Sixty researchers from five Atlantic Area countries have begun an 11-month training and mentoring programme to hone their skills for innovation and technology transfer within the Blue Economy sectors.
Organised by the EU Interreg Atlantic Area funded EMPORIA4KT project, the Blue Economy Technology Transfer Programme provides participants with a unique opportunity to simultaneously learn the core concepts necessary for transferring ideas from academia to industry while also networking with fellow researchers, industry experts and senior academic researchers.
Participants for the programme were selected after a competitive application process across the five participating countries: France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The selected researchers span 31 institutes and include a wide variety of research areas such as ecotourism, marine biology, conservation management, algal biorefining, contaminant tracking, augmented reality for maritime training and many more. These diverse backgrounds highlight the interconnectivity and impact of Blue Economy ambitions.
The programme focuses on training researchers in how to bridge the gaps in knowledge and technology between academia and industry. As programme participant Fernando Pagels, University of Porto, explained:
The scientific community is trained to research only. It’s hard to communicate science and it’s hard to link the scientific community to stakeholders. It’s all about communication and we are not trained to do this…so when I saw the programme and the topics I got excited because it’s about the whole process and getting the skills to develop research products.
The programme is divided into two key stages: training and case study development.
The first, training phase will provide the researchers with the critical skills needed for the later case study development. After an introductory meeting on 26 January 2021, participants will use February and March to explore EMPORIA4KT’s Blue Economy learning tool with its suite of training materials, recorded sessions and self-paced exercises. Beginning on 8 March, the researchers will take part in a week-long remote training course that will allow them to interact directly with the project organisers as well as fellow participants. These skills include stakeholder engagement and communication for scientists, Blue Economy research planning, research impact and research funding.
As project manager Ana Sofia Esteves, NOVA School of Science and Technology, explained:
The EMPORIA4KT training programme will provide researchers with the necessary tools to be more impactful in the future. Working in an inter-disciplinary area like the Blue Economy, it is important for all participants to have a common set of vocabulary, skills and understanding to create an effective, collaborative environment.
Following this initial training phase, participants will break into national-based teams of four people. Together with the support of scientific and industrial mentors, each team will be tasked with developing routes to market for real case studies of Early Stage Technologies in the Blue Economy.
Three teams in each participating country will present at a national level, and the team with the best performance will represent their country at the EMPORIA4KT final international brokerage event in January, 2022.
For more information about the training programme, please visit https://www.emporia4kt.com/ttprogramme. To learn more about the project participants and follow their progress, please follow us on Twitter @EMPORIA4KT.