BlueInvest Grants: Investing in Blue Innovation
- Specific Challenge: grants supported under the Blue Economy Window call for proposals 2019 will address the challenge of developing and bringing to market new products, services, and business models for SMEs that could ultimately create profitable activities. This will be part of a new comprehensive service package offered by the ‘BlueInvest platform’ that supports investment readiness and access to finance for early-stage businesses, SMEs and scale-ups in the blue economy. Hence the branding of the grants as ‘BlueInvest Grants’. For more info on the platform services please visit http://www.blue-invest.eu. These grants will support projects that accelerate innovation in the blue economy, demonstrate high potential in terms of company competitiveness and growth underpinned by a strategic business plan and which aim to create and maintain high quality jobs in the blue economy. Projects need to involve in particular the sustainable use of marine resources for innovative and/or circular economic activities and contribute to healthy oceans and Europe’s ‘Green Deal’. They may include deploying, demonstrating, or scaling-up new solutions for the blue economy including technologies, service applications.
- Objectives: The objectives of this call for proposals are to:
- Help innovative technologies and/or maritime services improve their market readiness and advance towards market entry;
- Facilitate scaling up business models and service concepts;
- De-risk investment in these projects to facilitate their access to other financing schemes for the next stages of their activities.
Projects are expected to have Technology Readiness Level (TRL) between 6-8 ((“TRL 6 – technology demonstrated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)” and 8 (“TRL 8 system complete and qualified”))  as defined in the General Annex G of H2020 Work Programme. This aspect will be assessed during evaluation.
- Scope and activities that can be funded: In order to achieve the objectives above, proposals should:
contribute towards the establishment of a product and/or service in the blue economy and
- contribute to one or more EU political objectives including lower greenhouse gas emissions, a more circular economy, energy security, adaptation to climate change, inclusion of coastal communities, creation of high-value blue economy jobs, better protection, sustainable use of natural or cultural capital; and/or
- shift existing activities towards these goals
A non-exclusive list of relevant areas for the blue economy includes:
- the blue bioeconomy — the cultivation, husbandry or capture of living material from fresh or saltwater and activities based on the use or processing of this material
- digital transformation of ocean and coastal activities
- renewable energy — including energy from wind, sun (floating), tide, wave and thermal gradients; logistic or supporting activities in that area are covered
- enabling technologies such as sensors, corrosion or biofouling resistant materials or coating, digitisation, electricity transmission equipment, multi-purpose platforms
- production of new products from living or non-living resources that would otherwise be wasted
- cleaner shipping
- pollution monitoring, clean-up or management
- new facilities that support the diversification or energy efficiency of ports
- tourism which contributes to the protection or preservation of natural capital.
Excluded areas are:
- exploration or extraction of gas and petroleum
- coastal tourism other than specifically aimed at reducing its carbon footprint or enhancing biodiversity.
Projects must focus on concrete activities including demonstration, validation, piloting, scaling-up, miniaturisation, certification, design, market replication and the like aiming to bring an innovation (product, process, service etc.) to industrial readiness and maturity for market introduction.
Applicants must explain how their proposals will advance towards the commercial phase by improving the market-readiness of innovative products and services and demonstrating their benefit to potential clients.
Proposals must specify the concrete outcome of the project in terms of new product and/or services and criteria for success. Particular attention must be paid to Intellectual Property protection and ownership; applicants will have to present convincing measures to ensure the possibility of commercial exploitation ('freedom to operate').
- Expected Impact:
- Enhance SMEs profitability and growth performance;
- Create or maintain high quality jobs;
- Generate a measurable social and environmental impact contributing to EU goals such as decarbonisation, circular economy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. SDG 14)
- Seize new market and business opportunities in the EU and beyond;
- Increase of private investment in Blue innovations, notably leverage of private co-investment and/or follow-up investments;
- Demonstrate European Added Value, by contributing in a concrete way to EU job creation and growth and if relevant to the EU’s sea-basin strategies.
Applicants should justify how they address each of the expected impacts listed above.
The expected impact should be clearly described in qualitative and quantitative terms (e.g. on turnover, employment, market size, IP management, sales, return on investment and profit).
 The limit to the frame of intervention of the proposed actions is to pre-commercial activities.
Sea basins strategies Atlantic, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean or North Sea and equivalent sea basin strategies: https://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/policy/sea_basins_hr