Report on ERA-MBT Open Stakeholder Consultation | Marinebiotech

Report on ERA-MBT Open Stakeholder Consultation

Published on 16 April 2015

Between 25 June and 15 August 2014, the Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET has consulted its stakeholders to get a better overview of the existing interactions between the industry and academia in the field of marine biotechnology. In particular, the aim of this open consultation was to identify the needs and gaps in such interactions.

This report summarises the results of this mapping survey and concludes that the complete area of marine biotechnology is very complex, on the industry side comprising mostly SMEs, but otherwise include a large variety of stakeholder categories such as industry clusters, associations, networks, consultants, TTOs, funding agencies, academic institutes and a range of organisations at national, regional and European level.

Raw material being processed contains all different biomass categories, counting both macro- and micro-organisms. Similarly the products coming out of marine biotechnology processing include a large variety of product categories, ranging from food and feed over health products to the materials and chemical industries’ products. Further to that, environmental applications have a high priority.

Concerning the industry needs for new legislation for IPR/IPP a careful conclusion could be drawn that if there are specific IPR/IPP issues for marine biotechnology they relate to the jurisdiction connected to the ABS of raw material. For the remaining part of the marine biotechnology area the technical issues related to IPR/IPP can be considered similar to other biotechnology production. New legislation is under way in Europe that might make it easier to protect knowledge and particularly file patents.

Lack of public funding to bridge the gap between academia and industry, and insufficient co-operation between academia and industry are the most important reasons identified as a problem for successful technology transfer. The focus of the verbal answers in the ERA-MBT survey was more on lack of funding in general than on funding to bridge the gap between academia and industry in particular.

Overall it is estimated that modern infrastructures and tools are essential for the successful development of marine biotechnology, but it is realised that good equipment is very expensive and difficult to get funding for. The quality of existing infrastructure is in general estimated as good, but there is a need for continuous updating if level of research and innovation is to be continued at the present level. Availability is fairly good, but due to lack of collaboration between academia and industry, the two sides are not utilising existing infrastructure and tools optimally. It is also considered that infrastructures are scattered in Europe.

The answers given in the ERA-MBT survey did not allow further analysis of what opinion the different stakeholder categories had on technology transfer because the number of responses for each category was not sufficient to make a more detailed quantitative analysis.

The answers on funding sources and funding portfolio in the questionnaire presented a quite varied picture where the majority of marine biotechnology stakeholders pool resources to fund their RTDI from many different funding sources. Domestic public funding was otherwise the source that most stakeholders relied on. The bottlenecks for funding were similarly varied, but again access to public funding was registered as the main bottleneck.

Please read more details in the full report.