The oceans cover 71% of the planets’ surface, and more of the 95% of underwater life remains unexplored. Since they are an immense source of materials, energy and ecosystem services it is no surprise that coastal areas and marine activities play a crucial role now and in the future of the European Union and its citizens.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that the oceans are under increasing pressure due to overfishing and pollution. Consequently, sustainable development of the oceans is required in order to ensure their health and productiveness.

In this context cooperation is crucial. Fraunhofer, SINTEF, VTT, RISE, TNO, Tecnalia, +Atlantic CoLAB, AZTI, ENEA and IFREMER – propose the joint initiative »Sustainable Sea and Ocean Solutions – Intelligent Technologies for the Blue Economy« to boost the Green Deal and the Blue Growth in emerging, established and associated Blue Economy sectors. The mission is the responsible utilization of our oceans, to harness their potential and create more value and more jobs in the European marine and maritime sectors, by developing and mastering new technologies to ensure European industry leadership in global markets and achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.

Using the momentum for innovation and change

The Initiative “Sustainable Sea and Ocean Solutions – Intelligent Technologies for the Blue Economy ISSS” aims at key enabling technologies for in-depth technological innovations and solutions for sea, ocean and subsea activities, as well as at shared infrastructures and data platforms through cross-cutting collaboration to ensure healthy and resilient oceans.

It will focus on European ocean activities and cross-link relevant national and European initiatives to form an integrated whole to foster technological innovations and applications in the field of e.g., underwater robotics and automation, underwater sensors and actuators, underwater materials, communication and digitalization. This will ensure safe, cost-effective and sustainable offshore operations and provide reliable and accurate data and information on the ocean for better-informed decision-making by policy makers, businesses and investors. The aim is a fast transfer into industrial applications within the three central application areas Aquaculture, Ocean Cleaning and Energy and Raw Materials Harvesting and its implementation areas of Europe’s sea basins.

Blue Economy for sustainable growth in Europe

ISSS strongly supports the European Green Deal Vision 2030, the response to climate-related and environmental challenges from the EU. The Blue Economy emerging sectors, i.e., offshore wind, ocean energy (wave and tidal), offshore aquaculture, and blue bioeconomy and biotechnology, as well as marine minerals, desalination and defense offer significant potential for growth and jobs.

Numerous national and European research activities are already in place in several maritime sectors to tap the potential of the Blue Economy. However, such initiatives are often poorly coordinated and are rarely interlinked with industry activities. Therefore, coordinated action is required and this where ISSS steps in.

The platform will create a critical mass and facilitate precompetitive break-throughs through efficient coordination and collaboration between research, industry, policy and society.

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