But what are the barriers to such responsible development? What are the factors still preventing eco-friendly sectors from growing up and shaping up a sustainable ocean economy?
Having identified a few of them, the Commission has been piloting its recent policies and investments to overcome obstacles such as the mismatch between workers’ skills and labour market needs; the scattering of research efforts; and the conspicuous absence of funds to scale up promising projects from pilot to demonstration phase.
The latest Blue Economy Call (out this month, €18.7 million) takes an even more targeted approach by focussing on some specific needs of the maritime players. The Blue Labs section (€5 million) supports new, multidisciplinary partnerships between maritime stakeholders that can drive innovation forward in the blue economy. The Blue Careers section (€5.5 million) supports the development of innovative vocational training schemes that boost both industry engagement and entrepreneurial skills. And the blue economy grants (€8.2 million) help innovative technologies and services find the capital they need to become market ready.
The call is now open to applicants until 31 January 2019. An information session is scheduled on 22 November 2018 in Brussels. The event will showcase some of the most notable Blue Labs, Blue Careers and Blue Tech projects generated by the first call of this kind in 2016, and will explain in detail the new call and the application process.