EWRC 2020: Smart Specialisation 4 Blue Growth Cooperation

  • 21 Oct 2020 to 21 Oct 2020
  • Registration information: Online event open to all. The registration has been closed.

More than 50 regions across the EU have identified maritime sectors/investments as a priority in their Smart Specialisation Strategies and are investing into blue growth-related prospective areas. The workshop reflected the JRC/DG MARE Annual Report of the EU Blue Economy 2020 and focused on the innovation as an opportunity for thematic interregional cooperation through joint regional and corporate efforts in the emerging blue growth sectors and discuss the role of quadruple helix stakeholders in the regional and macro-regional innovation collaboration. Through the active involvement of regional representatives, the session featured a few key Emerging Blue Economy sectors particularity relevant in terms of contribution to Green Deal objectives: renewable energy sources, marine environmental protection with a focus on micro-plastics, and desalination.

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Agenda and Presentations


  • Ales Gnamus, Senior Policy Analyst, European Commission, DG JRC, Spain.
  • Claus Schultze, Senior Policy Analyst, European Commission, DG MARE, Belgium.


The presentations were followed by a moderated Round-Table Discussion on two questions:

  1. on the European Green Deal: How do the speakers and audience see their organisations contributing to the EU’s Green Deal objectives - in particular the green and digital transition within the blue economy? What are their expectations with regard to their region’s future smart specialisation strategies, in terms of possible contributions to a sustainable blue economy activities and the Green Deal?
  2. on Interregional Cooperation: The European Commission is keen to see regional partnerships positioning themselves to support the green and digital transformation of the blue economy. The forthcoming new instrument to support such partnerships is a great opportunity in this respect. How can the regions position themselves to best benefit from the support of this instrument, and how could the European Commission (DG MARE, JRC) assist them in achieving close inter-regional cooperation in the field of blue economy?

Through well-balanced interventions, the session managed to provide a short overview across few important Blue Growth emerging sectors in different Sea Basins surrounding Europe. Round table discussion was opened to all the participants; however, the floor was taken only by the invited experts. Moderated round table discussion provided a good insight of the renown experts in the emerging blue growth sectors into the challenges posed by the EU Green deal endeavours across Europe and of the effective interregional innovation cooperation through the innovation partnerships to be potentially supported by the new interregional innovation investment instrument.The experts suggested that the Commission services should help the regions and the innovation entities across Europe with visualising on how different programmes and financing opportunities in the emerging Blue Growth sectors could best be combined for the most efficient inter-regional, trans-national and macro-regional research and innovation cooperation. 

Practical Information

21 Oct 2020 to 21 Oct 2020
Registration information: Online event open to all. The registration has been closed.


21 October 2020 | 09:30 - 11:00 - Online session (Registration only available at the EWRC site until 14 October 2020)

Main objectives:

The session focused on the Smart Specialisation cooperation opportunities in the Blue Growth area with the outlook into the new programming period and possible emergence of the blue economy innovation partnerships aiming to the Green Deal and supported through the new Interregional Innovation Investment instrument.


The 2021-2027 period seeks to reinforce interregional cooperation for innovation as outlined in the Commission Communication “Strengthening Innovation in Europe’s regions”. In this context, the Commission proposed a new Interregional Innovation Investment instrument aiming at helping actors involved in the Smart Specialisation Strategies for Sustainability (S4) to cluster together, scale-up and bring new innovative products and services to the European market. The objectives of the new initiative are:

  • To accelerate innovation bringing research results to the market helping companies to implement mature joint innovation projects (TRL6-8) in view of commercialization and scaling up
  • Encouraging close-to-market investments involving innovative products and services through the deployment of new technologies or processes.
  • Exploring and strengthening complementarities between different EU, national and regional instruments,
  • Mobilising public/private investors, de-risking private investment and leveraging the impact of EU funding.
  • Developing a pipeline of interregional investments, formalised in concrete business and investment plans, reshaping EU value chains.

In the current programming period Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms and related regional partnerships have already developed close inter-regional collaboration in numerous innovative areas that were supported by the three Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms, namely on Agri & Food, Energy, and Industrial Modernisation. The new Interregional Innovation Investment instrument will offer further opportunities for mobilising collaborative activities and joint investments in sustainable industrial transition and green growth also in the frame of the blue economy.

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