Empowering Women and Mainstreaming Gender Equality in the Blue Economy

The WINBLUE project intends to accelerate the empowerment of women in the blue economy through facilitating their participation in five sectors: – circular blue bioeconomy and biotechnology, – aquaculture and fisheries, – offshore renewable energy, – sustainable coastal tourism, – cutting edge enabling technology for protecting and restoring marine ecosystems.

The project will launch five WINBLUE labs to involve stakeholders in the: co-design and implementation of gender equality plan models; design and validate upskilling and coaching programs for women; implement a data collection and monitoring strategy to benchmark and monitor the evolution of gender inclusiveness in the blue economy; identify and assess highly replicable good practices.

Main policy area

❖ Aquaculture
❖ Sustainable tourism and cultural heritage
❖ Offshore renewable energy
❖ Algae and bio-economy
❖ Sustainable fisheries (incl. scientific advice)
❖ Blue careers and skills

Sea basin

❖ Atlantic
❖ Mediterranean
❖ North Sea
❖ Black Sea


Start date

End date

WINBLUE — Grant Agreement 101112278
WINBLUE receives funding from the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) programme

Official website

Project Partners

The consortium implementing the WINBLUE project includes the following partners:

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) is the coordinator of the WINBLUE project. It is the largest public performing research organisation in Italy. It is distributed all over Italy through a scientific network of Institutes. The Population and Social Policies Research Institute (IRPPS) is one of the research institutes of the network. CNR-IRPPS has a solid experience in participation in relevant interdisciplinary projects implemented with the support of national and international funding schemes. CNR-IRPPS has coordinated – among the other projects – the H2020 “MARINA-Marine Knowledge Sharing Platform for Federating Responsible Research and Innovation Communities” project and has been a partner in several H2020 projects such as R-I PEERS, ATHENA, GRRIP and RRING.

The University of Siena is one of the oldest public universities in the world with a strong global standing, currently at first place in many national and international rankings. The Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy brings together researchers from biotechnologies and molecular sciences, including expertise in biomaterials and various fields of sustainability assessment (LCA, LCC and Social LCA). Rebecca Pogni is Professor of Physical Chemistry ( She has coordinated EU funded projects like BISCOL and FISH4FISH in the field of Blue Biotechnology. In WINBLUE, UNISI participates in data collection and sustainability leading Task1.2 (WP1), contributing to assess the impact, scalability, and replicability of the selected practices (WP2), as well as support for intensive training courses on gender equality promotion and inclusion of women in the blue economy (WP3), communication activities (WP4) and the cooperation with the complementary project and other close initiatives.

The BIOCHICA (BCC) is Italian Start-Up, based in the Marche Region (Fermo) and close to the Adriatic Sea. The start-up has been created as an unexpected result of ENABLING EU Project (H2020), thanks to the collaboration between Norwegian and Italian partners. Biochica aims to valorize fishing residues and local aquatic biomass into the novel BBPs – Biobased Products. Biochica is currently working with several European R&D institutions to explore new biomaterials by exploitation of local Chitin and Chitosan as promising chemical building blocks to be exploited into the new biomaterials and BBPs. Its priorities are to valorize local biomass residues through sustainable pathways for circular blueconomy growth. In this context, particular attention will be given to strengthening women’s role through the enhancement of their own STEM skills have priorities. In this framework, Biochica aims to contribute with its experience and of its member to the WINBLUE project by implementing workshops, impact assessments, and best practices, and contributing to creating a stakeholders’ platform. The aim will be to transfer know-how and opportunities about innovative sectors to the women engaged in different sectors of blueconomy.

Biochica will leverage its European and local networks to communicate and disseminate WINBLUE results, as well as engage public and private stakeholders in the project activities.

With more than 200 employees, the National Institute of Biology (NIB) is one of the independent Public Research Institutions for Life Sciences in Slovenia. The Institute was established by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia in 1960. The basic activity of the Institute has been and continues to be basic, developmental and applicative research in the fields of biotechnology, biophysics, biomedicine and system biology.
The numerous activities taking place at the NIB are related to the environment, agriculture, food and, more recently and increasingly so, human health. An important milestone in the history of the Institute was the establishment of the Marine Biological Station Piran (MBSP) on the Adriatic coast in Piran in 1969 and its recent upgrading into a modern research facility in 2006. The focus of MBSP is ecological research, particularly interdisciplinary research concerning coastal seas. Other NIB research programmes take place within the Department of Organisms and Ecosystems Research, Department of Genetic Toxicology and Cancer Biology, and Department of Biotechnology and Systems Biology focus on topics ranging from viruses, plant and animal species to humans and their environment.

ISDI Group Ltd is a Maltese SME that provides a wide array of professional services in the Mediterranean basin and overseas. ISDI’s core activities are in the broad field of sustainable development through innovative training and solutions in sustainable tourism with a dedicated focus on the impact of over-tourism in natural heritage sites and the provision of specialised technological solutions for the sustainable management of marine ecosystems. The added value of ISDI’s participation in WINBLUE is the multidisciplinary competence of its team, furtherly enhanced by the harmonic synergies of two ongoing projects.
ISDI is currently involved in the H2020 project Smart technology for MArinE Litter SusTainable RemOval and Management. (MAELSTROM) which aims to the mitigation of marine litter’s impact on coastal ecosystems. The activities of WINBLUE are synergistic with specific effects of MAELSTROM in the framework of the relevant results in the sector of the blue economy, with the achievement of removal of 90% of macro-plastic litter and a substantial fraction of micro-litter in the demonstration areas. MAELSTROM aligns with WINBLUE in improving the professional skills and competencies of those working within the blue economy-related sectors. A similar approach of capacity building and synergic with WINBLUE is the project Erasmus + GEO TOURS GUIDES: Enhancement of Tour Guides and Agents Competences on Geological Tours and Brand Building, to develop a novel blended training package directed to tourist guides, tourist guide students and tourist agencies. ISDI will be the WINBLUE sector manager for the sustainable coastal tourism and sector co-manager, together with PLOCAN, for the cutting-edge enabling technology sector.

EUKNOW is a Belgian SME specialised in innovation management and sustainability. EUKNOW’s activities range from the sustainability of agricultural value chains, to the bioeconomy, mobility and the blue economy. EUKNOW has been involved in activities related to the greening and digitalisation of port environments, including also their relations with the urban contexts in which they are located. The company has also been active in research initiatives for the valorisation of biomass of marine origins. Its clients include fisheries and aquaculture associations, companies active in the valorisation of marine biomass for animal feed, port authorities, research organisations active in marine biology and the maritime environment, and nautical secondary schools. EUKNOW regularly cooperates with clients and public institutions on training and coaching for sustainability.
EUKNOW takes part in the WINBLUE project, to manage activities related to the identification, analysis and dissemination of good practices to enhance the role of women in the blue economy.

The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) is a leading research infrastructure (RI) with land-based and sea-based novel infrastructures to support research, technology development and innovation in the marine and maritime sector. The main areas of focus for PLOCAN include marine research, renewable energy, offshore technologies, and environmental monitoring. Located in the Canary Islands (Spain), it provides access to cutting-edge infrastructure, such as marine test sites, experimental facilities, and underwater vehicles, enabling researchers and industry professionals to carry out studies and projects in diverse marine environments.

PLOCAN staff has solid experience historically in implementing Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in EU projects – RRING, GRRIP, etc. As coordinator of the GRRIP project, PLOCAN focused on grounding RRI in the marine and maritime sectors. PLOCAN is the Coordinator of its most recent project; OPUS – Open Universal Science, focusing on implementing and incentivising the use of Open Science by RPOs as well as researchers. The combination of all of these projects ensures a reliable achievement of the tasks’ objectives.

The Atlantic Cities Association (Association Villes Atlantiques – ACA) is a network, based on the specific identity of the Atlantic Arc Cities, which currently brings together 15 members from 4 European countries: Spain, France, Ireland and Portugal. The aim of this network is to strengthen cooperation between these cities while representing them at the European level and within the various governance bodies of the Atlantic area. Its priority themes are climate change, culture and innovation, and transport. The most relevant project developed by ACA addressing gender equality is She4Sea. It has given visibility to women working in the maritime sector, especially where they are underrepresented the most. In this framework, ACA aims to contribute with its experience and of its member cities to the WINBLUE project. ACA will leverage its city network to communicate and disseminate project messages and results, as well as engage public and private stakeholders in the project activities.

La Communauté d’Agglomération de La Rochelle (CdA-LR) (population 175,608) is a public institution for intermunicipal cooperation located on the French Atlantic coast. The territory is made up of 28 cities, the main one being the city of La Rochelle (home to 77,205 inhabitants). The local authority has competence over many strategic domains, making it a major coordinator of the territory’s development. The Strategic and Territorial Cooperations department of CdA-LR will be a significant contributor to the project, home to several policy officers in charge of gender equality, the Observatory of the territory (collecting and updating of strategic data), and the FLAG (2014-2020), enlarged as of 2021-2027 to the territorial dimension of the European structural funds dedicated to the blue economy.

Attractive and growing, equipped with three ports of national or international importance (commercial, fishing and a Marina) with related economic sectors, the territory encounters difficulties to recruit and retain skilled people. In that respect, the maritime/blue economy is a major focal area, because of its crucial importance, as regards its high vacancy rate and for the diversity of trades and careers it encompasses. That’s why CdA-LR participated in 2018, in the ‘She4Sea’ communication campaign with Atlantic Cities and, more recently, in the Urbact GenderedLandscape EU project, aiming at incorporating a gendered perspective to rebalance the labour market and increase female employment rates in specific economic sectors.

Gijón, one of the most important cities on the North coast of Spain, is part of the Atlantic Cities network (Association Villes Atlantiques – ACA). Gijón City Council, through the ‘Social Coordination and Consultation Agreements’, assumes the commitment to boost and energize the Blue Economy, one of the sectors that is part of the history, present and future of the city. The transformation of fishing and shipbuilding has given way to port traffic and the development of a new and innovative ecosystem in the field of the Blue Economy. Being aware of the underrepresentation of women in the sector, the joint action of Employment, Economic Promotion and Gender Equality Areas focuses on promoting measures that facilitate the participation of women and prevent the appearance of new gender gaps.
Gijón was hosted at the ‘European Maritime Day’ in 2010.

Assoittica Italia is the National Association of Seafood Companies that, since 1986, brings together companies operating in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. It currently represents over 130 companies with a total turnover of approx. 10 billion EURO and over 15,000 employees. Its activities include the analysis of the EU regulatory framework when it comes to seafood safety and commercial transactions as well as the provision of technical assistance on issues such as traceability, labelling, health and hygiene requirements, customs procedures, communication activities, etc. Assoittica relies on a permanent Scientific Committee, composed of recognized professionals, which provides opinions and interpretations on issues of interest of its associated companies.

At national level, Assoittica collaborates with Ministries (e.g., Education and Research, Health, Agricultural Policies, Food and Forestry, Economic Development, etc.) and other governmental bodies. It relies on a vast network of scientific and research entities, including the Superior Institute of Health, the National Research Council and various Zoo-prophylactic Institutes . At international level, it has implemented joint activities with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the role of women in fisheries and aquaculture.

Assoittica is member of the Interprofessional Organization of the Fishing and Aquaculture Chain in Italy, and its service company ,“Assoittica Research & Development srl”, was the organizer of the “2020 Digital Seafood Trade Show”, the first ever world fair on seafood run entirely online.

AcrossLimits originally started in 2001 as a creative technology solutions company, solving problems through ICT. Over the years the company garnered significant expertise through exploring international opportunities in the EU, and built a reputation for itself in Europe—forming strong networks through its participation in over 80 EU projects. Since then, the company has moved also towards lending this expertise to companies, academic institutions, public bodies and other organisations, providing specialist consulting services to tap into European opportunities. Moreover, AcrossLimits is a reputable education organisation through its training branch TrainingMalta, which is a fully licensed VET educational institution.

As a result of its varied activities, AcrossLimits has amassed significant expertise across diverse fields including technology and innovation, education and training, entrepreneurship, networking, commercialisation, funding, gender equality and social inclusion. This expertise will be deployed in WINBLUE, where AcrossLimits is leading the Work Package relating to strengthening and consolidating the the capacity of stakeholders within the blue economy sector to mainstream gender equality in organisational policies, measures, practices, cultures, and individual attitudes.

ANFACO-CECOPESCA is a private non-profit business association founded in 1904, representing and defending the sectoral interests of more than 250 companies from the marine and food industry network. It also provides high-added value services through its Technology Centre, whose main objectives are to promote quality, research and technological development in the marine and food products sector. It is a reference for the development of R&D projects in the fields of Digitalization – Industry 4.0, Biotechnology – Health, Sustainability – Circular economy, and Marine resources – Aquaculture, generating knowledge and transferring to the industrial sector, improving its competitiveness.

In WINBLUE, ANFACO will collaborate in the selection of good practices, workshops and intersectoral networking activities. Moreover, it will be the leader of WP4 stakeholder engagement, cooperation and networking activities to maximise the impact of the project.

Varna Economic Development Agency (Bulgaria)
Varna Economic Development Agency (VEDA) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental association, registered to operate in public benefit. It is located on the territory of Varna District in Bulgaria, East Europe.The agency was established in 1997 under the joint program of Varna Municipality and USAID to assist the advancement of regional economic development. Since 1998 VEDA is a member of the network of the Bulgarian Association of Regional Development Agencies and Business Centers (BARDA).

Последни Новини от Проекта

Interview of Associate Professor Siyana Lutskanova - Head of the National Security Department at the Nikola Vaptsarov.
06 June 2024

Precious words about being a woman in the field of security, about the sea as a national wealth and responsibility, an interview of Associate Professor Siyana Lutskanova – Head of the National Security Department at the Nikola Vaptsarov. Read

WINBLUE Partners’ Meeting in Rome, Italy
22 November 2023

The Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, as the lead coordinator of the WINBLUE project, arranged a partners meeting in Rome, Italy, on November 21, 2023. During the meeting, the coordinators of the various work packages provided updates on their current status and progress. The participants ... Read

The WINBLUE Workshop in Rome, Italy
22 November 2023

The “WINBLUE- Empowering Women and Mainstreaming Gender Equality in the Blue Economy” project has organized a workshop on 22.11.2023  in Rome, Italy (with options for online access) to build a co-ordination process with the WIN-BIG Empowering Women in the Blue Economy” project (selected under the ... Read