Waterborne Days 2023: R&I shaping the future of waterborne transport

The inaugural Waterborne Days brought together the European waterborne transport community to discuss key trends and challenges in waterborne research and innovation (R&I), and assess progress of the sector towards the goals of the EU Green Deal.

Co-organised by the Waterborne Technology Platform (TP) and the European Commission, more than 300 delegates attended the Waterborne Days collaborative conference on 26 and 27 September in Brussels. Leaders from the sector came together with representatives the European Commission to showcase the success of research projects supported by the EU and exchange ideas for ensuring a greener and cleaner future for the sector.

Maximising opportunities

Pushing research to deployment was also the focus of the session on “Beyond Horizon Europe: Maximising the Opportunities of European Funding”. CINEA representatives shared the stage to provide a joined-up “deep-dive” into all the support available for “greening” the waterborne sector and how best to maximise those opportunities.

Six different thematic panel debates focused on different ship types (cruise, inland waterway transport, long distance, offshore, short sea shipping and ferries) providing a comprehensive overview on developments in waterborne transport sector, which is of fundamental importance to the EU. The event also included dedicated sessions on the main ship types as well as a series of workshops covering each of the areas of the Waterborne TP’s strategic research and innovation agenda – ports, electrification, sustainable alternative fuels, energy efficiency, design and retrofit and digital.

Awarding excellence

During the conference, the first Waterborne Days awards ceremony took place, recognising outstanding EU projects that demonstrated significant impact, innovation, and market-readiness capacity. A panel of industry and institutional judges met to discuss over 30 submissions, from which four were selected:

  • Excellence award: ORCELLE (Horizon Europe)
  • Economic viability award: AEGIS (Horizon 2020)
  • Environmental impact and climate change award: SEATECH (Horizon 2020)
  • Innovation award: iTERMINALS4.0 (Connecting Europe Facility)

Reinforced commitment

Overall, the stimulating discussions and productive exchanges between the projects, policymakers, researchers and industry demonstrated the value of collaboration for tackling the challenges facing the sector. The event provided an excellent forum for assessing progress, priorities and gaps, while also underpinning the commitment of the sector to the green and digital transformation

Source: European Commission | European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (https://shorturl.at/egEPX)