BlueBio logo

BlueBio Call Announcement
Deadline: 17 Mar 2019   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono BlueBio

 Fisheries and Food
 Maritime Affaires and Fisheries
 Agricultural Biotechnology
 Medical Biotechnology


1.1. The ERA-NET Cofund BlueBio

The ERA-NET Cofund on Blue Bioeconomy - Unlocking the Potential of Aquatic Bioresources (BlueBio) successfully continues the work of the ERA-NET Marine Biotechnology1 (ERA-MBT, 2012 - 2017) and COFASP2 (2012-2017) and has been developed under the umbrella of JPI Oceans.

The ERA-NET Cofund instrument under Horizon 2020 is designed to support public-public partnerships between Member States and associated countries for the implementation and coordination of networking activities. The ERA-NET Cofund BlueBio launches calls for proposals in accordance with the JPI Oceans Operational Plan and tackles common priorities as described by the ERA-NET.

BlueBio consists of a network of 28 partners from 17 European countries.

1.2. The objectives of the BlueBio network

BlueBio aims at achieving a sustainable and competitive Blue Bioeconomy in Europe. The goal is to generate knowledge for Blue Bioeconomy value chains and improve the transfer of bio-based products and services from research, innovation and demonstrations to production scale implementing the multi-actor-approach. BlueBio contributes to the production of safe, nutritious and valuable bio- products and services, while applying the food first principle. BlueBio launches calls to attract projects that work on the use and value-added of aquatic biomass in integrated value chains from primary production to processing, generating innovative products and services within the bioeconomy. The aquatic biomass can be either caught, harvested or produced in marine or freshwater in water or on land. Alternative uses of waste from production as a resource shall be enhanced to promote the concept of a circular economy. Consequences of new methods or products shall be considered from a wider value chain perspective.

BlueBio will address needs as gaps along the Blue Bioeconomy value chain(s), from biomass to products and markets and consumers as visualised in Figure 1. The figure also demonstrates relevant crosscutting R&I areas.

The aim of establishing a coordinated R&D funding scheme is contribute to the development of research-based innovations and to strengthen Europe’s position in this complex economic field in a global market. The basis for this approach builds on the overlapping needs uncovered by the strategic work of the Marine Biotechnology Strategic Research and Innovation Road map developed by ERA- MBT, the Strategic Research Agenda of COFASP, and the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of JPI Oceans.


Figure 1: Blue Bio addresses research and innovation areas along the Blue Bioeconomy value chains from biomass to products and markets. The figure also shows relevant crosscutting R&I areas in the lower part of the figure

The stimulation of new R&I, synergies and collaboration with industries, both off-shore and land- based, will be sought, especially with SMEs. This will include improving integration of the biotechnology toolbox and knowledge within industrial sectors.



The following partner countries will provide funds to the call: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden.

Proposals may have a research; research and innovation; or demonstration purpose depending on the scope of the project and the funding agencies involved in funding the partners. Industry involvement is mandatory to ensure an applied perspective and industry relevance. Using new methods and technologies may require multidisciplinary approaches where the development of toolboxes and enabling technologies may be an integrated part. Project proposals with Technology Readiness Level up to 7 will be accepted provided the funding agencies in question can fund them. Projects should propose advancements in TRL levels during their lifetime.



Funding for transnational projects is based on a virtual common pot instrument. This means that applicants granted funding will receive the grant directly from their national/regional funding institution in accordance with their terms and conditions.

The applicants to this call will get guidance from the Call Secretariat and the National Contacts of the BlueBio consortium listed in Annex 1. The participation of applicants not requesting funding from partner countries of the consortium or other countries is allowed. Applicants not requesting funding have to bring their own funds. In this case, a letter of commitment must be provided upon submitting

the pre-proposal. These partners are not considered in the required minimum number of eligible partners and countries and cannot apply as coordinators of the research proposal consortium. Their participation will not affect the selection process.

Applicants should be aware that in some countries different funding organisations participate in the call with different administrative rules. Therefore, applicants are strongly advised to consider National Regulations published in Annex 5 of this document. Applicants (coordinators and partners) should contact the national or regional funding bodies prior to submission of the pre-proposal for further information.

The non-eligibility of a partner in a consortium may result in the rejection of the entire proposal. The proposal evaluation and selection process will be done by a two-step procedure. All documents related to the Call (Call Announcement, Guidelines for Applicants, National Contact Persons, Templates for Letters of Commitment etc.) are available on

For questions related to the proposal submission and technical issues regarding the submission system, please contact Project Management Jülich (

Figure 2 TRL and BlueBio range (accepted TRLs marked in blue)




3.1. Value chain approach

In general projects should explore innovative, yet sustainable and climate-friendly utilisation of aquatic biomass at different trophic levels, as well as sustainable harvesting, and novel aquaculture production systems targeting a range of existing or new markets, products (food, feed, chemistry, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, etc. applying a food first principle). The aim is to create, test, upscale and bring to the market new knowledge-intensive products and services derived from a diversity of aquatic biomass. The aquatic biomass in question may have either marine or freshwater origin. Projects may also seek synergies with land-based production. Projects should describe which part of the value chain being focused and give an indication of the technology readiness level (TRL) before and after the project. For projects that only focus on part of the value chain, impact and consequences of new methods or products should be considered in a wider value chain perspective.

Figure 3: Elements to consider for development or improvement along the blue bioeconomy value chain

The proposals should seek to be complementary with or adding to other projects funded under FP7 and Horizon 2020, ERA-NETs, BBI JU or other funding schemes, both ongoing and recently finished. They should reflect awareness of the objectives of running projects in relevant fields to avoid overlap. Furthermore, any utilization of resources from salt- and freshwater should be in line with the Nagoya Protocol3. The beneficiaries must carry out the action in compliance with ethical principles, including the highest standards of research integrity, and applicable international, EU and national law.

The BlueBio consortium will aim at creating a community and stimulate synergy and networking among thematically related ongoing projects. Participation in such networking should be envisaged. The priority areas are of equal priority and may overlap. Proposals should address one or more of the priority areas.



Priority area 1: Exploring new resources

The biodiversity of marine and freshwater bioresources have been widely unexplored, while at the same time several traditional species in fisheries have been subject to overexploitation. Expansion of aquaculture may also have negative impact on fish stocks. Innovative, sustainable and climate- friendly utilisation of aquatic biomass at different trophic levels needs to be explored to increase sustainability and development of the blue bioeconomy. Omics technologies makes it possible to target new genetic resources and biomolecules and play a major role in predicting changes in biodiversity and identify new species and their potential value. In particular, microbiomes have an unexplored potential to support growth in aquaculture, fisheries, food processing and biotechnology. By applying the 3R principle of ‘Reducing, Reusing and Recycling’ waste and underutilised material from fisheries and aquaculture need to be addressed as a resource to achieve zero waste and support a circular economy. Explored biomass can be used as food or as input for other products and services targeting a range of markets. In all cases the food first principle should be applied.

Projects should seek to:

  • Develop innovative uses for waste and underutilised material from fisheries and aquaculture to achieve zero waste.

  • Develop aquatic biomass like e. g. algae and marine invertebrates to extract value in sustainable value chains and biorefinery processes.

  • Unlock the potential of microbiomes to support growth in aquaculture, fisheries, food processing and biotechnology

  • Create predictive tools to improve the identification and targeting of biodiversity “hot-spots” in the oceans, e.g. by use of omics-based technologies

  • Introduce new species for improvement of aquaculture and fisheries

Priority area 2: Exploring improvements in fisheries and aquaculture

Aquatic biomass can ensure future food and nutrition security, supply for aquatic commodities and European competitiveness by sustainably cultivating, harvesting and processing resources. Sustainable production and consumption of aquatic bioproducts with reduced impact on the environment and climate can only be achieved if all actors work together, addressing and improving all activities along the value chain, from researchers and producers to end-users. New methods and technologies to improve production may require transdisciplinary approaches where further development of toolboxes and technologies may be an integrated part to ensure all three pillars of sustainability, economic, environmental and social - also known informally as profits, planet and people. These improvements shall contribute to meet consumer demands. Projects should seek to:

• Apply a combination of methods, processes, technologies and novel resources such as biotechnology to: create innovative feeds; improve brood stocks; improve biosecurity; define stock baselines; assess stock



Priority area 3: Exploring synergies across sectors

Benefits created by linkages and interactions between different sectors are often overlooked. However, knowledge exchange and the creation of synergies are of utmost importance to achieve a long-term sustainability of the blue bioeconomy value chains. Aquaculture and fisheries create "Blue-Blue" synergies. Furthermore, sector-wide assessments could also result in offering synergies between marine and freshwater sectors on the one hand and land-based production on the other hand. Possibilities for synergies with land-based food and feed production and processing, biorefining, bioenergy, biomaterials, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, chemicals and nutrients in a bioeconomy and circular bioeconomy perspective are numerous. Nutrient circulations are a good example of potential cross-sectoral "Blue-Green" synergies between fisheries, aquaculture, and agriculture. Significant synergies have arisen through the development of genomics tools, contributing to advances in aquaculture, biodiscovery, ecotoxicology, and the understanding of population structure and dynamics and local adaptations.
Projects should seek to:

  • Create synergies between aquaculture and fisheries (e.g through genetic assessment).

  • Explore synergies with land-based production in areas such as food and feed production and processing, biorefining, bioenergy, biomaterials, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, chemicals and nutrients or maximising the use of aquatic bioresources in terrestrial value chains.

Priority area 4: Exploring Biotechnology and ICT

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) facilitate communication in the sense of information sharing and dialogue as well as in the sense of processing of information by electronic means. If biotechnology and the latest developments in ICT like Internet of Things or artificial intelligence and big data are combined they will enrich future research and innovation and stimulate the development of the Blue Bioeconomy in many ways. Both technologies should be used along the value chain, from resource assessment, capture or culture to processing and commercialization, conversion and market to develop smart, efficient and traceable food systems and a sustainable blue bioeconomy. Calculating trends and forecasts on future demand and supply for seafood could also be addressed to close data gaps and contribute to big data solutions Projects should seek to:

  • Apply biotechnology and ICT to develop smart, efficient, traceable aquatic food systems

  • Apply the latest developments in ICT (IoT, machine learning, big data) to the Blue Bioeconomy.


3.2. Responsible Research and Innovation

Research, innovation and technological developments leading to societal changes and new products in the markets, need to be addressed in a coherent way based on a framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). This call refers to a framework adapted from the former Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the UK (2013) as well as from The Research Council of Norway's RRI-framework (2015). This approach to RRI is also endorsed by the European "RRI-Practice project" ( RRI invites us to deliberate fundamental questions related to what kind of futures we want science, technology and innovation to bring into the world (see Annex 5). Key issues and process dimensions of RRI are shown in figure 4.

Figure 4: RRI – Key issues and process dimensions

Such deliberations depend on activities utilizing the project's scope to initiate learning processes and experiments giving insight and understanding among the project participants, stakeholders and the larger community. Projects are required to respond to the need for building competence and skills as indicated in the framework and include a plan for how this is addressed in the project. This can be either as a separate work package or directly by working with the deliverables in the project. Inclusion of specific competence and budget may be necessary.

In order to implement the RRI aspects we expect projects to address

  • involvement of stakeholders in dialogues to make informed decisions about safe, healthy and sustainable food

  • societal matters and public attitudes towards bio-based products and services to develop acceptable products and services in the markets

  • policymaking in bio-based research, innovation and technology development

  • improving the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue bioeconomy

  • training and mobility of personnel

Funded projects will be invited to workshops (a learning platform) to develop and implement good RRI practices.

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