Spanish and Portuguese experts will collaborate in the ALGARED+ project (“Cross-Border network for the development of innovative products with microalgae”), which aims to promote the study and technological development of microalgae biotechnology and their exploitation in different fields such as health, cosmetics and aquaculture.
The ALGARED+ project is framed within the INTERREG V-A cross-Border cooperation Programme between Spain and Portugal (POCTEP) and will be implemented by a consortium comprised of 9 institutions, including universities, research centres, public and private enterprises in the areas of aquaculture, biomedicine and microalgae production in the regions of the Algarve and Alentejo in Portugal, and Andalusia in Spain.
This network seeks to strengthen the cross-border R+D+i system in an emerging sector with great potential for microalgal biotechnology. Simultaneously, the project aims to increase the critical mass of the research centres, improve the quality of the publications, promote the mobility of researchers and optimise the specific resources and infrastructure of each of the participating entities.
The University of Huelva (UHU) will coordinate the project in which CTAQUA, IFAPA Centro El Toruño, the University of Córdoba and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) from the Spanish side will also participate. Portugal is represented by the University of the Algarve (UAlg), Necton, the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) and Sea4US.
Since two companies take part in this project, a good transfer of the results to the private sector is expected in order to increase their innovative potential, strengthen the microalgae biotechnology business sector and also promote the creation of positions for qualified personnel.
Planned project activities include the bioprospection and setting up of a trans-national collection of new strains of fast-growing microalgae; and the valorisation of microalgal biomass for the development of innovative bio-products in the fields of biomedicine and cosmetics.
Likewise, it will also seek to increase knowledge of key metabolical routes implicated in nutrient assimilation, bio-energy production and synthesis of significant compounds by microalgae.
The project will last two and a half years and will end in December 2019.