Horizon Europe candidate partnership: | JPI OCEANS

Horizon Europe candidate partnership:

A climate neutral, sustainable and productive Blue Economy

The Blue arm of the Green Deal: 
transitioning to a sustainable blue economy


  • Timeline
  • Parties involved
  • Draft Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda
  • Draft proposal for a European Partnership


In 2019 the European Commission asked potential partners to further elaborate proposals for the candidate European Partnerships identified during the strategic planning of Horizon Europe. The process led to a portfolio of 49 European Partnerships. Among them is the Partnership ‘A climate neutral, sustainable and productive Blue Economy’. The Partnership aim is to reduce fragmentation by linking existing activities and efforts to combine and align pan-European, regional and national investments and the identified socio-political priorities for marine and maritime R&I. This will offer a value proposition that signifies high return on public R&I investment through collaboration and prospect for sustainable economic development. 

Parties involved 

The core group of formal members and signatories will be comprised of relevant ministries and funding agencies from the participating countries.

  • Countries: EU Member States and Associated Countries
  • European Commission: lead contact DG Research and Innovation
  • Organisations/ initiatives: JPI Oceans, regional seabasin initiatives 


The draft Partnership Proposal was submitted to the European Commission in July 2020. Initial resource commitments from member states to the partnerships were made in autumn 2020. A public consultation contributed to the partnership’s Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) in November/ December 2020 with 212 responses providing the basis of a consultation draft report. The Draft SRIA was delivered in February 2021 and will be finalised by the Partnership consortium when it is formally established. 

The Sustainable Blue Economy partnership is included in the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-22 as a co-funded partnership. The current preparatory phase towards establishing the Partnership consortium is being co-led by Italy and Norway until a formal coordinator is appointed.

Draft Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda

February 2021: Draft Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda 

In February 2020, Member State delegates, representatives of the Sea-basins Initiatives and the European Commission delivered a draft SRIA, coordinated by the JPI Oceans Secretariat. The draft SRIA will be finalized and endorsed when the Partnership consortium is established in autumn 2021.

The Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) is a framework of agreed high-level ideas for thematic partnership priorities, on which the development of Annual Work Plans by the formal parties to the Partnership will be based. 

This SRIA builds on the extensive analysis, priority setting, and stakeholder consultation performed while developing the strategic agendas of regional and pan-European initiatives. The analysis of regional-scale strategic agendas revealed important knowledge gaps and associated R&I themes of high relevance, shared across sea basins. It inspired the architecture of a pan-European agenda for the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership, with four high-level thematic pillars under which priority R&I objectives were clustered: 1) A blue economy in harmony with nature, 2) Blue economy solutions towards climate neutrality, 3) A thriving blue economy for the people, 4) Integrated and responsible ocean governance. 

Partnership Blue Economy pillars and key enablers

The pillars reflect the transformative change required to achieve a sustainable transition of the blue economy that will benefit people, planet and economy. Pillars 1-3 relate to the three blue economy aspects mentioned in the Partnership title, namely sustainabilityclimate neutrality and productivity. In the context of this Partnership, these key terms are considered in the broad sense of their meaning. Sustainability refers to a desired system that reconciles long-term environmental and economic health. Climate neutrality includes the goal of a net zero effect of all activities on the climate system throughout entire value chains and considering socioeconomic climate resilience. The term productivity refers to a sustainable blue economy‘s contribution to secure provision of requirements for the well-being of all people, such as sustainable jobs, income, food, health, safety and recreation.  

Pillars 1-3 are connected by the integrative element of governance represented by pillar 4. While governance is relevant to all pillars, its critical importance in achieving the aims of the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership and its outstanding relevance for European countries and the European Union, means it is afforded its own pillar and associated R&I objectives.  

Seven cross-cutting key enablers have been identified. They connect and support all four pillars. These enablers are essential catalysts to achieve the objectives of all four thematic pillars, but do not themselves have R&I objectives associated with them. 

Draft proposal for an European Partnership

July 2020: Draft proposal for a European Partnership under Horizon Europe ‘A climate neutral, sustainable and productive Blue Economy’ 

In autumn 2019 the European Commission asked potential partners to further elaborate proposals for the candidate European Partnerships identified during the strategic planning of Horizon Europe. The Sustainable Blue Economy partnership proposal was developed by potential partners based on common guidance and a template and taking into account the initial concepts of the Commission and feedback received from Member States during early consultation. The Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership aims to achieve four general objectives: I) Alignment of priorities and investments across Europe, II) Cooperation across socioeconomic sectors and scientific disciplines, III) Provision of knowledge for a sustainable development of the blue economy and IV) Transformation to a more digital knowledge-based climate-neutral and sustainable blue economy. An updated proposal will be prepared to respond to the formal call for the partnership to be launched in October 2021 with a submission deadline of 15 February 2022.




  • Candidate Coordinators: Italy (Raffaele Liberali), Norway (Kathrine Angell-Hansen)
  • European Commission services: Elisabetta Balzi, Wendy Bonne
  • JPI Oceans Support to the Partnership: Thorsten Kiefer (JPI Oceans)

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