Sea Tech Week 2018: Spotlight on Marine Bioresources

From 8 to 12 October 2018, ‘Sea Tech Week’, Business France India, is returning to its quarters in Le Quartz, in Brest, for what promises to be a thrilling week, once again combining a trade fair, conferences and workshops. This latest edition is shining a spotlight on marine bioresources, an area of excellence for Brittany, France.
On this occasion, a delegation from India composed of 7 faculty members from IIT Goa will be participating. A special session is devoted to the GOAT project (Goa Atlantic cooperation programme on Marine Science and Technology). A series of visits is also organised.

A leading region in terms of marine bioresources

Boasting a vast, rich coastline, together with the appropriate academic and industrial skills, Brittany has quite naturally emerged as a leading force in terms of marine bioresources and nearly 70 enterprises are currently implementing them across the region. All of these form part of the network put in place by Capbiotek, a specialised centre for innovation commissioned by the Regional Council to stimulate the biotechnological network, which has been heralded as strategic. “Our mission encompasses supporting project developers, from the idea through to reaching the market, as well as the promotion of innovations on an international scale and hosting of the network of 280 protagonists, which we bring together,” explains its Director, Nathalie Letaconnoux.

Promising applications in the medical field

At the forefront of Brittany’s biotechnological activities, the increased prestige of seaweed is already benefiting the cosmetic and food-processing industries, as well as that of packaging and paints. Companies are also working to enhance the prestige of marine by-products, waste from filleting and shell collection residue. With regards to the potential applications for bioresources in the medical field, these are proving to be the most promising. This is notably evidenced by the work that has been successfully carried out by Hemarina on a marine worm, which has resulted in the extraction of a molecule that can be used as a blood substitute for the conservation of transplants, the studies by ManRos Therapeutics on a sea sponge for the treatment of cystic fibrosis and that of IFREMER on oysters for the treatment of cancer.

An intensive program with conferences and workshops

At the cutting edge of research, these three innovations mentioned above will be presented at Sea Tech Week, Brittany and several sessions will be dedicated to marine biotechnologies from Tuesday 9 to Thursday 11 October: major challenges regarding marine biotechnologies, applications in the domains of health, diet and materials; and biorefinery, for a ‘zero waste’ use of marine bioresources thanks to the complete recovery of any by-products extracted.

A reference professional show

A platform for meetings & networking sessions for various stakeholders and exciting discoveries, the ‘Sea Tech Week’ trade fair is a reference showcase for all marine-based know-how. Fifteen or so French and overseas companies and institutes have already confirmed their registration and will be presenting the latest products and services they offer: these notably include IFREMER, CADDEN, CLS, EMS, Garos Capteurs, Geomod, IEEE OES, iFADO, INSTALL, iXblue, MARITECH, NEOTEK, NKE Instrumentation, SBG Systems, Xylem, Technopôle Brest-Iroise science and technology park and Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique marine cluster. Three special pavilions are also announced within the show enclosure, the first dedicated to Norway, guest of honour for this 11th edition, the second being the Campus Mondial de la Mer, and the third at the South Coast Marine Cluster.

Why does it concern India

India has a favourable climate, diverse aqua fauna and its 8000km long coastline to support its marine life. It’s a country that works to generate the knowledge and innovations required for efficient utilization of its coastal wasteland, sea water, marine algae and solar power. India is amongst the top 12 biotech destinations in the world and ranks third in the Asia Pacific region and always trying to innovate.

India also has state-of-the-art technology centers and institutes of excellence in marine resources like the Central Marine Fisheries Research Centre Kochi, Dept. of Biotechnology New Delhi, National Centre for Biological Sciences Karnataka. India also possesses two major research centers on marine science and technology NIO (National Institute of Oceanography, Goa) and NIOT (National Institute on Ocean Technology, Chennai). Various Research programs are conducted in these public institutes and projects are undertaken individually by the institutes themselves or in collaboration with other Indian or foreign research institutes. The Indian biotech industry is expected to grow at 30.46 percent CAGR to reach USD 100 billion by 2025.

In 2015 a MoU has been signed by India and France for developing common activity on Marine Biology and Biotechnology. More recently in 2018, during the Knowledge Summit, a letter of intent has been signed between IIT Goa, Naval Group and CMM (Campus Mondial de la Mer, representing the whole community of marine sciences and technology, including biotechnology, of Western Brittany, Brest, France). GOAT is an Educational and Research Exchange Programme in the area of Marine Science and Technology. Based on a bottom-up approach, the GOAT project involves both public and private sectors. The visit of the Indian delegation aims to set up together with the French partners a detailed Project Overview Document.


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