April 11, 2016
EC invests 7.67 million euros to boost innovation in marine sector
The European Commission (EC) said it is investing over €7.67 million (US$8.75 million) to boost innovation and create jobs in the marine sector.
It said innovation in sectors like aquaculture, biotechnology and ocean energy is vital for the blue economy to thrive, but that certain bottlenecks, such as the lack of high-skilled professionals, under-investment in knowledge and technology, and slow progress from research results to the commercial stage need to be addressed. The blue economy aims to balance environmental sustainability with building up social capital, raising income and creating jobs.
The allotted money will be invested in the key areas where the EU thinks it can have the biggest impact: skills, creativity and technology.
Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella said that with the investment, the EC "is taking another step to create the conditions for blue growth in Europe".
"We are developing skills. We are rewarding creativity. We are boosting technology. Armed with these assets, I am convinced that the European maritime industry can become a global pioneer of blue growth", he said.
Of the €7.67-million investment, €3.45 million ($3.94 million) will be made available to equip job-seekers with useful skills necessary for the marine economy, re-train those willing to join the sector, and help people already working within the sector to progress in their career.
Some €1.7 million ($1.94 million) would be used to promote innovative "laboratories", where students and recent postgraduates team up with experienced tutors from the local business community and the public sector to address marine issues, while a total of €2.52 million ($2.9 million) would be utilised to encourage public-private partnerships that will support the transfer of new technologies and research results into commercial applications.