund to maximise impact, add value to the funding scheme and funded projects, and create synergy and collaboration within the blue bioeconomy community. The main purpose is to assist BlueBio reaching its overarching goal – to unlock the potential of aquatic bioresources and bringing bio-based products and services to the market.

The members of the BlueBio Advisory Board were selected to represent the quadruple helix communities: public authorities, industry, academia and citizens. The members are:

  • Siri Carson (NTNU)
    Siri is the head of NTNU Oceans and associate professor of Applied Ethics at NTNU. She is the leader of AFINO which is a network and learning centre for responsible research and innovation in Norway and she leads Norway’s initiative in the UN Ocean Decade. Siri believes that there is a need to develop skills for cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration in order to solve the grand social and environmental challenges of our time.
  • David Bassett (EATiP) 
    David is the Secretary General at EATIP – European Aquaculture Technology & Innovation Platform. He is responsible for the day-to-day management and strategic coordination of this European aquaculture technology and innovation platform. EATiP represents all aquaculture species, where 65% of the membership is industry and the rest is academia and research.
  • Dirk Carrez (BIC) 
    Dirk is the Executive Director of Bio-based Industries Consortium – BIC and a part of EuropaBio with responsibility for industrial biotech. Dirk Carrez is also Vice-Chair of BIAC’s (Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD) Biotechnology Committee, a member of several European and national advisory bodies in the area of the biobased economy, and Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne.
  • Helena Vieira (DGPM) 
    Helena is the Director General of Maritime Policy, DGPM at the Ministry of the Sea in Portugal. She has chaired and been a part of various committees and boards concerning blue bioeconomy, bio-based industries and alliances. She is a molecular biologist and holds a post-graduation in Leadership & Strategy in Pharma & Biotech, a PhD in Biomedicine and a degree in Biology – Genetics & Microbiology specialization.
  • Nikos Zampoukas (DG RTD) 
    Nikos is a Policy Officer of the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, B4 Healthy Seas and Oceans. He is a biologist and has a PhD in Biological Oceanography. He is author and editor of JRC scientific and technical reports supporting the Common Implementation Strategy of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). 

In the first meeting of the BlueBio Advisory board, Kristin Thorud, the BlueBio Cofund coordinator, introduced BlueBio as a funding mechanism with a value chain approach, where R&I gaps are identified to inform the call topics with the aim of a complete project portfolio. On behalf of the BlueBio Cofund consortium, she then invited the Advisory Board to give advice on how to maximize impact and how to frame the last Call.

The Advisory Board discussed how BlueBio can maximise impact, particularly through training and Human Capacity Building (HCB). Training and finding synergies linking projects is part of the planned work for BlueBio and

the Advisory Board noted that the aim of the course should be clear, i.e. to improve the skills and promote impact within the project, or improve the general Blue Bioeconomy skills of stakeholders – these would require different solutions. Interaction between projects and entrepreneurship and links with industry could be particularly interesting.

Point 2. Going forward with 3rd Additional Call.

For the fourth BlueBio call (the 3rd Additional Call), the Advisory Board were given an introduction to the process in the Cofund thus far. A survey that was conducted indicates partner interest in an “impact call” on knowledge transfer, bringing projects to higher TRL level, and “R&I call” on mesopelagic resources and marine microbiomes are topics of interest for some funders.

The Advisory Board suggested to see if there is a possibility for a dialogue on topics and coordination with the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership (SBE) as it is comprehensive, and this might it be an opportunity for doing something more targeted in the BlueBio Cofund. The EEA is a parallel that is filling the gap between national and regional funding and the large European consortia, where funding can leverage participation and help projects prepare for larger initiatives, i.e. for the SBE calls or future Mission calls. More targeted funding opportunities were also suggested, like helping projects on IP on outputs, tech transfer or negotiating contracts. Small envelopes of funding can help projects to finalize, upgrade or even go to pilot. Many companies in the blue sector are young, innovative projects with little resources, and such funding could help bring research to another level.

The next BlueBio Advisory Board meeting will take place in September 2022