Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

Now available the presentations given at the conference 'Ocean of Tomorrow projects: what results so far?

Blue Growth – Offshore challenges and opportunities

The second conference 'The Ocean of Tomorrow projects: what results so far?' took place on 27 November 2014 focused on offshore challenges and opportunities. (programme pdf - 70 KB [70 KB] and list of speakers pdf - 320 KB [320 KB] )

This conference was the second of its kind organised to provide visibility to the results of Ocean of Tomorrow projects and attracted more than 120 people from 28 countries. The first conference took place in March 2014 and focused on changes in the marine environment (presentations are available here).

John Bell, Director for the Bioeconomy within DG Research and Innovation, opened the Conference by emphasizing the innovative character of The Ocean of Tomorrow approach within FP7 and how this is also an important feature of the new European research program Horizon 2020 and in particular the Blue Growth Focus Area. He recalled the importance of marine innovation for the new Commission's agenda towards Jobs and Growth.

Bernhard Friess, Director for Atlantic, Outermost regions and Arctic within DG MARE underlined in his introduction the four reasons why there should be investment in marine research and innovation to ensure:

  •  sustainable exploitation of natural marine resources
  • technology development  in new business fields such as ocean energy and marine biotechnology
  • better use of the marine space
  • further consideration of the marine environments international dimension e.g. Galway statement concerning cooperation with the USA and Canada.

The first Conference session was dedicated to the results and progress from three projects on multi-use offshore platforms:

  • TROPOS pdf - 4 MB [4 MB] , that aims to  develop modular multi-use deep water offshore platforms for use in Mediterranean, subtropical and tropical areas
  • MERMAID pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] , dedicated to the planning, design and operation of multi-use offshore platforms in four different EU locations
  • H2Ocean pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] , that is exploring the possibilities to transform energy harvested offshore into hydrogen to facilitate its storage and transport.

The session continued with three presentations illustrating synergies between projects funded under The Ocean of Tomorrow calls and their complementarities with other maritime activities.  

  • The NEXOS pdf - 3 MB [3 MB] project dedicated to multifunctional sensors which could contribute to monitoring from offshore platforms.
  • The PERSEUS pdf - 9 MB [9 MB] project, funded as part of the FP7 Security Research program aims to deliver a comprehensive maritime surveillance system. This project is also cooperating with the TROPOS project concerning the security aspects of multi-use offshore platforms.
  • The view of the aquaculture sector concerning pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] offshore challenges and opportunities.

The afternoon was dedicated to the offshore wind sector and its potential. Two projects were presented:

  • LEANWIND pdf - 745 KB [745 KB] , whose main objective is to reduce the supply and life cycle costs of offshore wind farms.
  • CoCoNET pdf - 3 MB [3 MB] , concerning the study and development of networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Mediterranean and Black Sea within the space occupied by offshore wind farms and to the establishment of an atlas of wind energy potential for the region.

The last session comprised of a panel discussion with representatives of industry (ocean energy, wind energy, aquaculture) and regional authorities. The panelists were asked their view of the future of offshore activities and how they could take "ownership" so as to use the project results to support their industrial activities and provided economic benefits. The panel agreed that the projects did increase knowledge and supported emerging offshore activities, but recommended that the industry should be involved more in research projects from the beginning so as to facilitate knowledge transfer.

Other points emerging from the discussion included:

  1. the need for more coordination and synergies between different actors/users. In particular, build bridges between sectors and between public and private organisations
  2. the need to reinforce knowledge on the ecosystems and the potential impacts from offshore activities
  3. the importance of involving stakeholders during the development of the EU project and to foster and early dialogue with industry at the project design phase
  4. adding value by promoting the clustering of projects
  5. the need to address public perceptions concerning the acceptability of offshore multiuse platforms
  6. the importance of a new harmonised regulatory framework to facilitate innovation and to identify new models for financing and reducing the risk from private intervention,
  7. the need for financial support from national authorities to support larger scale demonstration activities
  8. more sharing of information and better disseminating research projects' results and their impacts.

The conference was opened with a video from the MERMAID project and closed with a video on the 'Ocean Sampling Day 2014'. Please find the links to both videos presented below: