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picto Communiqué de presse - 16.10.2016

Sea Tech Week 2016 reinforces the links between Sea and Digital

Organised from 10 to 14 October, Sea Tech Week in Brest, Brittany, has reasserted its role as a major international event in the domain of marine science and technology. Coloured by a “Sea and Digital” theme, this 10th edition has given 1,200 experts from all different backgrounds the opportunity to discuss the need to develop collective intelligence, with a watchword of interdisciplinarity. Amidst show highlights and conferences, business meetings and soirées for the general public, Sea Tech Week has once again shed a little more light on the prospects and challenges of a blue economy.

Brest, the sea par excellence

Playing host to major influences from the maritime domain is more than just a habit for Brest, it is an obvious fact. Boasting over 35,000 jobs directly linked to the sea and 46% of French research into marine science and technology (Ifremer - Agency for protected marine) areas, SHOM - Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service, CEDRE - Centre of Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution, IUEM (European University Institute of the Sea), ENSTA – French Graduate Engineering Institute), the metropolis draws from this pool of skills to develop an expertise that is transverse and globally sought after in several sectors: oceanography, underwater and offshore technologies, ship repairs, maritime safety and security, marine renewable energies, fishing and aquaculture… Recognised as a maritime metropolis of excellence, Brest has made innovation and networking a priority. The Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique, the Technopôle Brest-Iroise, the Institut France Energies Marines as well as the LabexMER are an expression of this synergy at the service of a sustainable maritime ambition.

Launch of the Global Sea Campus

François Cuillandre, accompanied by Pierre Karleskind (Vice chairman of the Breton region in charge of the marine and port infrastructure), Yves Marie Paulet (marine biologist and vice chairman of MER de l’UBO-Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer) and Vincent Kerbaol (Radar Applications Director at CLS Brest), announced the launch of the Global Sea Campus. This approach carries with it considerable ambition, namely to make the north-west tip of Brittany a venue that is globally recognised for the study of the oceans and their development with a view to sustainable development. Three objectives stem from this: to develop an interdisciplinary society with extensive knowledge about the world of the sea, to support the competitiveness of a strong Breton and French maritime economy and to promote the appeal of the region. Piloted by the Technopôle Brest-Iroise, the Global Sea Campus brings together protagonists from marine science and technology from right across Brittany in the west of France: teaching and research institutions (UBO-IUEM, Ifremer and Roscoff Biological Station…), businesses and authorities. The Global Sea Campus is a showcase for the Breton Blue Belt’s ambitions!

Another high point of the week, the Biosciences 29 workshop-conference organised on 12 October at the CCI, grouped together scientists, entrepreneurs and students to discuss genomics and bioinformatics at the service of marine biotechnologies. In practical terms, this involved presenting experiments and applications aimed at optimising the management and production of marine resources and preserving biodiversity using digital techniques.

A week of encounters

An unmissable meeting for protagonists from the marine domain, Sea Tech Week enables those scientists and manufacturers involved in the project to get in contact with a view to sharing experiences and adopting a collaborative approach. For this 10th edition, which saw Canada take up the role of guest of honour, the central theme revolved around the challenges and prospects of digital technologies applied to the world of the sea. In this way, 1,200 experts came together at the Le Quartz convention centre for a varied programme (conferences, workshops, business meetings, pro show) punctuated by a whole series of highlights.

A week of fresh undertakings

Besides exchanging ideas about good practice already underway, Sea Tech Week aims to generate a collective dynamic around innovative initiatives and projects. The day after this 10th edition, it’s mission accomplished!

Indeed, Sea Tech Week served to support the organisation of the first Ocean Hackathon, which was held on 8 and 9 October in the Brest Business School establishment. Lasting 48 hours, it included sixty developers, experts, students and start-ups coming together in multidisciplinary teams using digital data to take up different challenges. Christened “Sea it!”, during the inaugural session on 11 October, the winning project focused on the visualisation and understanding of what is happening on and under the sea and was awarded the trophy by François Cuillandre, Mayor-President of the Brest metropolis.

A week of all-out sharing

If there is one priority championed during Sea Tech Week, it has to be that of sharing. Feedback, the transfer of technologies, the collection and use of data, the informing of populations, it’s all a question of openness.

More than ever before, this 10th Sea Tech Week advocated the emergence of intelligence that was both interdisciplinary and international. This is evidenced by the presence of a host of specialists from the world over, and notably a Canadian delegation within the framework of the “Ocean +” cooperation project bringing together the Technopôle Brest-Iroise and the Technopole Maritime du Québec. We must also mention the ACO 2016 conferences, DatAcron and the future cooperation between the Brest metropolis and the maritime community of Ushuaia and the related abundance of opportunities for the growth of a blue economy.

Finally, because knowledge is not just a matter for specialists, Sea Tech Week endeavours to integrate actions that make the schedule accessible to the general public. As such, in addition to free access to the inaugural session, Sea Tech Week specially set aside the evening of 13 October for the inhabitants of Brest. Hosted by the European Centre for Virtual Reality (CERV), the latter enabled participants to discover some spectacular virtual reality applications.