The Blue Growth Horizontal Project supports the creation of the Mediterranean Innovation Alliance for Sustainable Blue Economy

In the framework of the the Blue Bioeconomy Innovation Forum, which took place in Sealogy Ferrara (IT), 18-19 November 2021.

The Mediterranean Innovation Alliance for Sustainable Blue Economy is an initiative of the BLUEBIOMED Interreg MED strategic project, it was launched as the outcome of a two-day physical event, the Blue Bioeconomy Innovation Forum, held on 18th & 19th of November in Ferrara, in the frame of Sealogy annual event. The overall objective was to gather MED stakeholders, to promote interconnections between European and Mediterranean initiatives and to launch the Innovation Alliance. The BLUEBIOMED Lead partner, ART-ER, highlighted that this initiative is not conceived as only a product of the project but as a wider, flexible and inclusive activity and shared the concept note of the Alliance.

The first day included a perspective of the main innovation opportunities in the sector of blue economy. The innovation towards blue sustainable development was addressed through the lens of three projects: Blue Growth Horizontal Project and BLUEBIOMED and B-BLUE strategic projects.

The Blue Growth HP represented by Ms Loukia Prentza (National Technical University of Athens - School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, NTUA), shared the activities of the Community related to bioeconomy that can be capitalized through the Innovation Alliance, including activities in the Marina platform, position papers and other strategic documents produced, the forthcoming Interreg MED Academy and specific tools developed by projects of the Community.

PANORAMED also underlined the importance of transformative innovation policy to address sustainable development challenges and the need to coordinate across level of government and across borders. In addition, the new European opportunities for innovation in blue bioeconomy were discussed by relevant organizations, such as JRC.

The day closed with a co-design session, where the key roles of the Alliance were defined, prioritized and further discussed through an interactive workshop. The 3 main roles proposed were: (1) Knowlegde and innovation upscalling, (2) Project ideation (Creation of new projects) and (3) Brokerage (Acting as a link between different ecosystems). The participants ranked the roles in terms of importance and proposed activities for their implementation.

The second day was dedicated to the "BLUE BIO MED Institutional Conference: The Mediterranean Innovation Alliance for the Green Blue Deal". It gathered several key actors of the blue economy in the Mediterranean, including key Euro-Mediterranean institutions (Union for the Mediterranean, WestMED, BlueMed, Interreg ADRION) as well as a variety of territorial actors (i.e. regional authorities, research centres, sectoral agencies, ministries).

It intended to officially launch the Alliance and bridge the transnational - European and Mediterranean - and the territorial - regional and national - perspective in innovation policy making. On this occasion, Mr Caterina Practicò (from CoNISMa, LB of the Blue Growth Community project) spoke on behalf of the Blue Growth Community (BGC) and presented the "Position Paper on Sustainable Blue Economy" developed by our Community.

This document aims to show to what extent the Blue Growth Community is in line with the European Commission Communication of 17th of May 2021 "on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU - Transforming the EU's Blue Economy for a Sustainable Future". Furthermore, it reveals how it can contribute to the achievement of those objectives regarding the Mediterranean area. For this reason, the BGC's Position included a series of considerations and recommendations to foster innovation in blue economy sectors in the Mediterranean.