Featured Image WH with EEA Grants

Atlantic & Arctic Lighthouse Weekly Hour with the EEA Grants Blue Growth Programme (S02E06)

Join us for an exciting webinar on March 27, 2024, from 14:00 to 15:30 CET, as we will explore marketable marine restoration solutions being developed within the EEA Grants Blue Growth Programme. This programme aims to enhance value creation and sustainable growth in the Portuguese blue economy. Additionally, it aims to increase research and promote education and training in marine and maritime areas. It is committed to the sustainable development of the blue economy and Ocean protection. In this webinar we will show the preliminary results of this innovative Programme, such as how many new products / technologies were already developed? How many tons of marine litter for re-use or recycling were already collected? We will also get to know three successful projects in the scope of marketable marine restoration solutions that are contributing to these outcomes.

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The Blue Growth Programme EEA Grants 2014-2021

The Blue Growth Program is one of the 5 programs approved, for Portugal, within the scope of the EEA Grants financial mechanism through which Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway financially support the Member States of the European Union. Its main objective is to increase the value creation and sustainable growth in the Portuguese blue economy. In addition, it aims to increase research and promote education and training in marine and maritime areas.

The Programme will contribute to the overall objective of reducing economic and social disparities and strengthened bilateral relation through funding of different projects within five outcomes under the following three Programme areas:

  • Business development, Innovation and SMEs;
  • Research
  • Education, Scholarships, Apprenticeships and Youth Entrepreneurships.

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Register for the Zoom Webinar here.
Or watch in YouTube here.

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Programme (CET):

14h00-14h05: Introduction: Jose Moutinho (AIR Centre)

14h05-14h30: Blue Growth, Innovation and SMEs: Marisa Lameiras da Silva (Portuguese Director General for Maritime Policy)

14h30-14h45: Portuguese marine forests: our hidden boreal forests: Francisco Arenas (Principal Investigator at CIIMAR)

14h45-15h00: Recycled Reef: Luis Nobre (Project Manager and Co-Leader of the Composites Unit at Fibrenamics)

15h00-15h15: Azores Ecoblue: Paulo Mendonça ((Associate Professor at School of Architecture, Art and Design at Minho University) and Nieta da Ponte Rocha (CEO & Creative Director at Circular Blue)

15h15-15h30: Discussion

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Marisa Lameiras da Silva

Portuguese Director General for Maritime Policy

Marisa Lameiras da Silva was appointed as Director-General for Maritime Policy in October 2022, by the Minister of Economy and the Sea. Previously, Marisa Lameiras da Silva was Director of the Department of Strategy and Economic Analysis at the Portuguese Environment Agency, where she was responsible for the areas of circular economy, sustainable bioeconomy, sustainable finance, among others. Marisa Lameiras da Silva also worked in the Cabinet of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Action, of the XXII Constitutional Government, as responsible for the implementation of the national bioeconomy policy and for coordinating the preparation of the Action Plan for the Sustainable Bioeconomy – Horizon 2025. Before that Marisa Lameiras da Silva worked at the Water and Waste Services Regulatory Authority, in the Cabinet of the Secretary of State for Fisheries of the XXI Constitutional Government, where she was responsible for monitoring the national policy on sustainability, marine litter, offshore renewable energies and circular economy. Marisa Lameiras da Silva has a degree in Chemical Engineering and a master’s degree in Sanitary Engineering. More about the Directorate General for Maritime Policy (DGPM) here.

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Francisco Arenas

Principal Investigator at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR)

Project name: Blueforesting

Project summary: Kelp forests, the largest vegetated coastal ecosystems on Earth, dominate rocky coastlines across Europe, stretching from Svalbard to Portugal. They significantly benefit coastal communities, supporting a rich and unique biodiversity and fostering artisanal fisheries. However, these vital ecosystems are facing a global crisis, with over 60% experiencing a decline in the past half-century, and the current annual loss rate, averaging 2%, which is twice that of coral reefs and four times faster than tropical forests. The primary threats to kelp forests and their associated ecosystem biodiversity, including climate change, urbanization, coastal darkening, and herbivore expansion, are increasingly regional to global in scale. Despite the rapid changes, major knowledge gaps exist for the status and trends of kelp forest ecosystems. Understanding the causes driving their decline is urgently needed to promote effective management and restoration actions. These efforts are even more crucial given that our marine forests in the Iberian Peninsula seem to host unique genetic pools for kelps that are at risk of being lost.

Short bio: Francisco Arenas is a proactive marine ecologist with over 25 years of experience researching coastal ecosystems. FA research primarily involves monitoring coastal ecosystems, experimental ecology and using modelling tools to understand and predict the effects of global changes on coastal populations and ecosystems, from structural and functional perspectives. As the coordinator of the project Blueforesting, working alongside a dynamic team of Portuguese and Norwegian researchers, our overarching goal is to incorporate kelp forests as a nature-based solution and a potent tool to tackle climate change mitigation, uphold biodiversity, and safeguard ecosystem services.

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Luis Nobre

Project Manager and Co-Leader of the Composites Unit at Fibrenamics

Project name: RecycledReef

Project summary: The project’s main objective is the development of modular systems, based on the recycling of plastic waste, to benefit and monitor marine life. To achieve the general result, a list of specific objectives was structured, namely: development of a modular solution for artificial reefs through EcoDesign; study of a plastic waste recycling process; development of EcoComposite materials from plastic waste, previously recycled and transformed; development of modular reef systems, developed from recycled plastic EcoComposites. The achievement of this set of specific objectives is thus expected to achieve the general objective, which should result in a product, aimed at promoting the preservation of marine ecosystems and blue growth. In addition, it is also intended that this project, due to its technological advantages, will trigger a knock-on effect for other sectors, such as cosmetics, with the collection and reuse of algae developed on artificial reefs, at the end of their life cycle, as ingredient for product design in this area. Based on the defined objectives and identified areas of application, this development represents an innovation in terms of materials, through the collection, recycling and transformation of plastic waste into recycled raw material for the development of new EcoComposites and their subsequent functionalization, for a positive impact in the future.

Short bio:

Master in Materials Engineering, and currently a PhD student, at the University of Minho, specializing in the development of sustainable composite materials. Luís Nobre is a Project Manager and Co-Leader of the Composites Unit at the Fibrenamics Association.

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Paulo Mendonça

Associate Professor at School of Architecture, Art and Design at Minho University

Project name: Azores Ecoblue

Project summary: Marine litter is one of the main environmental problems with which the oceans are confronted. Continental Portugal and the Autonomous Region of Azores share common challenges, like policy over the sea and the sea in a scenario of waste, given the archipelago of Azores is also not immune to this global problem. There have been studies done to quantify/classify the marine litter in Azores. Considering the socioeconomical role played by the fishing industry of the Azores, the project is an opportunity to use and develop new and innovative raw materials, transforming marine litter, which is presently little or not at all valued, into a market of excellency, as its “supplier”. To answer these challenges, the project will utilize to their maximum the studies already done and in development by the Universities of Azores and Minho, in their R&D Centres. And, in conjunction with local communities, will collect marine litter and beach residues to develop new threads and fibers for new subproducts. The main activities include the analysis, characterization, quantification of residues, collection, triage, residue processing, scientific studies about the fibers obtained, development of threads and fibers, and their transformation into fabric and insulating blankets. Waste will be quantified, analysed, and afterward, presented in a data sharing platform of statistics and scientific studies..

Short bio: Paulo Mendonça is an Associate Professor with tenure contract in the University of Minho, School of Architecture, Guimarães, Portugal, where has been teaching since 2003 and researcher since 1995. Hold a PhD in Civil Engineering by the University of Minho, with the thesis: “Living under a second skin”, acclaimed by unanimity (2005). As a PhD fellowship of FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) completed the Thesis Project Presentation of the Energy and Environment Research Doctorate Program in Architecture on the Barcelona Technical Superior School of Architecture (ETSAB). Was a JNICT (former designation of FCT) fellowship student in the Textile Engineer Department of the University of Minho, obtaining the master’s degree with a thesis about “Smart use of Textiles in Architecture” (1997). Graduated in Architecture by the University of Porto, Faculty of Architecture, Portugal (1994). Erasmus granted student in ETSAB, Barcelona (1993-1994). Since 1995, during MSc thesis works, started in the specialization field of “Architectural Membranes”, progressively, during PhD works, devoting research interests to the area of Building Physics, especially in what concerns energy efficiency and sustainable strategies for buildings’ construction and rehabilitation. Main research subjects include lightweight and mixed weight buildings, low-cost housing, local and global economic asymmetries, low-tech strategies, energy costs and sustainable development, new materials and technologies, building refurbishment, recycling and reusing potentialities, sustainable architecture, membrane structures for functional conditioning. Concluded the supervision of 6 PhD thesis and 34 MSc thesis. Is author or editor of more than 200 publications including: papers on international and national journals, books and book chapters, papers in proceedings books with peer review. Researcher in nine concluded national and international research and extension projects; was principal investigator of FCT (Portuguese Science Foundation) Project ADjustMEMBRANE – Adjustable Partition Membrane (concluded in 2013) and researcher in Blue Growth Programme of the EEA Grants Azores Ecoblue Project (ongoing since April 2022).

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Register for the Zoom Webinar here.
Or watch in YouTube here.