EU Horizon 2020 funds to support world-class innovation at Swansea

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At an event this week to mark the first anniversary of the launch of Horizon 2020 – the EU’s largest research and innovation programme – Welsh Government Finance Minister Jane Hutt announced funds of nearly £170,000 have been approved by the European Commission and will be invested in Swansea University through the £1.6m Marine Investment in the Blue Economy (MARIBE) project.

The MARIBE project, which is a collaboration between 11 other universities across the EU, will explore opportunities to achieving marine-based economic growth through large-scale pilot initiatives in European seas.

Dr Dimitrios PletsasDr Dimitrios Pletsas (pictured), Collaborative Projects Officer in the Marine Energy Research Group, College of Engineering, Swansea University, said: "Through MARIBE we want to unlock the economic potential of European waters by improving the understanding of interrelations between different maritime activities, technology and the marine environment.

"This will lead to sustainable growth in the off-shore economy, and securing EU funds through Horizon 2020 has been very important in developing the project."

Horizon 2020, worth nearly €80 billion across EU regions between 2014 and 2020, aims to produce world-class science, industrial leadership and promote effective collaborations between the public and private sectors to deliver innovative products for commercial success.

Addressing an audience of businesses, universities and public sector organisations at the First Annual Horizon 2020 Event in Wales, held in Cardiff Bay, the Minister said: "Horizon 2020 presents Wales with excellent opportunities to build research excellence and enhance Wales’ reputation in the world for research and innovation.

"In addition, £310 million of EU funds through the Structural Funds will be invested in Wales to help build the capacity for research and put businesses and universities, in particular, in a stronger position to compete for Horizon 2020 funds.”

Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Adviser, said: “Coupling scientific excellence and innovative companies with European funding will help us build success in Wales in the future, producing better health care, new technologies, more jobs and greater economic capacity."