Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership (SBEP) Officially Launches

The new European partnership aims to boost the transformation towards a climate-neutral blue economy by 2030, while creating and supporting the conditions for a healthy ocean by 2050.

The Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership (SBEP) – a new Horizon Europe co-funded partnership – has officially launched, unlocking a planned investment of €450 million over a seven-year period to boost the transformation towards a climate-neutral, sustainable, productive and competitive blue economy by 2030, while creating and supporting the conditions for a healthy ocean for all by 2050.

The partnership is a network of 60 Partner institutions from 25 countries and the European Commission. It will collate research and innovation investments and align national programmes at pan-European scale, taking into consideration the sea-basin (Mediterranean, Black Sea, Baltic and North Sea) and Atlantic Ocean dimension.

The Partnership will actively seek engagement by launching, implementing and monitoring six co-funded calls for research and innovation proposals over a seven-year period. Each call will focus on a number of ‘Intervention Areas’, which will be developed according to an annual cycle and set in the Annual Work Programme of the Partnership.

The first Joint Transnational Call is scheduled to open on 13 February 2023 with the theme: ‘The Way Forward: A Thriving Sustainable Blue Economy for a Brighter Future’. The call has a total estimated budget of €50 million and will support transnational research and innovation projects lasting up to 36 months in the following five priority areas:

  1. Planning and managing sea-uses at the regional level.
  2. Development of offshore marine multi-use infrastructures to support the blue economy.
  3. Climate-neutral, environmentally sustainable and resource-efficient blue food and feed.
  4. Green transition of Blue Food production.
  5. Ocean Digital Twin (ODT) test use cases at EU sea-basins and the Atlantic Ocean.

Projects must generate impact-driven contributions to the transformation into a blue economy for a more resilient future and towards carbon neutrality targets, following an impact pathway approach.

Projects must be developed at a pan-European level and in the different European sea basins: the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and establish close cross-sectorial cooperation in the science, innovation and economic sectors.

A total of 37 research funding organisations from 23 countries will participate in the first call. This consists of 19 EU Member-States: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands, as well as four Associated Countries: Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Türkiye, with financial support from the European Commission.

To be eligible, research consortia must include partners from a minimum of three independent legal entities from three different countries participating in the call. SBEP has developed a Partner Search Tool to enable potential applicants to find a partner or a project to join.

Eligibility requirements, national/regional topics of interest, eligible costs and funding provisions may vary according to the respective funding organisation’s regulations. Project partners must therefore refer and adhere to their own regional/national regulations and scientific remits, as detailed in the relevant regional/national announcements.

Pre-proposals for the first co-funded call should be submitted between 13 February 2023 (15:00 CET) and 14 April 2023 (15:00 CET).

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect newsflash.)