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Research and innovation

Blue bioeconomy

What the blue bioeconomy is, and how research and innovation supports EU blue growth policy and the European Green Deal

How the blue bioeconomy supports blue growth

The blue bioeconomy relies on renewable, living aquatic resources such as algae, sponges, jellyfish or microorganisms to deliver a wide variety of products, processes and services.

To do this it capitalises on unprecedented advances in life sciences and biotechnologies.

Innovation in the blue bioeconomy includes

  • novel foods, nutraceuticals, food additives, animal feeds
  • pharmaceuticals and cosmetics
  • green chemicals and materials
  • enzymes for green industrial processing or decontamination

The blue economy plays an important part in the European Green Deal: it has a central role in reducing the pressure on the EU's land resources and tackling climate change.

Marine and aquatic research and innovation is essential to explore the best ways for the ocean to continue to be a healthy and productive life support system. 

The EU's bioeconomy strategy highlights how this can be done.

Project examples: innovating with algae

Algae is gaining widespread recognition in Europe as an important resource as a raw material for a wide range of uses.

A CORDIS results pack highlights 9 EU-funded projects that are investigating industrial processes and applications involving microalgae and seaweed.

Uses range from algae as a nutraceutical, as an organic sunscreen, for fertiliser and for treating wastewater.

EU countries join forces in Bluebio partnership

BlueBio ERA-NET Co-fund is a partnership between 27 partners from 16 countries with the ambition to strengthen Europe’s position in the blue bioeconomy. It has an overall budget of EUR 30 million and runs until 2023.

Its goal is to identify new and improve existing ways of bringing bio-based products and services to the market and creating value from the blue bioeconomy.

Areas include: identifying ocean biodiversity hotspots, applying IoT, machine learning and big data to the blue bioeconomy and harnessing microbiomes’ potential to support growth in aquaculture, fisheries, food processing, biotechnology and value from waste.

A healthy plastic-free Mediterranean: BlueMed pilot action

The EU’s bioeconomy strategy can contribute to restoring ecosystems, for example achieving plastic-free oceans and seas. The BlueMed pilot action – supported by 10 Mediterranean countries – is an initiative mobilising stakeholders, sharing knowledge and solutions, promoting partnerships and raising awareness to tackle plastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.

Read about the EU's blue growth policy