Blue Culture Technology Excellence Hubs in EU Widening Member States
BCThubs project aspires to build R&I capacities in the Blue Economy sector of the participating Widening countries, focusing on Blue Culture Technologies (BCT) supporting the Underwater (UW) Cultural Heritage (CH) scientific research and tourism valorization. Although the European seas are reach in UWCH sites and assets, only a few of them are exploited sustainably towards social welfare, cohesion and growth. BCThubs aims to build BCT Excellence Hubs supporting with new innovative solutions and products, the sustainable protection, restoration, valorisation, management, accessibility and promotion of UWCH. Each Excellence Hub brings together actors related to Blue Culture and UWCH, including research/academia, businesses, public sector, and societal actors (i.e. quadruple helix approach); mutually reinforcing their capacities and effectiveness towards raising the innovation excellence in sustainable Blue Economy/Culture in the respective regions; aligned with regional or national smart specialization strategies. Although the new Hubs will be scoped regionally, they will be interconnected pursuing cross-border collaborations on common strategic goals and new value chains aligned with RIS3 and other EU policies (i.e. Green Deal). The wider ambition of the project is the establishment of an EU-wide BCT Cluster that will create a formal connection among hubs, after the project. Main outputs of BCThubs would be: 1) Establishment of BCT Excellence Hubs in Greece, Malta and Bulgaria and preparatory actions for the establishment of an EU-wide BCT Cluster, 2) Development of a cross-border joint R&I Strategy for the Hubsâ€™ operation, 3) Preparation of an Investment Strategy & Plan for the implementation of the joint R&I Strategy, 4) Implementation of specific innovative R&I prototype solutions, critical for UWCH in Hubsâ€™ regions, 5) Design and planning of new pilots and demonstrations in the Hubsâ€™ regions, 6) Cohesion and outreaching activities.