The European Commission's Executive Agency for SMEs has published new Calls for Proposals for Blue Careers and Blue Labs: innovative solutions for maritime challenges under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Universities, research centres, non-profit organisations, enterprises including SMEs and public authorities are amongst those eligible to apply.
The deadline for applications for both calls is 31 May 2016.
A total budget of €3.45 million is available for projects in the field of skills' development for the blue economy. The aim is to fill existing skills' gaps by supporting activities that will increase the employability of various target groups in blue economy sectors (e.g. students, workers, unemployed people etc.). The applicant's choice of sector and target group has to be based on an analysis of the needs of the local or regional labour market and of the industry, including at cross-border level if relevant. Proposals are expected to be for around €500,000 to €700,000. It is expected that up to seven proposals will be funded.
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Blue Labs: innovative solutions for maritime challenges
This Call aims to promote innovative 'laboratories' - Blue Labs - to pilot new and viable solutions addressing selected maritime and marine challenges and opportunities in the blue economy. The focus of this action is to support a novel way of working, where young scientists supported by researchers, industry and local stakeholders, team up to develop innovative solutions to support the development of a sustainable blue economy, while preserving marine resources and ecosystems.
In order to ensure the EU added value of supported activities, the development of solutions must tailored to the specific problems or needs of one or more sea basins surrounding the EU coasts (Mediterranean, Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea).
The Blue Labs concept works at the interface between research and commercial exploitation so that results from research are taken forward to the market. By doing so, it aims at contributing to generate jobs and business opportunities in the blue economy.
Priority for this Call will be given to Blue Labs projects aimed at developing innovative solutions relating to one of the following topics:
Blue (bio)remediations: to exploit new metabolites and biomolecules, enzymes and genes from micro-organisms living in extreme marine environments; to develop and test (bio)remediation measures in different areas/places, including the possible re-use and recycling of hazardous materials.
Marine litter: to develop new technologies, tools and products to address mitigation and management of specific types of litter, including nanomaterials, micro-plastics and explosive litter.
Underwater cultural heritage: to develop new services, technologies or products (eg unmanned autonomous vehicles/robotic systems/etc.) to discover, protect and value underwater cultural heritage.
Invasive alien species and jelly fish proliferation: to develop new products, services and tools to address invasive alien species and/or jelly fish proliferation in the marine environment, including early detection, prevention, mitigation and management measures. Where relevant, management may include sustainable exploitation of the resources, for example jellyfish harvesting can be used for food, health and industrial applications.
A budget of €1.7 million is available. Proposals for around €200,000 to €500,000 are expected. It is anticipated that five to six proposals will be funded.
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