SEA-TECH WEEK 2018: Indian connection to French spotlight on marine bioresources

An Indian delegation comprised of 7 faculty members from IIT Goa will be participating in the SeaTech 2018 event set to be held at Brest in France that will feature a special session devoted to India's GOAT project (Goa Atlantic cooperation programme on Marine Science and Technology)

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New Delhi/Brest: This latest edition of “Sea Tech Week” being held from 8th to 12th October 2018 in Brest, is shining a spotlight on marine bio-resources, an area of excellence for Brittany, France. On this occasion, a delegation from India comprising seven 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 are also being organized.

The event is a combination of trade fair, conferences and workshops.

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  bio  resources  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,” explains its Director, Nathalie Letaconnoux, “as well as the promotion of innovations on an international scale and hosting of the network of 280 protagonists, which we bring together”

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.

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  bio resources 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 bio resources thanks to the complete recovery of any by-products extracted.

A reference professional show

A platform for meetings and 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.