A project encouraging remote communities to repurpose marine waste, which utilises the eco-innovation and circular economy expertise and experience of The Centre for Sustainable Design (CfSD) at UCA, has been recognised as one of this year’s most innovative and inspiring EU funded projects.
The transnational European project, Circular Ocean, was named the winner of the Public Choice category at the RegioStars awards ceremony, held during the 2016 European Week of Regions and Cities. Circular Ocean aims to inspire remote communities to realise the economic opportunities of discarded fishing nets and ropes, helping to turn marine waste into a useful resource and supporting the creation of a more circular economy.
Professor Martin Charter, Director of CfSD, said: “We are thrilled with this award and delighted to be involved in this inspiring project. This award highlights the forward-thinking nature of Circular Ocean and I believe the project’s research and resources will really support the creation of eco-innovative enterprises throughout the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) region.”
The RegioStars awards recognise good practice in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects which could be attractive and inspiring to other regions. The Circular Ocean team were presented with their award by the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu.
Circular Ocean works with stakeholders, including harbour masters, fishermen, fishing net manufacturers and business support groups, in ports and harbours across the NPA region to research the problem of discarded fishing nets and ropes and to create eco-innovative enterprises to address marine waste.
“Over the next three years, the project partners will work closely with these stakeholders to promote the green economy by finding solutions and reusing waste materials,” adds Professor Charter. “Our aim is to drive eco-innovation, generate environmentally responsible businesses and diminish levels of marine litter.”
Funded by the EU's ERDF Interreg VB NPA programme, Circular Ocean’s partners include The Centre for Sustainable Design at UCA, the Environmental Research Institute of the North Highland College UHI in Scotland, Macroom E in Ireland, the Arctic Technology Centre based in Greenland, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.