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Posted 2024-03-20 12:58:15 by

This opportunity offers funding for teams who would like to develop a service related to ‘Blue Natural Capital’. Funding will be provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) for 6-month studies called ‘Kick-Starts’, which can lead to larger scale Demonstration Projects. Kick-Starts are 75% funded by ESA up to a maximum of €60K per contract. Proposed services must use satellite data or space-based technologies.

The challenge

Blue natural capital ecosystems provide valuable resources and livelihoods to local communities including:

  • tradeable products
  • an abundance of seafood 
  • tourism revenue

They also:

  • improve water quality
  • act as a buffer to storm surges
  • are efficient at removing carbon from the atmosphere
  • are vital refuges for biodiversity
  • form an essential component for a healthy ocean

Development, unsustainable aquaculture and land use, destruction of the topography of the coast and associated increasing pollution in many forms pose immediate threats to the health of these ecosystems. Degradation of these marine ecosystems will not only have a devastating environmental impact but also create significant economic losses. Mangroves and seagrass serve as a nursery for many commercially-important shellfish and fish, acting as important contributors to carbon sequestration and storage. Several goods such as fisheries resources, timber and firewood can be harvested from mangroves, and vegetation from these ecosystems provides valuable protection from erosion and flooding. 

A sustainable blue economic model fosters economic growth, social inclusion and the improvement and preservation of livelihoods, while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal area. It is estimated that the ocean economy will be worth $3 trillion annually by 2030, accounting for approximately 5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), and the economic and social value of coastal and marine resources and ecosystem services to individual communities and societies is incalculable.

The scope of the proposed Kick-start theme call is to support companies to investigate the technical feasibility and the economic viability of services which will address challenges related to blue natural capital monitoring, preservation, and sustainable growth. The call aims to promote the use of satellite technologies, in combination with digital technologies such as IoT, AI/ML, and blockchain to bring about innovative solutions for sustainable services and funding streams to support the blue natural capital sector.

Topics of relevance

The following relevant topics were identified for this Kick-start theme, along with examples (non-exhaustive) of potential applications which could be proposed. 

  • Coastal and marine ecosystem monitoring
  • Sustainable aquaculture and fisheries
  • Blue finance
  • Value of space

Click here for full details of the funding which will open for applications 6th May 2024 and close 14th June 2024.