The iMarine project: Open access, blue growth and infrastructure

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According to the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, Blue Growth is defined as “the long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. Seas and oceans are drivers for the European economy and have great potential for innovation and growth. It is the maritime contribution to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth“. The importance of the Blue Growth is obvious, taking into consideration that “the ‘blue’ economy represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year“.… Click to read the full post

New Horizon 2020 calls for agri-food research are on

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If you are looking for funding for your agri-food research idea you should definitely look at the upcoming Horizon 2020 calls!

Horizon 2020 has already secured a budget of around €3.7 billion for the Societal Challenge 2 (SC2) on “Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy” for 2014-2020, out of which the Horizon 2020 SC2 Work Programme for 2016-2017 offers a budget of around €877 million.

The main opportunities for agriculture and forestry can be found in three main calls, each one of which includes a number of themes and each theme includes a number of topics:

Sustainable Food Security (SFS): It includes the following themes

  • More resilient and resource efficient value chains (25 topics)
  • Environment-smart and climate smart primary production (7 topics)
  • A competitive food industry (3 topics)
  • Healthy and safe foods and diets for all (5 topics)
  • Support to the implementation of the EU-Africa partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (3 topics)
  • Implementation of the EU-China FAB flagship initiative (5 topics)

Blue Growth (BG): It includes the following themes

  • Boosting innovation for emerging Blue Growth activities (5 topics)
  • Linking healthy oceans and seas with healthy people (3 topics)
  • The Arctic dimension (3 topics)
  • Valorizing the Mediterranean sea basin (2 topics)

Rural Renaissance (RUR): It includes the following themes

  • New approaches towards policies and governance (5 topics)
  • New value chains and business models (4 topics)
  • Innovation and skill development (7 topics)

Bio-based innovation (BB): It includes the following themes

  • Securing sustainable biomass supply for bio-based goods and services (4 topics)
  • Building the “bio-based markets of the future”- mobilising stakeholders engagement (2 topics)

You can find more information about these calls, themes and topics in the corresponding Horizon 2020 call document.… Click to read the full post

Everything about the H2020 Info Week on food security calls

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UPDATE 23/11/2015: Some of the events mentioned below have been cancelled/rescheduled due to the current situation in Brussels. Check the corresponding websites for more information about the status of each event.

On the week 24-27 of November 2015, Brussels will host the info week for the new Horizon 2020 work programme 2016/2017 for Societal Challenge 2: Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, maritime and maritime inland water research and bio-economy.

Babis, Vassilis and Thodoris will be there to demonstrate the thematic aggregator in agri-food sector (agINFRA), Coordination Action Big Data Europe and the agINFRA Open Access recommendations for all the new proposals.… Click to read the full post

Lessons learned from working with project proposals: Lack of time

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Do you know one thing that doesn’t scale? Your time. 

No matter who you are, no matter how hard you try, we are all given the same number of hours in a day and we need to make sure that we make the best use of them.

If you plan to submit a proposal in one of the upcoming Horizon 2020 calls on Blue Growth, Sustainable Food Security & Innovative, Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy with a pressing deadline on 11/6/2015 (so in less than one week!), we have been in your shoes and we can more or less describe the case:

  • You are trying to make sure that you have a good idea in your hands, which needs to be described in a way that will persuade the reviewers so that they mark it as eligible for funding (which is your ultimate goal after all);
  • At the same time you need to make sure that you have compiled a great consortium that will not only provide all the necessary documentation for the successful submission of your proposal within the deadline (!), but can prove that it is suitable for completing all envisaged tasks in a high quality and timely manner;
  • You have to keep re-calculating the allocation of the foreseen budget in work packages, tasks and deliverables, taking into consideration the different rates of each partner, each role and the specificities in reimbursing trip expenses (per diem or based on receipts) – and on top of that, include all last-minute revisions from the consortium members;
  • You need to make sure that the text you used in your proposal for describing the impact and other aspects actually reflects what you plan to do in an attractive way;
  • Last but not least, you will need to include the description of a data management plan in your proposal.
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Describing a data management plan for your Horizon 2020 proposal

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For those interested in submitting a proposal in the next Horizon 2020 calls on Blue Growth, Sustainable Food Security & Innovative, Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy they have to hurry; these calls have a deadline on 11/6/2015, so in less than one month.

Agro-Know has a long experience in the aforementioned thematic areas, through its involvement in related projects and initiatives; for example, as regards the Blue Growth, we were involved in the iMarine project (mostly through our agINFRA FP7 project as well as the role of our CEO Nikos Manouselis in iMarine’s advisory board) while our collaboration with the Hasselt University (Belgium) during the VOA3R ICT-PSP project brought our attention to the wealth of bibliographic data available in the oceanography, marine science, fisheries and aquaculture context through the OceanDocs repository (among others).… Click to read the full post

Why should data-powered small businesses be interested in research e-infrastructures?

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A few days ago, I was invited by the iMarine project team to give a talk on different types of services and tools that may be developed on top of e-infrastructures, as part of their Ecosystem approach to marine and fishery data management workshop that took place as a satellite event of the 2014 edition of the International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI’14).

I have to admit that talking about a topic like “Specialised set of tools and services over an e-infrastructure” seems too boring for a group of great people (like the amazing Christos Arvanitidis from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research) that are trying to solve really difficult problems like the observation, modelling, documentation and preservation of marine biodiversity and fishery ecosystems.… Click to read the full post