© John Lord
© John Lord

UCC-led MARIBE seeks €120m funding

The University College Cork (UCC)-led Marine Investment in the Blue Economy (MARIBE) consortium is to seek €120m in funding, having been encouraged by those targeting the marine economy.

MARIBE is led by the Marine Renewable Energy (MaREI) Centre at the National University of Ireland, UCC. A total of 11 partners – research institutions, SMEs and start-ups – from Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Malta and the Netherlands contribute to the project.

According to the European Commission, the blue economy represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500bn a year.

However, as maritime activity increases, so does the competition for space as coastal areas become overcrowded.

MARIBE is set to recommend in its report to the European Commission that €120m be made available in the next round of Horizon 2020 funding for further development of multi-use ocean space projects.

Chair of the International Consortium of Research Staff Association (ICoRSA), Dr Gordon Dalton, said: “The multi-use of space projects that MARIBE works with offers the potential for great benefits in the form of clean energy and sustainable food sources. We have demonstrated that the projects are financially viable at commercial stage and that real cost savings are produced as a result of the shared use of space.”

New and emerging industries can benefit from the synergies created, increasing their chances of survival and enabling future growth.

These sectors are often referred to as blue growth industries, consisting of marine renewable energy, aquaculture, marine biotechnology and seabed mining. By developing blue growth industries and encouraging the smarter use of our seas, MARIBE hopes to fulfil its aim of promoting job growth.