Press release: June 2023
The EMPORIA4KT project, funded by the INTERREG Atlantic Area programme, has held its concluding event in Gran Canaria, Spain on June 21st and 22nd, 2023, hosted by La Palma Research Centre. This event, titled Fostering Innovation through the Blue Economy: from the Canary Islands to the Atlantic Area perspective, was open to the public and counted nearly 100 live attendees who were able to actively participate either in-person or remotely or follow the event through a broadcast livestream.
Over two days the event sought to highlight the project’s key outputs, summarise how the EMPORIA4KT methodology has been applied to the Canary Island case study, provide a platform for the final sales pitch of the Canary Islands’ Blue Economy Technology Transfer programme and explore ideas for carrying on the legacy of the project through follow-on actions, initiatives and collaboration.
The event was opened by project manager Ana Sofia Esteves, NOVA, who provided participants a background of the project and an overview of the results. After playing the project’s summary video, Esteves demonstrated how the project website may be used to access the EMPORIA4KT Tools (such as the Blue Economy Risk Assessment Tool), the Blue Economy Dashboard and key documents published by the project (including two whitepapers and deliverables like a Joint Action Plan to Enhance the Blue Economy and an Assessment of Blue Economy State of the Art, among others). Later in the day, David Friedman, Strane Innovation, provided a further walkthrough of the website’s funding assistance pages: Fund Raising Networks and Resources.
The two days featured many interactive sessions that aimed to foster a debate regarding the application of EMPORIA4KT methodologies and findings to the betterment of innovation practices for overcoming challenges and meeting opportunities in the Blue Economy. On the first day Sara Reis, Frontier IP, gathered live audience feedback to demonstrate the competing priorities and trends in Blue Economy markets. Ana Sofia Esteves and Eva Mena, CEIMAR, hosted a panel to explore options for boosting the EMPORIA4KT training programme with project coordinator Aneesh Zutshi, NOVA, Cristina Cabeza, Regional Knowledge Agency of Andalusia AAC, Dario Bernal, General Coordinator of CEIMAR, and João Fernandes, EMPINO Lda. The discussion points from this forum were used to highlight potential post-project collaboration activities in a session hosted by Keegan Porter, AquaTT. The consortium and external attendees agreed to continue collaborating and highlighting further adaptations of the EMPORIA4KT model through the project’s LinkedIn group page.
The success of the event was elevated by the invited speakers, representing a variety of Blue Economy stakeholder sectors, who provided their unique insights through two roundtables on the second day. These featured guests included Elise Wattrelot, Executive Secretary of the CPMR Atlantic Arc Commission, Andrea Donda, Argo Progettare l’Europa, José Joaquín Hernández, CEO of the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), Raquel Silva, Anchoor project, Carla Melo, SIMBIENTE AÇORES – Engenharia e Gestão Ambiental, Lda., Neil Crabb, Frontier IP, Juan Carlos García Carrasco, Directorate of EU Programs and Territorial Cooperation at the Centre for Industrial Technological Development, Elena Ortega, Coordinator at the General Secretariat for Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy, Yoeli García López, Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias (Innovation department) and member of the Technical Office of the Canarian Blue Economy Strategy, Carlos Andrés Navarro Martínez, Director of the Canarian Agency for Research, Innovation and the Information Society and Patricia Fraile Romero, Archipiélago next.
The first roundtable examined the challenges and opportunities of Blue Economy Innovation while the other discussed policies and funding mechanisms for fostering them. These fora, introduced and hosted by Ana Fernandes, SPI, Isabel Martín, AMAYA-CENTA and Eva Mena were highly engaging as they featured speakers intimately involved in Blue Economy knowledge generation, transfer and application in the Atlantic Area. These roundtables also served as a platform for Macarena Ureña Mayenco, CTA, to unveil the newest whitepaper Canaries4KT: White Paper for the promotion of Blue Knowledge Transfer and Innovation in the Canary Islands. Physical copies of the publication were distributed at the event and remain available online in both Spanish and English.
The afternoon of the first day also featured the conclusion of the second iteration of the EMPORIA4KT Blue Economy Technology Transfer (BETT) programme. The audience first heard testimonies from former researchers of the programme Júlia Terra, Ken Russell and Sergio Santorio, and later Rozenn Le Vaillant, TQC, hosted an interview session with developers of early-stage technologies Alain Dinis, Ocean Streamer/Virtual Dive, Alexandre Paiva, NOVA and Ana Armanda Bras, LJMU. The culmination of the first day was the presentations by the three teams from the Canary Islands’ BETT programme:
- Floating Bubble Hotel – Joselin S. Rodríguez-Alcántara (ULL) & Chaitanya Suárez Rojas (ULPGC)
- Fast and Fishious! – Inma Herrera (ULPGC), Ángel Rivero Falcón (ITC) & Yolanda M. Lemes (AU)
- Use of Metabolites from Marine Algae for Anti-Parasitic Treatments – Tasnim Allaoui Dahlou (ITC) & Oliver Soliveres Acuyo (ITC)
Each group first delivered a “sales pitch” style presentation of their technology and their planned route to market, after which they each had to field questions from a jury of experts comprised of Elba Bueno, Cluster Marítimo de Canarias, Fernanda Llussá, NOVA, Juliana Monteiro, NOVA and Cristina Cabeza, AAC. The experts noted that all of the presentations were well-delivered and clearly demonstrated a creative and feasible pathway to impact for the technologies that took into consideration the whole spectrum of quadruple helix stakeholders. After some deliberation, the Fast and Fishious team was named as the winners of this year’s BETT programme.
After the workshop, the project partners were taken on a tour of key research infrastructures feeding into the Canarian Blue Economy, the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), the aquaculture research centre of the University of Las Palmas Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and the Spanish Bank of Algae (BEA).
As the project coordinator Aneesh Zutshi noted in his concluding remarks, throughout the two-day event, it was clear that the EMPORIA4KT programme has delivered on its goal of developing new knowledge transfer tools and methods for promoting research innovation in the Atlantic Area Blue Economy. Furthermore, there was recognition among all the participants in attendance that even as the project concludes, there are plenty of opportunities for future collaboration and networking to build on the foundation that has been laid by this highly successful project.
Notes for editor
The EMPORIA4KT project will run from 2019 – 2023 with an overall budget of approximately €2.8 million. EMPORIA4KT is funded by the European Union’s Interreg Atlantic Area European Regional Development Fund.
EMPORIA4KT is coordinated by Universidade Nova de Lisboa –Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (Nova School of Science and Technology). AquaTT is the project communication and dissemination partner. The project involves partners from Portugal, Ireland, France, Spain and the United Kingdom. Working collaboratively across these countries will enable the share of resources and knowledge by five countries with significant interest in the sustainable exploitation of marine resources.
For press enquiries, please contact Communications and Press Officer Keegan Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact project manager Sofia Dinis Esteves at email@example.com for more information on the project.
The views in this press release are the views of the author and do not reflect the views of the European Union.
In-person attendees of the EMPORIA4KT final event in Gran Canaria, Spain.
The researchers, academic mentors and technology mentors celebrate after being recognised for their participation in the EMPORIA4KT Blue Economy Technology Transfer programme.
The BETT winning team accept their award for their project Fast and Fishious! (From left to right) Yolanda M. Lemes, Inma Herrera, Ana Sofia Esteves (project manager) Ángel Rivero Falcón & Rozenn La Vaillant (WP7 Leader)