Marine biotechnology explores and uses marine bioresources as the target for or origin of biotechnological applications. This for the production of goods and services. The developments can, positively or negatively, affect the natural environment, therefore it is necessary to consider sustainable use and societal aspects for the use of the marine environment.
While the field of marine biotechnology represents a large potential for European added value, the current level of collaborative research is not sufficient. Interdisciplinary cooperation and networking is needed. This includes basic research bringing together marine biology, physiology of marine plants, microorganisms and invertebrates, taxonomy, microbiology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, systems biology, bioinformatics, toxicology, -omics technologies and chemistry. The result will be new applications in fields such as drug discovery, novel foods and food ingredients, bioremediation, biomaterials, aquaculture, diagnostics, production processes and bio-energy.
No single country or region has the necessary capacity, knowledge or resources to fully exploit research and innovations from the marine environment. Advanced infrastructures both at sea and in the laboratories will be needed. Europe should focus and strengthen its effort in the area of marine biotechnology in order to find competitive niches. Trans-European collaboration will provide synergies and more value for the money by a coordinated European funding and coordination activity within this area.
The CSA MarineBiotech was therefore designed to deliver the first concrete steps towards this. Through the ERA-NET in marine biotechnology the aim is to enable the marine environment's contribution to 'smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’, a core objective of the Europe 2020 Strategy.