Image: Xosé Henrique Vázquez, professor of Business Organization at Ecobas-UVigo and principal investigator at Sherpa do Mar

The digitization of ports, maritime transport, logistics platforms or energy efficiency and policy are some of the topics discussed this Tuesday in the central day of the I University-Industry Conference. Innovation and entrepreneurship: infrastructures, ports and marine renewable energies, organized by the Sherpa do Mar project. The virtual sessions that began yesterday and will continue until tomorrow, “aim to delve into topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of infrastructures, ports and renewable energies, and also make available to the business community and the scientific community a meeting point where to establish contacts that detect synergies and possible ways of cooperation ”, explains Andrea Ogando, innovation manager at the REDE group from UVigo, which advances in the realization of two more events throughout the year, focused on the thematic areas of greatest impact and relevance currently in the marine and maritime sector, both in the business and scientific fields.

The rector of the UVigo, Manuel Reigosa, and the professor of Business Organization of Ecobas-UVigo and main researcher of Sherpa do Mar, Xosé Henrique Vázquez, were in charge this morning of opening the central day of the meeting, in which they participated, among other speakers, Tiago Moraris, head of the Marine Technologies Group of the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering; Xoán Martínez, CEO of Kaleido Ideas & Logistics; Yolanda Falcón, general director of investees at Xesgalicia SGEIC; Fabio Represas, economist and project manager of Magallanes and Enrique Mallón, general secretary of Asime. Although the rector recalled in his speech the commitment of the academic institution he directs with the transfer and highlighted the importance of working together in the cross-border area, the principal investigator of Sherpa do Mar, Xosé Henrique Vázquez, recalled in his speech the beginnings of the project in 2019 “because we think it would be worthwhile from the transfer point of view to launch an initiative that leverages projects that were underway. Because we can paint something if we are together ”, said the UVigo teacher.

Today's session ended with the presentation of some of the projects that are currently being accelerated in the Sherpa do Mar entrepreneurship support program Sherpa Journeys, such as BASEMAR, focused on the manufacture and commercialization of maritime and park signaling beacons with green financing. KERSSHIP, which works on the restructuring and optimization of bow thrusters on ships; COBS, focused on the development of an alert, identification, monitoring and flotation system for maritime containers; BIMA aimed to create technology solutions based on GIS and ABZU, a port operations platform based on blockchain technology. The meeting will end tomorrow with a new session, like the one held on Monday, of virtual B2B meetings organized in collaboration with the Enterprise Europe Network. “The objective of these meetings is to promote the establishment of contacts and the bidirectional transfer between the university and the company in the Euroregion, so that the results of the research in the marine-maritime field can be transformed into viable commercial products and the research community can provide feedback on the possible applications of their technologies to the market ”, explains Andrea Ogando, in relation to the activity organized in collaboration with the Enterprise Europe Network, the largest European business support network in terms of innovation, competitiveness and internationalization.

Meetings to promote knowledge transfer and promote contacts

Born under the smart growth approach, supporting economic development based on knowledge and innovation, Sherpa do Mar promotes meetings like the one held today, and the other two scheduled for the rest of the year, with the aim of promoting the transfer of knowledge and the creation of a network of contacts between the business fabric of the marine-maritime sector and the research community of Galicia and northern Portugal, through which synergies and new business opportunities can be identified. “The topics of the next meetings will be, on the one hand, environmental impact, focusing on fishing, aquaculture and processing activities, as well as topics related to climate change, the circular economy and decarbonization. On the other hand, the third event will focus on innovation in the industry linked to the marine-maritime field, with a focus on generating value-added products ”, says Andrea Ogando.

Two years after its creation, Sherpa do Mar is, according to its managers, "in a very advanced stage", after carrying out intense work to develop the necessary resources to support entrepreneurs and companies in the field of innovation and improve their competitiveness, as well as an open selection process in which a dozen technology-based entrepreneurial projects have been incorporated, which are being supported through the Sherpa Journeys methodology, developed ad-hoc for the project by UVigo. "Soon, we will begin to support 20 already established companies to advise them in a personalized way in innovation", explains the innovation manager of the Rede group, who assures that so far the balance of the project is being very positive, the resources generated in the field Sherpa do Mar are making it possible to achieve the objectives set and the progress of the business projects that we are supporting through the Sherpa do Mar network are already beginning to be palpable ”, explains Andrea Ogando.