The Gran Canaria Island Council, the Canary Government and the ULPGC will invest 7 million Euros in blue biotechnology

The president of the Gran Canaria Island Council (Cabildo), Antonio Morales, announced today that 7 million Euros will be invested in 2018 and 2019 to boost the blue economy on the island, via various lines of work to be developed within the framework of the Bioasis Gran Canaria initiative.

The funding of 4.5 million Euros that the Department for RD&I has committed to providing the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, through an agreement that will soon be signed to develop activities related to the blue economy, includes a 1.5 million Euro allocation over two years for infrastructure and equipment linked to the facilities of the Ecoaqua University Institute, the Canary Islands Technology Institute and the Spanish Algae Bank.

In addition to the 4.5 million Euros, the island will benefit from an investment of 2.5 million Euros from the Canary Government’s Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society for the experimental area of Arinaga. Specifically, the aim of Bioasis Gran Canaria will be to redevelop this area which will focus on the cultivation and production of microalgae and aquaculture.

The Corporation for Economic Development of the Cabildo is, moreover, processing a request for a further 1.3 million Euros for a high-tech incubator, a space to simulate on a small scale various proposals that could later be transferred to a business environment.

Other lines of funding are geared towards defining tools for business funding and grants, exploitation of the island’s marine resources in cooperation with its public research bodies , hiring young researchers and supporting specialised training.

The Councillor for RD&I of the Cabildo, Raúl García Brink, explained that taken together, these activities are aimed at raising around 60 million Euros of private investment in the next three years, business projects that are being analysed and which “are of the greatest importance” for the island.

The Cabildo, the Canary Government and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – organisations which make up the Blue Biotechnology and Aquaculture Platform (Bioasis Gran Canaria) through the Corporation for the Economic Development of Gran Canaria (SPEGC), the Canary Technology Institute, the Spanish Algae Bank and the Ecoaqua University Institute, are thus laying the foundations for the development of this industry under the new brand “Bioasis Gran Canaria”, which was presented this morning with the Regional Councillor for Economy, Pedro Ortega, and the dean of the University, Rafael Robaina.

A platform open to the future

With the aim of boosting the blue economy and marine biotechnology through microalgae the Platform was established in July 2016 with a Protocol of Action which, in its Steering Committee this morning, was broadened to incorporate aquaculture as a sphere of action and the Ecoaqua University Institute. Furthermore, the new name of the Platform, “Bioasis Gran Canaria”, with a new corporate identity brand, has been approved.

The Steering Committee also established the regulatory framework within which Bioasis Gran Canaria will carry out its work and within which special relevance will be attached to the Regional Management Plan for Aquaculture in the Canary Islands, to be approved in the coming weeks, and the Gran Canaria Island Management Plan, which will increase the area available for this activity twenty-sevenfold, from 3,400 to 90,000 hectares and is, according to the President, “a very significant increase allowing investment projects linked to this field to be rolled out”.

Throughout the coming year, Bioasis Gran Canaria will implement a plan for promotional activities and internationalisation to consolidate Gran Canaria as a benchmark for experimentation in the fields of blue biotechnology and aquaculture and “attracting investment and investors to the island”.