Social challenges

Grants for Collaborative Projects, including Research, innovation close to market, Coordination and Support Actions, and other new schemes (i.e. prizes, innovative public procurement, etc…) oriented to Political Priorities and Challenges of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

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Rapid technological progress in working offshore in ever-deeper waters, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the need to look at how the 71 % of the planet that is seas and oceans can deliver human necessities such as food and energy in a sustainable way have opened up an opportunity for blue growth with the aim to harness the huge potential of Europe's oceans, seas and coasts for jobs and growth. This focus area addresses this overall challenge through five cross-cutting priority domains supporting the Blue Growth Agenda: valorising the diversity of marine life; sustainable harvesting the deep-sea resources; new offshore challenge; ocean observation technologies; and the socioeconomic dimension. The aim of the focus area is to improve the understanding of the complex interrelations between various maritime activities, technologies, including space enabled applications, and the marine environment to help boost the marine and maritime economy by accelerating its potential through R&I. It will enhance sectoral and cross-sectoral cooperation by building on major international, regional and national initiatives.

At present sea and ocean bio-resources provide 15% of the animal protein consumed globally; blue biotechnology has an expected yearly growth rate of 5 to 10%; deep-sea mineral extraction could gradually represent up to 10% of the world's minerals; marine renewable energy is rapidly extending to 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2020 and an exponentially rising 3.6 GW of sea and ocean energy by 2030. The Blue Growth economy in the EU is expected to grow to 7 million people employed by 2020. Actions in this area will support the EU 'Blue Growth' strategy and relevant EU policies (e.g. Sea Basins Strategies and Action Plans) as well as provide support for international cooperation.

To maximize the impacts of activities undertaken under this Focus Area, WP 2014-2015 will focus on key priorities for the EU, so as to mobilize the necessary critical mass to tackle these large cross-cutting challenges with adequate scale and scope.

The sustainable exploitation of the diversity of marine life will put emphasis in 2014 on valuing and mining marine biodiversity while 2015 will focus on the preservation and sustainable exploitation of marine ecosystems and climate change effects on marine living resources. The new offshore challenges will be tackled in 2014 through a support action (CSA) preparing potential further large –scale offshore initiatives and one initiative focused on sub-sea technologies while in 2015 a large scale initiative is planned on response to oil spill and maritime pollution. Also a large-scale initiative on improving ocean observation systems/technologies including novel monitoring systems for in-situ observations will be supported in 2014 as well as one activity on acoustic and imaging technologies. Finally, several horizontal activities regarding socio-economic issues, valorising research outcomes or engaging with society as well as projects targeting SMEs will be promoted in 2014.

In terms of international cooperation, the 'Blue Growth' Focus Area will support the new Atlantic Ocean Cooperation Research Alliance launched by the Galway Statement in May 2013.

Due to its high cross-cutting nature, this call integrates contributions coming from different parts of Societal Challenge 2, and from Societal Challenges 3 on 'Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy'; 4 on 'Smart, Green and Integrated Transport'; and 5 on 'Climate Action, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials', as well as from the Pillar on Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies. The call is also relevant for Societal Challenges 1 on 'Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing'; and 6 on 'Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies'.

Opportunities for tackling 'Blue Growth' challenges can also be found in other parts of the Work Programme such as in Societal Challenge 3 on 'Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy' regarding renewable electricity generation, electricity grids and storage technologies as well as in Societal Challenge 5 on 'Climate Action, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials' regarding climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem products and services, earth observation and the sustainable exploitation of raw materials, in the 'Leading Enabling and Industrial Technologies' part for the Advanced materials key enabling technology or in the 'Excellent Science' part for infrastructures.