NCE Seafood will take a lead in aquaculture innovation in the EU
In January 2017 NCE Seafood hired an EU Advisor to step up its effort to secure EU funding for industrial innovation. After experience gained through working with the cluster’s partners in Q1 and Q2 2017 we have a clear plan to help cluster partners accelerate innovation efforts and expand their international partnerships network.
Networks and partnerships
Networks are everything in succeeding with EU project funding. This is why, in Q1 and Q2 we became members of EATIP, the European Aquaculture Technology Platform which gathers the most important players in the European aquaculture industry, a priority growth sector for the EU. We have signed an MoU with the Iceland Ocean Cluster and have initiated collaboration with the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre. In Q3 and Q4 we will initiate formal strategic partnerships with sister clusters in France and in Portugal. The goal is to increase cluster-to-cluster innovation collaboration through joint projects and help grow the international innovation networks of our partners offering more opportunities for new business and value creation.
Competence development - Partner support with EU projects
Through talking with partners, we learnt that the EU process is perceived as way too complex and bureaucratic. This is why a big part of the work of the EU Advisor will be to support individual partners to set up and fund their own EU projects. Another priority area will be to support the Cluster’s newly established Innovation reference group with setting up and funding cluster-wide projects which will in turn help to promote innovation and scale-up of partner initiatives.
Norwegian industry and our cluster in particular are fairly new in the EU innovation collaboration system. Knowing what to do, who to talk to, how to collaborate with people outside aquaculture and how to position both our projects and our partners to succeed with their funding applications is the focus of our competence development work. In Q1 and Q2 2017 we organised three thematic workshops on Blue Growth, Energy and Climate and have taken one to one meetings with partners to map their innovation priorities and explain how EU funding works. In Q3 and Q4 2017 we will hold writing courses on the SME Instrument and will take part in Info Days and brokerage events to have a clear understanding of the expectations around project deliverables for each call and scout for relevant project partners. We will also hold workshops to learn from others, especially Boregaard who are particularly successful in winning EU funding and Statoil Innovation who will share their experience with Open Innovation.
Norway is looked upon as a global technology leader in aquaculture and our cluster’s expertise is sought after both by European policy makers and industry alike. In April 2017, we wrote and shared a position paper with concrete suggestions to increase EU funding for industrial innovation in aquaculture and the oceans industries in order to deliver on the EU’s Blue Growth strategy. Throughout the year we have engaged closely with the EU’s Chief Scientific Advisor to provide evidential support and industry insights for the “Food from the Oceans” exercise which will evolve into concrete EU policy to increase the role of aquaculture in food security and nutrition. In November 2017, our Managing Director, Tanja Hoel, will speak at the EU’s Blue Growth policy day on digitalisation to set the agenda for the industry’s sustainable growth.
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