The Strategic Projects on Innovation are progressively becoming a reality and the Communications Team of PANORAMED has been lucky enough to get a first exclusive interview with Mr Cristian Chiavetta from the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Lead Partner of B-Blue project, to discuss some of the key features and objectives of this upcoming initiative whose official approval is expected for early July.

1. How would you define the main objective of your project?

The overall objective of the project is the aggregation and coordination of the Med Blue Biotechnology (BBt) organisations and stakeholders in a transnational and multi-actor community to develop a multilateral coordination framework to support capacity building and innovation transfer in the sector; and, facilitate design and implementation in the Med area of joint and integrated plans, initiatives, programmes and policies boosting the Med BBt sector. The ultimate goal is to define, design and implement a structured framework (involving from the first steps also the MENA countries) that eases the established BBt community to not only catch new business opportunities or multilateral initiatives in terms of coordinated financing requests, but also to orient policy and financing programmes to align national/regional initiatives at Med level in the BBt sector. Moreover, its modular framework aims at building i) horizontal and vertical and ii) local & Med regional multilateral frameworks. This multilayer integrated structure in the BBt sector will be also part of the wider Med Blue Bioeconomy framework addressed by the BlueBioMed project. Each layer contributes in itself and self-sufficiently to both the overall project objective and the specific Interreg MED Programme objective 4.1, so that the integrated framework supports the process of strengthening multilateral coordination in the Med.

2. How does your Strategic Project intent to improve the Blue Bioeconomy innovation capacity in the MED?

The B-Blue project gathers the Med Blue Biotechnologies (BBt) community to foster its innovation capacity and support joint Med initiatives on innovative solutions in the sector. The project supports the BBt community developing a common ground for the sector, collecting and systematizing knowledge developed in previous initiatives and during the project through a digital platform aimed at hosting the Med organisations of the BBt sector. Moreover, the project promotes a territorial, multi-actor and collaborative approach through the establishment of 5 Blue Biotechnologies HUBs based on the inclusive vision of living labs. The quintuple-helix approach promoted in the BBt HUBs of the B-Blue project puts together different actors of the BBt sector with the aim of generating innovation and improving the innovation capacity of the communities involved. Withal, both the BBt community and the BBt HUBs support the development of a Med coordination mechanism in the BBt sector which aims at creating a framework enabling Med joint initiatives fostering the innovation capacity of the BBt organisations connecting them with a macro-regional perspective.

3. PANORAMED is a Governance platform, how do you think your project would support better governance in the field? 

The Mediterranean region is one of the most heterogeneous cooperation areas in EU and the Blue Biotechnology (BBt) sector experiences this heterogenity in its fragmentations at regional/national level (in policies, legislation and business initiatives) being a relatively young discipline with a not yet clear identification of key actors and lack of coordination on the key enabling factors of its massive potential of growth in the region. In fact BBt value chains are linked to many different sectors, so research and innovation are often developed as isolated initiatives without a coordination which could ease the access to the market.

B-Blue project tackles these bottlenecks and challenges identifying, engaging and gathering the Med BBt innovation community to strenghten the relationships among its organisations in a multilateral coordination framework addressing both the territorial dimension and the macro-regional perspective, while ensuring the horizontal coherence and the medium-long term vision. B-Blue builds this Med soft governance framework through a digital platform gathering the Med BBt digital community, through capacity improvement, with knowledge transfer workshops and digital contents, and through the establishment of a Med network of territorial based, collaborative and multi-actor spaces of co-development of the BBt local communities of selected value chains. The modular integration of all these solutions pushes the sector and their organisations beyond the existing criticalities previously described. Moreover, the coordination framework of the Med BBt community will be part of the wider mechanism developed by the BlueBioMed project addressing the governance challenge in the Blue Bioeconomy at Med level.

4. Finally, and in terms of tangible results, could you maybe list the three main outcomes you are planning to achieve once the project comes to an end?  

The B-Blue project aims at the (formal/informal) establishment of the Blue Biotechnologies (BBt) community for innovation which could follow one of the cooperation mechanism already developed to foster innovation in other sectors/topics (EIT KIC, Horizon partnerships, other frameworks/agreements). This project's result supports the implementation of a joint framework for the future strategic cooperation in the BBt sector at Med level. Moreover, it develops a Med Network of living labs (HUBs) working at territorial level on the topic of the Blue Biotechnologies.

B-Blue aims at the Med Network of BBt HUBs activation, growth and connection with wider networks having the same territorial, collaborative and inclusive quintuple-helix approach the BBt HUBs are based on. This specific project's result can support the implementation of future joint transnational initiatives on specific value chains and/or define common needs and challenges to develop joint programmes and coordinate local initiatives, e.g. coordination among regional funds in the BBt sector.

Focusing on this specific last issue, the project releases a recommendations document for Macro Regional Strategies for the Cohesion Policy programming period 2021-2027 (Mainstream & Territorial Cooperation) to be shared with policy makers, agencies, clusters, industrial associations and programme owners. The document is aimed at supporting the process of strengthening multilateral coordination among the regional cohesion funds and policies for innovation in the BBt sector so that Med joint responses could be developed to answer identified common challenges.



Cristian Chiavetta is an Environmental Engineer graduated at the University of Bologna with a PhD on Life Cycle Assessment of renewable energy and secondary materials production. He is working as a researcher at the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) in the Valorisation of Resources Laboratory (RISE). Throughout the last ten years, he has been working in the field of Circular Economy with a specific focus on Sustainability Assessment with Life Cycle perspective. He carries out research activities in Italian and international projects concerning the asessment of environmental, economic and social impact of products, processes and systems and supports Blue Economy companies in eco-innovation paths through the implementation of industrial symbiosis instruments and circular economy principles. He is an expert on Life Cycle Assessment Methodology (LCA), Efficient Management of resources and Green Public Procurement (GPP) and he is one of the 10 Italian experts on Circular Economy selected by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) to represent Italy in the Summit of the Two Shores initiative.

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