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"Charting the course towards a Sustainable Blue Economy" Symposium

The first Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership Symposium took place on 13-14 February 2024 at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and brought together thought leaders, experts, and practitioners in a big-scale European event to promote the transformation towards a sustainable blue economy. 

Practical info

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Belgium (Rue du Musée 5, 1000 Brussels)

13 Feb 2024-14 Feb 2024 | 9:00-17:00




If you missed the event, you can watch the recorded sessions at your own convenience here.

The Symposium synthesised the objectives of the projects funded in the 1st Joint Transnational Call and presented the priorities for the second call. It provided an opportunity to learn from leading panelists drawn from science, policy, and business, to gain new insights, and expand the network.

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Belgium



11:30 Registration and lunch
13:00 Welcome messages
  • Michele Guerrini, Counsellor for Research and Innovation, Permanent Representation of Italy to the European Union
  • Christina Abildgaard, Director at the Department for Ocean and Polar Research, The Research Council of Norway
  • John Bell, Director Healthy Planet, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission 
13:20 Looking beyond the Horizon
  • Elisabetta Balzi, Head of Unit Ocean, Seas and Waters, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission 
13:30 Setting the Scene
  • Raschad Al-Khafaji, Director Brussels Office, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
13:45 Overseas perspective
  • Douglas Wallace, Scientific Director, MEOPAR Network, Canada
14:00 Lifting the anchor
1st year of the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership
  • Margherita Cappelletto, Ministry of University and Research, Italy
14:10 Setting sails
The Partnership's new R&I projects
  • Introduction to the suite of projects: Marta Norton, Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal 

Examples from each of the priority areas 

  • AQUABALANCE: Natalia Mæhle, Professor, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • DTO-Track: Claudia Meneses Moreno, Science Officer, Flanders Marine Institute
  • FAMOS: Lorenzo Cappietti, Associate Professor of Coastal Engineering, University of Florence
  • MedSeaPlan: Lisa Simone de Grunt, European Affairs Officer, World Ocean Council
  • SEAREFINERY: Zeynep Cetecioglu Gurol, Associate Professor, Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm
15:25 Coffee & Posters
16:00 Fair winds
Launch of the 2nd Partnership call
  • Maurice Heral, Department Officer, National Research Agency, France
16:15 Introduction to foresight panels
  • Julie Olivier, Science Policy Officer, Research Centre Jülich 
16:30 Foresight panel 1
Ocean observation in the Blue Economy
  • Joaquin Tintoré, Director, Balearic Islands Coastal Ocean Observing and Forecasting System
  • Rachid Nedjar, Chief Marketing Officer, VP Business, Unseen Labs
  • Marie-Hélène Rio, Ocean Applications Scientist, European Space Agency
17:30 Networking reception at the Royal Library of Belgium (entrance: Mont des Arts 28, 1000 Brussels)
  • Art exhibition, courtesy of Talk CEC Gallery artist Théo Drucker



08:30 Light breakfast and coffee
09:00 Ouverture 
  • Florence Ranson, REDComms
09:10 Foresight panel 2
Innovative governance for the Blue Economy 
  • Agnes Árnadóttir, CEO and Co-Founder, Brim Explorer
  • Caroline Bocquel, Chief Executive Officer, Ireland’s Seafood Agency
  • Hayri Deniz, Consultant and Secretary General, Abalıoğlu Fish and Food Products Corp. & Mugla Fish Farmers Association
10:00 Cultural intermezzo
  • Wim Opbrouck, Actor, Singer and Founder of the Institute of Research on the Wonders of the Sea  
10:15 Coffee & Posters
10:45 Foresight panel 3 
An inclusive and just Sustainable Blue Economy 
  • Rositsa Stoeva, Executive Manager in charge of Project Management and Cooperation with International and Regional Organizations, Permanent International Secretariat, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
  • Marloes Kraan, Researcher, Wageningen University and Research
  • Sophia Efstathiou, Senior Researcher, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
11:35 Foresight panel 4
The role of culture in the Blue Economy, with performance by Wim Opbrouck
  • Wim Opbrouck, Actor, Singer and Founder of the Institute of Research on the Wonders of the Sea 
  • Louise Carver, Research Associate, TBA-21 Academy
12:05 Visions for the Blue Economy 2030 
  • Kestutis Sadauskas, Deputy Director General, DG MARE, European Commission
  • Magda De Carli, Head of Unit and Deputy Director, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
12:25 Closing remarks 
  • Anna Maria Bernini, Minister of University and Research, Italy

Symposium Moderator:

  • Florence Ranson, REDComms

Programme Committee:

  • Thorsten Kiefer, JPI Oceans (chair)
  • Kathrine Angell-Hansen, Research Council Norway
  • Majbritt Bolton-Warberg, Marine Institute, Ireland
  • Willem De Moor, JPI Oceans
  • Renato Pires, Fundo Regional da Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal
  • Abraham Trujillo, Agencia Estatal de Investigación, Spain
  • Margherita Zorgno, Ministry of Universities and Research

Local Organising Committee:

  • Raluca Dumitrache, JPI Oceans (chair)
  • Frode Dal Fjeldavli, JPI Oceans
  • Willem De Moor, JPI Oceans
  • Thorsten Kiefer, JPI Oceans