Anticipating Potential Pathways and Routes for Innovation towards desirable Socio-Economic impacts Internal


Activity Overview

Type: Foresight Workshop
Start Date: September 6, 2018
End Date: September 7, 2018
Venue: Conference Center, Station Biologique Roscoff, Roscoff, France
Contact: Douglas Robinson
E-mail: contact [at]
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2017 call for FWS and WG proposals
Total Budget: €7,445
Funds Granted: €7,445

Manager(s): Douglas Robinson
Co-organiser(s): Philippe Potin, Isabel Sousa Pinto


  • Identify opportunities and challenges, bottlenecks
  • Characterise the variety of socio-economic impacts
  • Build an awareness of tools and methods to address socio-economic impacts of Marine research and innovation

The process for the workshop will include: 

  1. mapping the future innovation pathways and challenges for Macro Algae innovation and the eventual markets through interviews and document analysis (see Box 1 at the end of this section for an example of an innovation pathways map)
  2. a first identification of potential (and past) socio-economic impacts (again through interviews and in interaction with the partners in the proposal),
  3. a workshop bringing 30 people together to analyse, assess and further flesh out the analyses on the innovation challenges for macro algae value chains and socio-economic impacts (tentative date 15th and 16th May 2018 in SB Roscoff)
  4. a digestion of the results and creation of a report plus including an “impact sensor” (a small diagnostic kit to help identify and describe socio-economic impacts)
  5. writing of two articles and presentation of the results at the EMBRIC general assembly (UK, Sept 2018), Seatechweek (Brest, FR October 2018), and in the GENIALG general assembly January 2019. In addition, we plan to disseminate brief results via the new interactive internet platform of the International Seaweed Association (to be launched early 2018).


  • Workshop report for wider dissemination within the EuroMarine network including:
    • A map of future innovation pathways including a characterisation of various bottlenecks and challenges
    • Catalogue of the variety of potential socio-economic impacts of macro algae innovation
    • A socio-economic impact “detector”, a document that can help identify emerging impacts (positive and negative) in order to assist EuroMarine partners in other innovation and assessment activities
  • Scientific publication in the social sciences (target journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change)
  • Scientific publication summarising the results for a Marine policy journal (target journal : Marine Policy)
  • Presentation of results at the EMBRIC annual meeting, September Hinxton, UK
  • Presentation of results at the SeaTech Week, October 2018, Brest, France.
  • Presentation of results at the GENIALG mid-term review at SAMS in January 2019.
  • Present results briefly in the internet platform of the International Seaweed Association

Expected impacts

Whilst there is a lot of pressure to think about socio-economic impacts of research and innovation activities, particularly from funding agencies such as the European Commission H2020 programme and national funding agencies (ANR, DFG etc.), there are few tools or processes to assist researchers and innovators to characterise and evaluate impacts. This is particularly so for future oriented work, which is often the case in emerging fields of research and innovation. Therefore, a key aspect of this workshop is capacity building regarding “getting to grips” with impact assessment, both through participating in the workshop and the availability of the eventual outputs (listed above). Another key aspect is that this impact assessment will be tailored for the Marine Context, thus it should be both suitable and transferable for other Marine socio-economic impact activities.


See the link below for more information.


The APPRISE workshop brought together 30 participants to Roscoff, France in order to explore pathways in macroalgae research and development, innovation and market creation. 

The workshop was a highly engaging affair, and the original broad aims of the organisers were further articulated into more distinct questions, grouped into three themes:

Products, Markets and Value Chains

  • What are the main current applications and product families 
  • What are the promising (and underdeveloped) markets 
  • Where could there be growth? Which sectors? Do we see high value co-products?  
  • What issues are inhibiting growth? Scientific Knowledge? Access to high quality seaweeds? Consumer opinions (how are they changing)?
  • What different types of value chains do we see emerging? Seaweed dedicated? Seaweed as a key part? Seaweed as a useful but not essential part? Are seaweed value chains mature enough to compete? 
  • In the various applications, how do seaweed based products compare with alternatives? Functionally better? Economically better? Environmentally better?

Exploitation / Aquaculture of Seaweeds

  • What options are currently on the table for sustainable exploitation and aquaculture of seaweeds (harvesting wild seaweed, off shore aquaculture, inland aquaculture etc.);
  • Which species for which applications/products? Should Europe specialise? 
  • Foreign imports, particularly from Asia… can Europe compete? Why should we build capacity in production of seaweed? (Access? Quality?) 
  • Do we see a happy marriage between (a) building markets for seaweed products and (b) seaweed production and harvesting? (Are they developing separately? In a coordinated way?) 
  • What about reactivity to market needs? What time frames are needed for building capacity in certain species? Which approach to exploitation/application is more suitable? 
  • Do we see a consumer preference for wild seaweeds versus cultivated seaweeds? (For example in the food industry?) 

Seaweed Innovation System Drivers and Bottlenecks

  • Regulation of aquaculture offshore / inland too restrictive for growth?;
  • Does current market demand for seaweed justify investing in production (chicken and egg scenario). What strategies to breakthrough this innovation impasse? 
  • Are sufficient technical standards in place? If not, where are the hotspots where this is urgently needed. 
  • Investment landscape (public and private)? What is the outlook for finances for blue growth? 
  • Regional / national / European policy? 

These discussions led to the agreement that the participants should continue to explore these themes and consider pursuing a follow-on workshop in 2019, as well as the drafting of a publication focussed on the macroalgae innovation system for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. 

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June 26, 2018 - News - Update or Reminder - Register now for the APPRISE workshop