NEPTUNE implements a Blue Growth Accelerator supporting the development of new cross-sectoral and cross-border industrial value-chains mixing Water, Aerospace, ICT and Agriculture technologies.
NEPTUNE which stands for "New Cross Sectoral Value Chains Creation across Europe Facilitated By Clusters for SMEs’ Innovation in Blue Growth" is an innovation action project supported by the European Commission and its HORIZON 2020 programme under the call for proposal INNOSUP-1-2015 Cluster facilitated projects for new value chains. The challenge of the call was to develop new cross-sectoral industrial value chains across the EU, by building upon the innovation potential of SMEs.
NEPTUNE targets Blue Growth
A key emerging industry to be supported via inter cluster collaboration as well as a key driver for the EU economy. According to the European Commission’s strategic document Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth, Blue Growth has a great potential as it represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year.
The EU faces various challenges in food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime and inland water management. New Blue Growth innovative solutions can play an important role in meeting these challenges and unlock the potential of oceans and inland water for the benefit of European competitiveness.
A Blue Growth Accelerator to support SMEs
In the above context, NEPTUNE has to be considered as an accelerator as it will support the development of new cross-sectoral and cross-border industrial value-chains mixing Water, Aerospace, ICT and Agriculture technologies, through a direct support scheme to SMEs. Three key aspectsof Blue Growth are considered with high potential:
- Water management in urban and rural environments: such as smart city and smart grids adapted to drinking water and wastewater infrastructures, rational irrigation and sustainable agriculture
- Fluvial and maritime transport and port logistics: dealing with port logistics, water transport (ocean and in-land) and related civil engineering and infrastructures.
- Environment and renewable marine energy: such as water quality, biodiversity, sustainable exploitation of biological resources on one side and renewable marine energy on the other side such as hydropower, tidal power, floating wind farms, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion – OTEC.