Roscoff Marine Station: Driving Blue-Growth in Brittany Region and Beyond

The EU 2020 strategy for “smart, sustainable, and inclusive” growth has recognized blue growth as one of the key pillars of the European economy. As such, research centers and laboratories dedicated for the exploration of marine life are receiving a growing attention both at national and supranational levels. Roscoff Marine Station (SBR) is one of such centers that is growing in prominence in Europe. SBR is set up as a research and higher education center in 1872, in Brittany region of France. The purpose was to make scientific advances in the field of Marine biology and ecology.

With the recognition that significant stride cannot be made by working in isolation, SBR has been very open and supportive of public-private partnerships (PPP). Particularly, starting from 1980’s SBR has engaged in a number of collaborative endeavors. However, such collaborations were largely intermittent and often personal relationships based. The establishment of the French National Research Agency in early 2010, coupled with the increasing attention given to PPP by local and European level funding bodies have made UBC efforts at SBR more systematic and organized. Programs such as FUI (Fonds Unique Interministeriel), the PIA (Investment for the future national program) and Horizon 2020 are typical examples of competitive funding schemes that promote collaboration between academia and industry. The staff of SBR is also increasingly embracing the culture of joint research and projects. The station currently estimates that over half of its team leaders are engaged in UBC activities.

Ongoing UBC activities at SBR

 SBR is currently engaged in a number of joint R&D projects that are exploring various aspects of the marine and maritime sectors. Three noteworthy examples are EMBRC, Idealg, and Oceanomics. EMBRC (European Marine Biological Resource Centre) is a €16m project that aims to avail biological resources for the advancement of blue biotechnologies. Idealg is similarly, a multimillion project that is concerned with the sustainable and environment-friendly production of seaweed. Oceanomics is a project undertaken in cooperation with 16 partners to promote the sustainable utilization of ocean plankton in France. It is also worth noting that SBR is the main coordinating body for various collaborative projects at local and European levels, including the “Marine activities for Blue Growth” strategy under the domain of smart specialization.

Outcome of the collaboration so far

Apart from acting as an excellent platform for understanding and responding to the needs of the industry and the regional government, the collaboration has resulted in some tangible outcomes. To begin with, the data from the collaborative projects has led to several publications in peer reviewed scientific journals, while at the same time contributing to the career advancement of researchers at SBR. Some of the joint R&D projects have also produced patentable innovations. In this regard, the projects Aquactifs and Pharmasea provide an excellent example. Employment opportunity creation through the establishment of new business ventures (e.g. Hemarina and ManRos Therapeutics) in the region of Brittany is yet another outcome of SBRs’ collaboration with the industry. Last but not least, the cooperation has also the added advantage of boosting the employability of SBRs’ graduates.

Want to learn more about SBR? You can read the full report here


This blog is based on a case study originally written by Olivier Mallet (Technopolis Group UK)

©all rights on images used in this article belong to Roscoff Marine Station


Meet the authors

Habtamu Diriba
Habtamu Diriba is a graduate of the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Research and Innovation in Higher Education (MaRIHE). Before joining the MaRIHE programme, he has completed a two year graduate study in Business Administration (MBA) at Jimma University. His research interests mainly consist of topics relating to university entrepreneurship & innovation, higher education governance & policy, and internationalization. Habtamu has presented on multiple international conferences including winning the ‘Outstanding paper award’ at the 38th EAIR conference in Birmingham, UK.

Hacer Tercanli
Hacer Tercanli is a recent graduate of an Erasmus Mundus Masters course, Research and Innovation in Higher Education (MARIHE), and since November 2016 a Project Officer at UIIN. Previously she has worked in public and private higher education institutions in Turkey and completed a Fulbright Master’s program in Applied Linguistics in the US. As part of her Erasmus Mundus Master Hacer studied in Austria, Finland, China and Germany. During her studies she has participated in HE development projects that involved mapping digital learning environments in Germany and facilitation of internationalization in Turkey. In addition, Hacer has also been involved in EU projects at the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre in Munster, Germany. Among her recent interests are university-industry cooperation and quality assurance in international joint degree programs.