Research and innovation are central elements in the Europe 2020 Strategy putting forward three mutually reinforcing priorities:

  • smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation;
  • sustainable growth: promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy;
  • inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.

It is recognized that bioeconomy is an important element of the Strategy 2020: The Bio-economy is multidisciplinary in nature and it pushes us to be interdisciplinary in our approach and to overcome the segmentation of research and innovation into narrow themes. It is therefore well placed to show how we can work together to build an Innovation Union where we avoid duplication of efforts and tackle the fragmentation hat undermines the efficiency of European research.

Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (speech September 2010).

DG RTD has issued an European Strategy Innovating for sustainable growth: a bioeconomy for Europe , related to two Flagship Initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy the Innovation Union” and the “Resource-efficient Europe . The Strategy encompasses the sustainable production of renewable resources from land and sea and their conversion into food, bio-based products, biofuels and bioenergy. Within fisheries, aquaculture, seafood and blue biotechnology following actions are envisaged:

  1. to enhance scientific knowledge and innovation, reinforcing advice on fisheries management, supporting decision making, and strengthening an ecosystem-based fisheries management as central principle of the revised Common Fisheries Policy;
  2. to implement the EU Strategy for the Sustainable Development of Aquaculture through development of strategic guidelines and implementation of national strategic aquaculture plans;
  3. to promote consumption of safe, nutritious and healthy European seafood and ensure traceability of seafood from net and cage to plate;
  4. to boost the development of innovative non-food products and services derived from aquatic living resources to stimulate blue growth.

COFASP will directly address the first three actions based on results of the earlier ERA-NET MariFish as well as the running ERA-NET SEAS-ERA, focusing on capture fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing including distribution to consumers. However it will also enter into the area of blue biotechnology in terms of integrated production technology and utilization of limited marine living resources and maritime space in corporation with a presently running CSA MarineBioTech exploring the needs and basis for an ERA-NET on Marine biotechnology.

Above action points reflect on the two European Flagship initiatives Innovation fostering growth and deployment of technologies as well as focus on Resource-efficiency and environmental sustainability. Within Innovation, the EU foresees at national level the need to reform national (and regional) Research and Development as well as Innovation Systems to:

  • foster excellence and smart specialisation;
  • reinforce cooperation between universities, research and business;
  • implement joint programming;
  • enhance cross-border co-operation in areas with EU value added;
  • ensure the transfer of technology;

and adjust national funding procedures accordingly. This includes the necessity to ensure a sufficient supply of science, maths and engineering graduates and to focus school curricula on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.