Through the first joint call entitled “The development of biorefinery processes for marine biomaterials”, the Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET (ERA-MBT) has a total budget of more than € 8 million to support transnational research projects from academia and industry. After the submission deadline of 10 December, 37 pre-proposals were received requesting a total funding of € 42 million. The five times oversubscription reveals a high interest and importance of this topic, and will give a good competition for high quality projects.
The call is an initiative of 14 funding organisations from 11 countries. Partnering between at least 3 different countries resulted in 37 consortia and 194 participants, of which some are also from outside the call partnership. The priority in many projects are algae, but also fish and bacteria are important biomass sources targeted for the development of sustainable biorefinery processes.
The aim of the first Joint Call is to bring together basic, applied, technology and market driven research approaches to enhance and develop efficient and sustainable biotechnology based biorefinery processes for marine bioresources. Transnational research consortia from academia, research institutes and industry were invited to submit proposals that develop new and/or improved biotechnological knowledge, tools and methods for the sustainable processing of marine biomass into a variety of bio-based products and/or services. This is best achieved through integrated biorefinery processes ideally utilising all molecular fractions present in the relevant biomass.
Industrial companies accounted for almost 9% of the requested funding whereas research organisations and universities accounted for respectively 27% and 59% while non-profit organisations requested 5%.
Over the next three months, all pre-proposals will be reviewed, and qualified projects will be invited to submit full proposals before 30 April 2015. Projects are expected to start at the end of 2015.