Cluster rationale

Project acronym:           EMBRIC
Project full title:             European Marine Biological Research Infrastructure Cluster to promote the Blue Bioeconomy

Funding Programme:    H2020-EU. - Developing new world-class research infrastructures
Funding Scheme:           RIA - Research and Innovation action
EC Contribution:            € 9.041.611
Grant agreement no.:    654008

Duration:                         1st June 2015 – 31st May 2019 (48 months)
Coordination:                 Sorbonne Université, Paris, France
Consortium:                   29 partners from 10 countries

The marine environment accounts for over 90% of the biosphere and harbors immense biodiversity. Marine organisms have historically been difficult to access and study, but through the recent development of marine laboratories and related biological science research infrastructures (RIs) in Europe, a wider range of marine biodiversity can now be examined in greater detail than ever before.

Biotechnology, i.e. the application of biological knowledge and cutting-edge techniques to develop products and other benefits for mankind, is of growing importance for Europe and will increasingly contribute to shape the future of our society. Marine (blue) biotechnology, which involves marine bioresources either as the source or the target of biotechnology applications, is fast becoming an important component of the global biotechnology sector. This largely stems from the need to meet growing demands for bioproducts that cannot be satisfied from terrestrial sources alone.

Marine biotechnology is the key to unlocking the potential of the unique biodiversity of marine organisms. It is rooted in basic research bringing together marine biology, microbiology, physiology, toxicology, systems biology, bioinformatics, omics technologies and analytical chemistry. The result is new applications in fields such as drug discovery, diagnostics, novel foods and food ingredients, aquaculture and agriculture, bioremediation, biomaterials, cosmetics and bioenergy.

The high economic potential of marine biotechnologies remains largely underexploited and the development of the marine biotechnology sector is hindered by:

  • Operational issues preventing the scientific community from fully exploring marine biological resources;
  • Practical and cultural difficulties in connecting science with industry;
  • High fragmentation of regional innovation ecosystems in marine biotechnology throughout Europe.

To overcome these barriers, increased connectivity is needed between RIs and their communities of users, between science and industry, as well as between the RIs and the Research Development and Innovation (RDI) policies in the European maritime regions.

Consequently, EMBRIC will link biological and social science research infrastructures (AQUAEXCEL, ELIXIR, EMBRC, MIRRI, EU-OPENSCREEN, RISIS) and will build inter-connectivity along three dimensions: science, industry and regions.