The Black Sea is a vital resource with vast potential to boost the societal value of the blue economy for its surrounding countries. While the Black Sea is a unique sea basin that is rich in biodiversity, heritage, and natural resources, the basin is increasingly under pressure due mainly to the increasing impacts from human-induced factors, such as eutrophication and hypoxia, overfishing, and the introduction of alien species, in addition to the effects of climate change. In recognition of the importance of these and the significant influence of multi-stressors on the Black Sea ecosystems and its services, the Burgas Vision Paper (2018), the Common Maritime Agenda (CMA, 2019), and its Science Pillar the Black Sea Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA, 2019) emphasized the urgent need to identify multiple synergistic stressors (multi-stressors) interactions impacting ecosystem resilience and prioritized a set of actions for ‘a healthy, resilient and productive Black Sea by 2030’.
With that aim, Black Sea CONNECT CSA has been funded under EU H2020 in 2019 to support the consolidation and implementation of the Black Sea Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (Black Sea SRIA) and to boost the blue economy in the region. This way, Black Sea CONNECT aspires to develop and promote a shared vision for a productive, healthy, resilient, sustainable and better valued Black Sea.
On 2nd February, the Black Sea CONNECT Innovation Workshop will take place virtually to showcase the best practices of marine clusters initiatives to the eventual formation of a marine and maritime cluster of the Black Sea. The event will be kick-started with the high-level representatives from European Commission and continue with the presentation of the overall objectives of the workshop and testimony of the existing maritime clusters. The event’s highlight will be a session featuring successful stories and best practices from different blue economy sectors, allowing the meeting of nascent maritime and innovation clusters in the Black Sea with more developed European counterparts and driving their collaborative development of blue innovations for the region. Building on this session, an interactive panel will focus on how the blue economy can be funded in the Black Sea. The event will be wrapped up with emphasizing how H2020 funded BRIDGE-BS (Advancing Black Sea Research and Innovation to Co-Develop Blue Growth within Resilient Ecosystems) and DOORS (Developing Optimal and Open Research Support for the Black Sea) as the two main implementing actions further supporting the Black Sea SRIA will tackle innovation in the region in the coming years.
Black Sea CONNECT Innovation Workshop aims to bring together stakeholders from science and research, policy-making, industry, and business to enhance communication and collaboration for sustainable economic growth in the Black Sea. It will also provide direct input to the Black Sea SRIA Implementation Plan.