A large-scale laboratory for the blue economy
The most recent addition to the Technopole Pays Basque, ID Océan - for sustainable development to serve the ocean - has the ambition of turning the area into a laboratory for innovative solutions in the service of the coast and the ocean. With Créaluz, dedicated to eco-innovation, and the development of a centre of excellence in marine biomimetics, this ‘technopole in the technopole’ makes cutting-edge tools for economic and scientific use available to researchers and businesses.
With its 720 km coastline and 49,000 jobs directly related to the coastline and maritime economy (including over 950 businesses and 4000 jobs in the Pays Basque), in 2018 the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region created a Croissance Bleue (= Blue Growth) cluster to enhance the reputation of the region and its players at national and international level.
This ambition is shared by the Communauté Pays Basque, continuing the activities undertaken in the past in the Côte Basque-Adour region with the creation of a 4th sector of excellence around the ocean and the south of the Pays Basque, and its ‘Ocean Experiences’ strategy, focussed on developing surf sports, sailing and water sports, related to the presence of Quiksilver and Tribord in its area.
ID Océan, a multi-site approach
The establishment of the Communauté Pays Basque in January 2017 created an opportunity to harmonise these strategies and for the sector to benefit from synergy between the tools. The ‘Le Défi Bleu (= The Blue Challenge)’ roadmap was drawn up. It defines the Pays Basque as a “laboratory of innovative solutions in the service of the coast and the ocean”, with four principles: the preservation and protection of the ocean and coastal environment, the creation of a blue economy ecosystem combining traditional and emerging business sectors, innovation and knowledge as drivers of sustainable development in this blue economy, and the Pays Basque region in the service of experimentation with real-life solutions.
All these missions will be helped by a new ‘ocean technopole’ known as ID Océan - for sustainable innovation in the service of the ocean - notable for its multi-site approach. IT brings together, over several sites, tools and infrastructures that players from various sectors can use.
Créaluz, centre of expertise
For the fishing sector, we could mention the fish market at Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the maritime high school of Ciboure, the aquaculture high school and the INRA hydrobiology station at Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, the Ilfremer laboratory of Aquitaine sea-fishing resources at Anglet… The surf sports sector is spread across the activities of the EuroSIMA and Olatu Leku cluster in Anglet (both incubator and serviced offices), etc.…
At the heart of all this, since 2019 ID Océan has had the use of the facilities of Créaluz, in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. This 1500 m² space, devoted to surf sports, sailing and water sports, hosts an incubator for start-ups, project leaders and eco-innovative businesses, as well as a prototyping workshop that helps accelerate the transition from idea to object.
Créaluz aims to become a leading centre for the prototyping of innovative eco-design projects, from the idea stage to the production of pre-production series, mainly for surf sports, sailing and water sports.
There is another example of an ID Océan tool in the service of original collaborative initiatives between universities, institutes and private individuals: the centre of excellence in marine biomimetics.
Bio-materials inspired by marine resources
Developed by the Communauté Pays Basque, in partnership with the Centre d’Etudes et d’Expertises sur le Biomimétisme (= Centre of Study and Expertise in Biomimetics) (CEEBIOS), the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, the University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour (UPPA), this hybrid innovation space will host research teams from the Institut des sciences analytiques et de physico-chimie pour l'Environnement et les Matériaux (= Institute of Analytical and Physical Chemistry Sciences for the Environment and Materials) (IPREM), a CNRS/UPPA joint research unit bringing together over 200 researchers. About fifty of them are established on the Basque coast. Among them is the MANTA research chair, aimed at developing bio-inspired materials from marine resources by minimising their impact on the environment and on human health.
The centre will also host a business incubator, ‘project spaces‘ for students on the new Master in Bio-Inspired Materials (Master BIM) at UPPA and for business project teams, a skills and resource centre in marine biomimetics and marine biodiversity under the auspices of CEEBIOS, which will set up its marine branch there. This centre of excellence will therefore enable transfers of technology between researchers and businesses.
Marine energy and risk management
In partnership with the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, ID Océan is leading a huge project on renewable marine energies: businesses are working on a feasibility study on hosting a pilot wave farm (a farm producing energy generated by waves).
Beyond its economic role, ID Océan aims to encourage solutions in the service of the major issues in the region. Work is carried out in the Communauté Pays Basque in cooperation with the Directorate of the coastal and natural environment on managing risks: the risk of submersion, the quality of the water for swimming, shoreline erosion, floating waste, environmental monitoring, etc. The idea is to provide practical solutions to these local issues in cooperation with the cross-border Groupement d’intérêt scientifique (Scientific Interest Group) (GIS) of the Basque coast, which includes businesses, institutions and universities in the region.
With its historic infrastructure in our region, the commercial port of Bayonne could play a central role in matters of marine energy and risk management