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Paving the way for the blue transformation

Experts from across sectors and disciplines participated in a series of workshops organised by the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership this autumn. Among them were three thematic forward-looking workshops where participants reflected on the state of play and developed recommendations for the future of the Partnership, as it is updating its Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA).  

“Co-creating the impact driven Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda is a sizeable endeavour. Through the support by renowned experts from the science, industry and the wider science-policy community we were able to develop excellent recommendations we can now build on,“ says Benjamin Kürten of Research Centre Jülich, leading the Partnership work package on strategic co-design.  

Innovative governance

A workshop held on 26 September 2023 in Brussels centred on the leverage potential of innovative governance for the blue transformation by enabling policy, regulation and funding frameworks to induce sustainable innovation. The discussion highlighted the increasing emphasis on stakeholder and citizen engagement. Participants covered local, national and European perspectives and represented civil society, industry, science, and policy-makers. One of the recommendations from the workshop, was that the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership should seek to strengthen the communication between policy, science, society, and industry in the development of legal frameworks. This should be reflected, through the addition of specific requirements, in the activities and co-funded calls planned in the coming years. 



Ocean Observation 

Experts from national research agencies and institutes, European oceanographic observation networks, international organisations, and globally operating industry representatives came together on 27 September 2023 in Brussels for a workshop on ’Ocean observation in the Blue Economy’. The immense value of ocean data and information was underlined, although the fundamental challenges prevail in the European ocean observation, such as a complex and fragmented landscape, limited access to data, and lack of sustained funding of ocean observing and monitoring systems. The participants discussed how the Partnership could support ocean observation as an essential foundation for the transformation to a sustainable blue economy. Considerations were given to opportunities for project-based funding, to potential mechanisms for systemic strengthening of European ocean observing, to acting as a multiplier for distributing messages about observing needs and benefits, and to engaging European Union Member States in the process. In the discussion, emerging new ocean observation technologies and the digital twin of the ocean were identified as key enablers for a sustainable blue economy.  


An inclusive and just blue economy 

How the Partnership can support multidisciplinarity and the involvement of social scientists and humanists in research and innovation related to the blue economy was the topic of a dedicated workshop, which took place on 3-4 October 2023 in Venice. The workshop brought together experts and researchers from a range of social science and humanities disciplines. The discussion spanned from the advantages and needs for multidisciplinary approaches to obstacles and best practices for making it happen. Participants emphasized that all relevant disciplines need to be included to reach the goals of the Partnership. They developed concrete advice on how co-design and collaboration across disciplines could be done effectively, both at the level of R&I projects and in programming partnership activities.