Organized by the EU H2020 funded Black Sea CONNECT CSA, the Black Sea CONNECT Innovation Workshop took place online on February 2, 2022.
Aiming to bring together stakeholders from science and research, policymaking, industry, and business to improve communication and cooperation for sustainable economic growth in the Black Sea, the workshop was also planned to provide direct input to the Black Sea SRIA Implementation Plan.
With 245 distinct attendees in total, an active discussion took place among the participants and speakers throughout the event.
The workshop has kick-started with the opening remarks of Black Sea CONNECT coordinator Baris Salihoglu, Wendy Bonne from DG Research and Innovation, and Patrizia Busolini from DG for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
After the inspiring opening notes on the synergy opportunities in the Black Sea and the support of the European Commission, Emina Mamaca from one of the Black Sea CONNECT partners IFREMER summarized the structure and the significance of the event highlighting the main objective of the workshop and the result of a questionnaire that was held in the Black Sea region targeting the Blue Economy sectors and marine and maritime clusters.
Shortly after, participants had the chance to get informed about experiences in marine clusters, maritime growth accelerators, and different ways of connecting people, technologies, and opportunities for a sustainable and resilient blue economy from Guy Herrouin from Pôle Mer Méditerranée and Ilze Atanasova from Marine Cluster Bulgaria and BG CMA national Hub. The session, where prominent projects, applications, and practices in various fields were showcased, attracted great attention.
In this session moderated by Emina Mamaca, besides the successes of projects focusing on the maritime field; industrial companies that provide scientific and customized engineering services for marine and maritime solutions, SMEs, energy clusters, and scientific researches as innovation coming from the sea were also presented to set an example and inspire for further activities. Within the scope of the session, participants received detailed information on the success stories from different sectors about Starfish 4.0 Project – Safety and Tracking 4.0 Digital Technologies for Artisanal Fishermen, BLUEfasma, GALATEA projects; PLOATECH company, TerraSigna SME, energy cluster GCE Node, and innovative applications in healthcare.
After this inspiring session, an interactive session was held under the moderation of Adrian Stanica from GeoEcoMar with the participation of Panayotis Gavras from Black Sea Trade and Investment Bank, Rieko Kubota from World Bank, and Frédérick Herpers from Black Sea Assistance Mechanism of the Common Maritime Agenda who provided their insight on ensuring funding for the blue innovation in the Black Sea region.
Finally, how H2020 DOORS the Black Sea and H2020 BRIDGE Black Sea research and innovation actions as the main implementors of SRIA will implement innovation in the Black Sea was discussed. It was noted that DOORS Black Sea and BRIDGE Black Sea will progress in cooperation with each other with the objectives of realizing ecosystem services and Blue Growth sectors’ potential and providing support for entrepreneurship and demonstrating an accelerator platform to boost ocean digitalization and innovative industry 4.0 business models.
The workshop ended with Black Sea CONNECT co-coordinator Mustafa Yucel summarizing the highlights of the event. Like many keynote speakers, Mustafa Yucel also emphasized the necessity and importance of innovation in collaboration with other components such as policy, science, and society.