22 Dec BlueInvest Grants: Investing in Blue Innovation
The grants, offered by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme to SMEs in this blue economy window call for proposals shall help advance market-readiness of new products, services or processes. Activities could, for example, include trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real environment conditions, and market replication. The opening date was on 12 November 2020, and the deadline date is 16 February 2021 17:00:00 Brussels time.
A sustainable blue economy can also contribute significantly to European Green Deal objectives, including the biodiversity, circular economy, digital earth and farm to fork strategies and the transition to a climate-neutral economy. It can help communities and industries hit hard by the coronavirus or migration of key workers to recover through a more resilient economy with reduced carbon and environmental footprint and competitiveness on a global scale.
Also branded as ‘BlueInvest Grants’, this call for proposals belongs to a package of measures set up under the ‘BlueInvest platform’ encompassing assistance services for investment readiness and EUR 75 million worth of liquidity made available in 2020 for investing equity in funds specialising entirely or mostly in the blue economy or co-investing in particular companies.
The objectives of this call for proposals are to:
- Bring to market new products, services, processes, and business models in blue economy value chains and help advance their market-readiness.
- Develop sustainable and innovative blue economy in Europe’s sea basins.
- De-risk investment in these projects to facilitate their access to other financing schemes for the next stages of their activities.
The proposals should aim at developing business concepts further into a market-ready product, service or process aligned with the applicant’s blue economy growth strategy. Projects are therefore expected to reach Technology Readiness Level (TRL) between 6-8, as defined in the General Annex G of H2020 Work Programme.
In order to achieve the objectives above, proposals should aim to establishing new product and/or service and/or processes and/or business model in the blue economy value chains that contributes to one or more Commission political priorities, with a particular focus on the objectives targeted by the European Green Deal, including e.g. biodiversity, circular economy, digital earth and farm to fork strategies and the transition to a climate-neutral economy with reduced carbon and environmental footprint that is competitive on a global scale. They should also aim to shifting existing products and/or services and or processes and/or business model in the blue economy value chains towards the above mentioned political priorities and objectives.
A non-exhaustive list of relevant areas for the blue economy includes:
- The blue bioeconomy — the cultivation, husbandry or capture of living material from fresh or saltwater and activities based on the use or processing of this material
- Digital transformation of ocean and coastal activities
- Renewable energy — including energy from wind, sun (floating), tide, wave and thermal gradients; logistic or supporting activities in that area are covered
- Enabling technologies such as sensors, corrosion or biofouling resistant materials or coating, digitisation, electricity transmission equipment, multi-purpose platforms
- Production of new products from living or non-living resources that would otherwise be wasted
- Cleaner shipping
- Pollution monitoring, clean-up or management
- New facilities that support the diversification or energy efficiency of ports
- Sustainable tourism aiming at reducing its carbon footprint or enhancing biodiversity, or efficiently managing resources (e.g. water, food and waste) or tourist flows (e.g. diversifying offer, addressing seasonality and safety)
Excluded areas are:
- Exploration or extraction of gas and petroleum
Activities could, for example, include trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real- or close to real environment conditions, and market replication. Applicants must explain how their proposals will advance towards the commercial phase by improving the market-readiness of innovative products and services and demonstrating their benefit to potential clients.
Proposals should specify the concrete outcome of the projects in terms of new products and/or services and criteria for their market uptake. Particular attention should be paid to Intellectual Property protection and ownership; applicants will have to present convincing measures to ensure the possibility of commercial exploitation (‘freedom to operate’). Projects are expected to achieve the following impacts:
- Enhance SMEs profitability and growth performance,
- Generate a measurable social and environmental impact, contributing to EU policy priorities as, for example, climate neutral and circular economy (‘European Green Deal’), and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. SDG 14),
- Seize new market and business opportunities in the EU and beyond,
- Increase private investment in blue innovations, notably by leveraging private co-investment and/or follow-up investments,
- Demonstrate European added value, by contributing in a concrete way to EU growth, creation or maintenance of high quality jobs and, where relevant, to the EU’s sea-basin strategies,
- Help communities and industries hit hard by the coronavirus or migration of key workers to recover through a more resilient economy with reduced carbon and environmental footprint that is competitive on a global scale.
Applicants should justify how they address some or all of the expected impacts listed above. The expected impact should be clearly described in qualitative and quantitative terms (e.g. on turnover, employment, market size, IP management, sales, return on investment and profit).
You can find more information here.