An information day, 'Sustainable Growth in the Atlantic Area: H2020 – A Key Investment Driver,' on the new 2018-2020 Horizon 2020 Work Programme was hosted by the Marine Institute today (12th December 2017) in Galway. The event highlighted the importance of Blue Growth as one of the H2020 focus areas that represents an important opportunity for research actors in Ireland from both the public and private sectors to participate in international research collaborations supporting blue growth and delivery of the Atlantic Action Plan.
Since 2014, 27 Irish marine participating organisations have successfully partnered in 48 marine-related H2020 projects bringing a minimum of €24.9 million in EU grant-aid to Ireland. Our competitive record represents 7% of the total available drawdown for Ireland for a range of research, development and innovation projects, well in excess of the juste retour principle.
The Blue Growth Call aims to sustainably harness the potential of resources from seas, oceans and inland waters for different uses and across the range of marine and maritime industries, while protecting biodiversity and enhancing climate resilience. It supports sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors through a responsible management of marine resources for healthy, productive, safe, secure and resilient seas and oceans, which are essential for thriving ecosystems, climate regulation, global food security, human health, livelihoods and economies.
Speakers on the new 2018-2020 Horizon 2020 Work Programme
Speaking at the event, Fiona Grant, from the Marine Institute stated that "a strategic coordinated approach for marine and maritime research across all parts of Horizon 2020 is required as this will support the implementation of relevant EU policies to help deliver key Blue Growth objectives across Europe, including the EU Outermost Regions".
A total of € 239 million dedicated-Blue Growth funding is available between 2018-2020 to sustainably harvest the potential of aquatic and marine resources, while protecting biodiversity and enhancing climate resilience. Funding topics relevant to the marine and maritime sectors can be found under the following Societal Challenges across a broad range of Blue Growth areas in work programmes including:
- Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine and Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy and related areas
- Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy
- Smart, Green and Integrated Transport
- Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials
- Secure Societies - Protecting Freedom and Security of Europe and its Citizens
The list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive and further information is available from the National Contact Points.
Niall McDonough, Director of Policy, Innovation and Research Support services at the Marine Institute highlighted "the value of ongoing cooperation on marine and maritime research. Ireland has, in recent years, benefited from national and international partnerships, particularly where there have been coordinated approaches in supporting the EU Atlantic Action Plan. Sharing information, costs, results and best practices, as well as generating ideas for further areas of cooperation in maritime activities, is key to developing a sustainable blue economy in Ireland and the EU."
The support team for the Atlantic Action Plan provided information relating to H2020 National Contact Points, developing a winning proposal, the application process as well as innovation and access to risk finance. Speakers included: Joanne Laffey, Support Team for the Atlantic Action Plan, Marine Institute; Fiona Grant, H2020 NCP for SC2 (Marine), Marine Institute; Phillip Cheasty, NCP for SC3, Enterprise Ireland; Alice Wemaere, NCP for SC5, Environmental Protection Agency; David Murphy, Aqua TT; Seán Burke, NCP for SME Instrument, Enterprise Ireland; and Julie Clarke, Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions.
The Blue Growth Call is intended to deliver on a series of EU policies and international commitments such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and it also contributes to the following Focus Areas: 'Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future', 'Digitising and transforming European industry and services' and 'Connecting economic and environmental gains – the Circular Economy'. The actions are expected to support Europe's endeavours to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular in particular SDG 2 'Zero hunger', SDG 13 'Climate action' and SDG 14 'Life below water'.