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News blog30 January 2024Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

EU4Algae Annual Meeting 2023: Taking a walk on the Alga side

On 11 December 2023, the EU4Algae community met in Prague for the second Annual Meeting. The event focused on presenting the main activities and progress of 2023 and discussing upcoming actions and initiatives for 2024.  

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Taking stock of a successful year: main activities and progress of 2023 

 

The meeting had a closed session for EU4Algae members, and the Advisory Board focusing on reviewing the EU4Algae highlights of 2023 and discussing the planned activities for 2024 and upcoming outcomes. 

EU4Algae is in its final year of implementation and is now a community of more than 900 members strongly supporting the improvement of knowledge of the European algae value chain. 

In 2023, EU4Algae marked a year of diverse engagements and accomplishments, navigating through exchanges, collaborations, and pivotal initiatives that would shape its trajectory. 

At the European Maritime Day (EMD) 2023 in Brest, EU4Algae engaged in exchanges and collaboration with different EU-funded projects, which enriched the initiative’s synergy-building journey and helped create pivotal collaborations. In the domain of ocean literacy, EU4Algae fostered ties with EU4Ocean, the Commission initiative bringing ocean education under the spotlight. Again, on ocean education, EU4Algae also promoted the algae applications in food with an interview with the Belgian seaweed chef Donald Deschagt during the EU Open Doors Day - a flavourful twist to this journey of discovery.  

This is only the beginning - the collaboration with EMODNet on algae-related data had a positive outcome, same as the EU4Algae’s contributing insights to the establishment of algae standards with the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). 

An important contribution of EU4Algae to the EU Algae Initiative has been the Info Session hosted in June. At the event, EU4Algae presented the EU Algae Initiative, its goals and actions, and how the Forum can support its implementation. 

EU4Algae fostered synergies with BlueInvest as well by co-organising the first algae e-pitching session: the event put together investors and five selected businesses with revolutionary algae solutions, showing that there is an ocean of opportunities for investors in this innovative sector. 

Finally, not to forget the participation of EU4Algae in the 1st EU Algae Awareness Summit in October to promote awareness and acceptance of algae products. 

During the meeting, consortium partners and Advisory Board members were interviewed about the importance of the EU4Algae initiative, what it signifies, and how it is helping to boost the algae sector. 

Monique Ras, Scientific Advisor at the European Algae Biomass Association (EABA): “Now have outcomes of each working group, and we can see the overlaps between their work. We have a roadmap to drive the future work, helping us identify the area where we need to work together.” 

Between the tasting of algae-based products and inspiring discussions, the EU4Algae consortium members explained in a few words how and why the EU4Algae initiative is and has been so important for the EU algae sector. 

EU4Algae is important because it will help understand the needs of the sector”, said Carlos Unamunzaga, President of the European Algae Biomass Association (EABA). In his opinion, the stakeholders will particularly benefit from this initiative as it will “Refine a network of companies, academia and administration, building a competitive advantage for the sector.” 

Adrian Vincent, Associate & Ocean Lead at SYSTEMIQ, has also highlighted how EU4Algae has a positive impact by connecting the several actors in the sector: “It is critical for the industry to be connected and to embark in this journey towards the scale-up of a sustainable algae industry in Europe, and this is where EU4Algae comes into play. It connects the dots between the industry, academia and policymakers in Brussels and in member states of the EU.” 

The initiative is making a real change in the perception of algae in general. The main applications of algae are getting and will get more and more attention among stakeholders, and the media are picking up with great interest how algae can revolutionise our way of life. Algae can play a key role in the green and energy transition, from offering alternatives to mainstream chemicals to being a source of low-carbon protein. Professor Maria Barbosa recognised the role of EU4Algae in this process: “EU4Algae is extremely important: is a way to bring awareness and also to bring the community together.” 

 

What will happen next in this algae journey? 

2024 is promising for EU4Algae: many studies will be released, including fact sheets from Working Groups discussions, a report on the social aspects of the growth of the algae industry, and the mapping of projects and studies on bioremediation potential – just to name a few. Constant updates on the EU4Algae Maritime Forum website will continue to feed the community with information on funding opportunities, the latest reports and papers, and featuring algae-related projects and initiatives. A lot coming out is also related to raising awareness and acceptance of algae products. Stay tuned! 

 

 

Additional information 

Join the #EU4Algae conversation, and do not forget to keep an eye on the EU4Algae Forum to stay updated and learn more about the ongoing activities, initiatives, and updates on the development of the EU4Algae Forum online. 

To contact us, please use the following email: contactateu4algae [dot] eu (contact[at]eu4algae[dot]eu)

 

Details

Publication date
30 January 2024
Author
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries