DG Mare – Atlantic Strategy–Public call

dgmareDG Mare has now issued a public call for suggestions for research and investment priorities within the Atlantic area.

The intention of the call is to generate a set of research and investment priorities to be brought under an Atlantic Strategy Action Plan, expected around April 2013.

The Action Plan is to help guide strategic public and private investment into marine projects which will help grow coastal economies and provide employment under the wider European Commission “Blue Growth” strategy

The Atlantic Strategy identifies 5 areas which the European Commission believes provide the best opportunities for growth and employment.  These are:  

  • Implementing the ecosystem approach (fisheries, aquaculture, marine conservation)
  • Reducing Europe’s carbon footprint (renewables, green transport, CCS)
  • Sustainable exploitation of the Atlantic seafloor’s natural resources (seabed mining, blue biotechnology)
  • Responding to threats and emergencies (safety, pollution, surveillance)
  • Socially inclusive growth (diversification, clusters, tourism, culture, recreation)

Examples of priorities within these might include:

  • Developing approaches to marine tourism – and links to hinterland waterways
  • Suggestions of specific growth clusters – e.g. bringing together growth of renewables activity with potential for cruise and other marine tourism; MPAs; role of NGOs etc
  • Research into invasive species – prevention, vectors, mitigation
  • Synergies between renewables and aquaculture initiatives
  • Cost and benefits of developing offshore aquaculture

Other possibilities are contained in the indicative list accessible from the link above.

It may also be useful to align research priorities to the broad headings set out in the Scottish science strategy, to ensure common direction between domestic and European funding streams.  These broad headings are:

  • Understanding the functioning of marine and freshwater ecosystems
  • Environmental change
  • Assigning economic and societal value to our natural assets to inform policy and planning decisions
  • Protecting Scotland’s natural assets for future generations in the face of competing pressures and threats
  • Improving Scotland’s economic and environmental performance

While the Atlantic Strategy and the Action Plan will have no binding legal status, it is expected to have some influence on spending of Structural Funds, EU Research funds (Horizon 2020) and on European Investment Bank funding decisions.

The European Commission wish to adopt a “bottom up” approach to developing a list of priority areas for investment and research across the 5 Member States that border the Atlantic Area (Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland and the UK).  It is important that Scottish stakeholders respond to this call as we expect considerable interest from other Member States. We would therefore encourage members of the Marine Strategy Forum (and other stakeholders) to send submissions directly to the Commission.  It would be helpful if you could also copy in myself or Anna Donald in doing so, so that we can retain an overview of interest from Scottish businesses and organisations.

Note that the Commission’s final deadline is 15 February.

Category: Consultations, EU Government News

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