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Interview : GALATEA – new cross-sectoral and cross-border industrial value-chains in the Blue Economy

eBlue_economy_Marek Grzybowski
Interviw By :Marek Grzybowski
Marek Grzybowski interview with  Clémence Le Corff, Chargée de mission Europe/ EU Project manager, Pôle Mer Méditerranée, and Diego Carballo, European projects manager, Aerospace Valley.
Out of the GALATEA Innovation Support Mechanism Call#1, 178 SMEs applied for fundings of which 18 Polish, 20 Romanian, 59 Spanish, 28 Greek and 52 French. 77 vouchers applications have been submitted.
Marek Grzybowski:  GALATEA is a continuation of the „NEPTUNE, INNOSUP-1, Blue Growth Accelerator” project. Please let me know what this project was about? What were its effects?
Clémence Le Corff: NEPTUNE which stands for “New Cross Sectoral Value Chains Creation across Europe Facilitated By Clusters for SMEs’ Innovation in Blue Growth” was an innovation action project supported by the HORIZON 2020 programme of the European Commission. The challenge was to develop new cross-sectoral industrial value chains across the EU, by building upon the innovation potential of SMEs.
NEPTUNE’s Blue Growth Accelerator provided a unique opportunity for SMEs active in Water, Maritime, Aerospace, ICT, Agriculture, Logistics, Energy and Mobility sectors to get direct financial support of vouchers up to € 60,000 and access to a wide range of professional coaching and mentoring services to develop innovative technologies, services, and products in the Blue Growth Sector.
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eBlue_economy_DiegoCarballo_AV
 Diego Carballo: NEPTUNE was as well a major opportunity for its consortium to get to know better the European opportunities for SMEs offered by H2020, being one of the firsts INNOSUP-01 projects ever funded.
After 2 years and a half of operation, the following important outcomes can be highlighted:
  • € 2.8 million of direct financial support;
  • 41 innovative projects;
  • 72 SMEs and 3 would be entrepreneurs beneficiaries;
  • 15 Large scale demonstrators;
  • 100+ coaching and mentoring services provided by the clusters partners.
The success of NEPTUNE led to the mobilization of old and new partners in the initiative known today as GALATEA.
Marek Grzybowski:  What is the main goal of the GALATEA project?
Clémence Le Corff: GALATEA aims to develop new cross-sectoral and cross-border industrial value-chains integrating technologies and know-how from aerospace and ICT communities to key Blue Growth domains: smart port, smart ships, smart shipyard, and maritime surveillance. In that purpose, we have built a consortium of 8 partners (7 clusters from maritime, ICT and Aerospatiale sectors) and one Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) from 5 European countries: France, Greece, Poland, Romania and Spain).
To reach this objective, GALATEA develops an innovation support mechanism for SMEs with the implementation of Open Call for projects and services giving access to up to € 60 000 per SME and to coaching services provided directly by experts from the high-skilled cluster’s partners. 
Diego Carballo: In the current sanitary context, the principle of GALATEA that is concretely to create new bridges between actors from different sectorial and cultural ecosystems is even more necessary. SMEs owners and their teams are facing new
difficulties to keep their businesses afloat, representing the aerospace sector we know that breath of fresh air to allow enterprise to conduct activities has become necessary. On GALATEA we are not only talking about punctual grants, but also and mainly about a complement accompaniment of the SMEs in their project concretisation. For this reason we plan services regrading notably internationalisation of the businesses or even sustainability of the projects developed through GALATEA.
Marek Grzybowski:  Pôle Mer Méditerranée is the project leader. Please let me know about the Cluster activity?
Clémence Le Corff: Pôle Mer Méditerranée is a maritime innovation cluster located in South of France. Its ambition is to contribute to the sustainable development of the maritime and coastal economy in the Mediterranean basin, in Europe and across the globe.
It stimulates and encourages innovation trough collaboration around 6 Strategic Business Areas:
  • Maritime defence, safety and security;
  • Ship and nautical industry;
  • Marine energy resources;
  • Marine biological resources;
  • Marine environment and coastal planning;
  • Ports, logistics and maritime transport.
In 2021, its network involves 420 members including large companies, SMEs, research institute and academic. Pôle Mer Méditerranée provides a wide range of services to its members related to access to funding, international activities, business growth, collaborative R&D projects.
.eBlue_economy_ GALATEA ACTIVITY
.eBlue_economy_ GALATEA ACTIVITY
Marek Grzybowski:  Aerospace Valley is very active in the GALATEA project. It is a very strong cluster in the aerospace sector. What activities is Aerospace Valley focused on?
Diego Carballo:  Aerospace Valley is an Aeronautic, Space and Drones cluster located in the South-West of France, on the regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie. Our ambition is to mobilize and encourage interactions between the main actors of the three sectors, mainly SMEs that constitute the main proportion of our members.
Those interactions are articulated around 5 main Excellence Ecosystems:
  • Data and artificial intelligence economy
  • Solutions for the factory of the future
  • Propulsion and embedded energy
  • Structures, materials and processes
  • Embedded and communicating systems
In 2021 our network gathers more than 800 members, including 560 SMEs working togheter on 3 focus areas: digital transformation, international development and trainings. 
Marek Grzybowski:  What are the main areas of activity in the GALATEA project?
Clémence Le Corff: GALATEA has been thought into 3 steps, all aiming to support SMEs in their innovation development:
  • Identification of needs: GALATEA will discuss with end-users from the 4 targeted domains in order to identify their needs and the challenges they represent for SMEs;
  • Emergence of project: Through 2 different events, GALATEA will favor the discussions between SMEs and the emergence of project ideas to be submitted to the GALATEA Open Calls;
  • Innovation support: GALATEA has launched a Call for vouchers and a Call for services aiming to select high-potential SMEs and support them in the development of their innovation projects.
. eBlue_economy_GALATEA MAP OF PARTNERS
. eBlue_economy_GALATEA MAP OF PARTNERS
Diego Carballo: Aerospace Valley is lead partner on activities regarding emergence of challenges and ideas. The objective of this part of the project is to mobilize potential end-users for our final beneficiaries (the SMEs) and to allow as well the applicants to our calls to get support in meeting counterparts from different sectors and countries. 
Marek Grzybowski:  An important part of the GALATEA project was the identification of needs for innovation. Which groups of needs have been reported by the EU maritime industries?
Clémence Le Corff: Thanks to the work done by all partners in the 5 GALATEA countries, GALATEA was able to identify the needs of end-users from the port, ship, shipyard and maritime surveillance sectors. More than 45 end-users of which many port authorities, large companies in the field of shipbuilding or repair and surveillance maritime stakeholders have been heard by GALATEA consortium. These needs have been then analyzed and transformed into challenges that SMEs could overtake, as solution for end-users.
Diego Carballo: It is a great teamwork that has been carried out all across Europe by the GALATEA partners to allow the gathering of concrete end-users needs related to the project’s areas of activity.
From the treatment of the mass of heterogeneous data collected, GALATEA managed to propose to SMEs 21 challenges to work on in order to meet new partners and receive accompaniment. 
Marek Grzybowski:  One of the important stages of the GALATEA project is the creation of Innovation Clubs. What are the effects of their creation and meetings between SMEs and experts? 
Clémence Le Corff: Innovation Clubs aimed to create an open place where SMEs could meet between each other and exchange with experts from the maritime field. By using a Design Thinking methodology, within GALATEA Innovation Clubs, SMEs were able to brainstorm about the various challenges and suggest some innovative ideas on how to tackle these challenges. As the Innovation Clubs brought actors from various sectors, it was as well a place where complementarity between skills and experiences could be found. 
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eBlue_economy_Ey6VxHEW8AAMZj2
Diego Carballo:  During the two days that GALATEA dedicated to Innovation Clubs 19th and 21st of January 2021, between 10 to 20 SMEs decided to join us in the elaboration of ideas to answer the GALATEA challenges. We are counting 32 ideas of collaborative projects that have been developed during the 4 2-hours sessions. On those days SMEs were at the same occasion presented with the opportunity to meet new partners that showed the same interest in GALATEA challenges. 
Marek Grzybowski:  GALATEA organized B2B meetings. How do you rate this stage of the project? Are there any further B2B meetings planned?
Clémence Le Corff: GALATEA B2B meetings session hold on February 5th, as part of the emergence of project step, was a successful day. In total, 126 meetings were done within that day. This success is a real proof of the need of cooperation for SMEs in order to innovate better and wider. 
eBlue_economy_GALATEA 5 STEPS
eBlue_economy_GALATEA 5 STEPS
Diego CarballoThe success of the B2B meetings day showed the envy and the need of the SMEs to expand their horizon in meeting counterparts from different sectors and countries, and echoed to the initial goals set by GALATEA. Strong of our success we decided to renew the experience at the occasion of the launch of our second call during the last semester of 2021. This new edition will be completed by Innovation Clubs, like we did at the beginning of this year. 
Marek Grzybowski:  A competition for products and services for maritime industries has been announced. Characterize this part of the GALATEA project. On what terms can SMEs enter the competition? What will be the conditions for selecting the proposed products and services??
Clémence Le Corff: Innovative SMEs offering a solution to an identified challenge in the field of Smart Port, Smart Ships, Smart Shipyard and maritime surveillance have been able to submit an application to the GALATEA Call for vouchers #1. We received in total 76 applicants, coming from 5 European countries.

eBlue_economy_GALATEA ACC eBlue_economy_GALATEA ACC

This Call is offering 3 types of direct funding to SMEs:
  • Development and Technology Transfer Voucher (up to 20 000 €);
  • Prototyping Voucher (up to 60 000 €);
  • Large-scale demonstrator Voucher (up to 60 000 €).
For prototyping and large-scale demonstrator vouchers, SMEs have to apply in consortia of at least 2 SMEs from 2 different sectors (Maritime, ICT, Aerospace). Transnational consortia will be favored at the selection phase.
The evaluation procedure of applications is in progress. The selection of beneficiaries is based on the excellence of the innovation, its impact on the market and the environment and the implementation of the project.
SMEs may also apply to a Call for services and benefits for coaching services provided by the cluster partners in order to boost their innovation activities and growth. These services are focusing on:
  • Business model elaboration;
  • Technology expertise;
  • Internationalization;
  • Funding opportunities.
10 applications for services have been received so far.
More information on both calls here.
  • Development and Technology Transfer Voucher (up to 20 000 €);
  • Prototyping Voucher (up to 60 000 €);
  • Large-scale demonstrator Voucher (up to 60 000 €).
For prototyping and large-scale demonstrator vouchers, SMEs have to apply in consortia of at least 2 SMEs from 2 different sectors (Maritime, ICT, Aerospace). Transnational consortia will be favored at the selection phase.
The evaluation procedure of applications is in progress. The selection of beneficiaries is based on the excellence of the innovation, its impact on the market and the environment and the implementation of the project.
SMEs may also apply to a Call for services and benefits for coaching services provided by the cluster partners in order to boost their innovation activities and growth. These services are focusing on:
  • Business model elaboration;
  • Technology expertise;
  • Internationalization;
  • Funding opportunities.
10 applications for services have been received so far.
More information on both calls here. 
Marek Grzybowski:  What will happen after selecting products for implementation? What are the next steps in the GALATEA project?
Clémence Le Corff: After the selection, SMEs will be able to start their project. GALATEA partners will follow-up the implementation of the innovative activities in order to advise the beneficiaries and measure the impact of such mechanism.

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A 2nd Call for vouchers will be launched in September, with the selection of new beneficiaries and other Blue Growth innovative solutions.
At the end of the project (September 2022), a final event will be organized hopefully in Brussels. All beneficiaries would be able to present their project and developed solutions and meet with potential investors in order to sustain their project development.
Diego Carballo: For all SMEs to be fostered by GALATEA, will be proposed the perspective of sustaining the project to be developed, even after the life of GALATEA.
We sincerely hope that thanks to GALATEA great projects will be initiated, that partnerships between SMEs from different horizons will grow and that new business opportunities will rise. So we will make sure that the impact of GALATEA remain in the next few years.

 

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