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Blue Economy Innovation Program

Sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems and the communities which depend on them.

What is the Blue Economy?

The blue economy comprises economic activity related to the ocean, seascapes, coastlines, intertidal regions, and connected coastal watersheds. According to the World Bank (2017), the Blue Economy is sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems. NC State is rapidly becoming poised to be a leader poised to fuel equitable, resilient and sustainable growth in next-generation maritime technologies (bluetech) and economies.

NC State’s Blue Economy Working Group was formed in August 2020 to garner the ideas and expertise of NC State students, staff, and faculty and foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

In 2021, the Creating Solutions for the Global Blue Economy Workshop (hosted at Carteret Community College) brought together entrepreneurs and knowledge experts with NC State undergraduate and graduate students to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship. This effort, led by Dr. Osburn, has attracted the interest of incubators, like First Flight Venture Center and Sea-Ahead, Inc., to help catalyze ideas generated by students into potential entrepreneurial endeavors, which will begin at the 2022 workshop. Throughout this effort, Dr. Osburn has engaged and leveraged partnerships with diverse NC State units, including CMAST, the Coastal Resilience and Sustainability Initiative, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Center for Geospatial Analytics, the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy, the Data Science Academy, and the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, as well as NSF- funded AI institute and NC’s Renewable Ocean Energy Program.

In February 2023, the Blue Economy Innovation Program was formalized as a program within the CRSI, appointing Dr. Chris Osburn as the Blue Economy and Innovation Program Director. Dr. Osburn will begin continue the annual workshop at CMAST, but also transition it into a two-semester innovation and entrepreneurship interdisciplinary course, as well as explore opportunities for workforce development across the state and region and expand the Blue Economy Innovation Program’s research portfolio at NC State.

Upcoming Events

SAVE THE DATE – the next Creating Solutions for the Global Blue Economy workshop will be held in Morehead City on October 14-15, 2024.

Note this is a Mon/Tue and occurs during NCSU’s Fall Break.

News and Updates

LJ Palmer-Moloney (Stardust Startups) shared this short video from Dr. Alice Hill on climate resilience and insurance. Innovations are certainly needed here.

Coastal Review has a nice article related to our 2023 workshop panel with boat captains David Berrane and Chris Kimrey and shellfish grower Mark Hooper. In that discussion, our panelists noted that keen competition in the recreational fishing industry promotes the maximum possible catch, but also that successful fishing often results in a lot of valuable fish getting thrown out (with or without freezer burn).

Now, this article is mostly about fish preparation methods but it is a good reminder that such notes to clients can form the basis of a larger discussion on conservation. Appealing to a sense of “waste not, want not” compliments quite nicely emphasizing the diverse and creative ways you can enjoy your catch.

As we work to develop a sustainable and equitable blue economy in NC and beyond, these types of panel discussions are critical. Thanks much again to David, Chris, and Mark for their participation!

From the journal, Nature: Climate change is making water stress worse for billions worldwide. Scaling up both new and traditional solutions must be a priority.