#Horizon2020 - This week’s information day on Horizon 2020 as a key investment driver for the marine sector highlighted the importance of ‘blue growth’ as an important opportunity for marine research in Ireland.
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.
This 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.
Speaking at the event hosted by the Marine Institute in Oranmore yesterday (Tuesday 12 December), Fiona Grant of the institute stated that “a strategic co-ordinated 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.”
A total of €239 million in dedicated blue growth funding is available between 2018 and 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 non-exclusive and non-exhaustive list of societal challenges across a broad range of blue growth areas in work programmes:
- 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.
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 co-operation 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 Horizon 2020 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.