Green and Blue Growth

Research Institute for Green and Blue Growth

Environmental technology and green economy

Enabling the uptake of climate information and services in real decision-making processes and finding resilient and efficient alternatives to our fossil-based economy are among the key challenges of our society.
Among the strategies currently explored are: the development of nature-based solutions aimed at improving resource and energy efficiency, the sustainable use of key enabling technologies including nanotechnologies, and the promotion of sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors (so-called blue growth).

Only a holistic approach that blends environmental sciences with geopolitical and economical studies can  develop effective mitigation and adaptation strategies to climate change and other environmental challenges.


Adaptation and resilience, Bio-economy, Blue economy, Blue growth, Circular economy, Decarbonisation, Green economy, Nanotechnologies, Nature-based solutions, Raw materials, Resource efficiency, Smart cities and communities, Sustainable growth, Sustainable company law, Systemic innovation

High-impact and award-winning projects

PollinAction - Actions for boosting pollination in rural and urban areas

The objective of the LIFE funded project PollinAction is to mitigate the pollination crisis by creating a green infrastructure (GI) network, made up of natural and semi-natural areas, in rural and urban landscapes in North-East Italy. This will involve habitat restoration and the implementation of nature-based solutions. The project is mainly aimed at converting arable crops and rural or urban marginal areas into key habitats for pollinators. To reach this objective, it will improve species-poor grasslands and landscape heterogeneity by creating connectivity among rural and urban areas as well as along road infrastructure and riverbanks. LIFE PollinAction will assess the ecosystem conditions and services and will implement payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes. The definition of an urban planning of compensation measures at local scale will be also considered as well as the design of circular economy processes and close-to-market solutions to boost farmer competitiveness. The project will be replicated in a marginalised and abandoned area in the Aragon region of Spain. This will allow the effectiveness of GI to be evaluated in two areas with opposite dynamics (i.e. specialisation/intensification vs. marginalisation/abandonment).

Researcher: Gabriella Buffa
Duration: 01/09/2020 - 31/03/2025

A sustainable, resilient and innovative European aquaculture

"NewTechAqua - New Technologies, Tools and Strategies for a Sustainable, Resilient and Innovative European Aquaculture" intends to expand and diversify EU production of finfish, molluscs and microalgae by developing and validating technologically advanced, resilient and sustainable new solutions. The organizational approach of NewTechAqua is to group the solutions in 6 different categories: feed, Industry 4.0, sustainable farming, genetics, new species and new products. They are validated on conventional (Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, seabass and seabream) and emerging (greater amberjack, meagre, Senegalese sole and grey mullet) finfish species, molluscs (Pacific oyster, mussel) and microalgae.

Researcher: Roberto Pastres
Duration: 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

Cultural-E: Plus Energy Buildings

Cultural-E is a EU-funded project, which aims to define modular and replicable solutions for Plus Energy Buildings (PEBs), accounting for climate and cultural differences, while engaging all key players involved in the building life cycle. Cultural-E will develop technologies and solution sets that are tailorable to specific contexts and energy demands, as well as performing a comprehensive optimisation of the value/cost ratio of Plus Energy Buildings. Sets of design-for-assembly technologies will be developed through a careful mapping of European climates, building archetypes, and cultural energy habits. We are going beyond the state-of-the-art by maximising the share of the demand covered by renewable sources, towards zero emissions in the operational phase.

Researcher: Wilmer Pasut
Duration: 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2024

Sustainable artisanal fishery of the Adriatic coasts

Artisanal Small-Scale Fishery (SSF) according to EU is the one employing vessels smaller than 12m LOA, not using towed gear. World-over, it is the most relevant fishery segment, deeply rooted in local traditions, adapted to the environment through coevolution, and inherently sustainable. For this, and for its potential to provide sustainable growth and jobs, in harmony with the marine environment, it plays an important role in the pursuit of Blue Growth. SSF face many challenges, such as difficult access to market, low prices, decreasing stocks and biodiversity in the catches, and freely moving resources between the waters of the two Countries, thus calling for a cross-border cooperation approach. The objective of the "SMARTFISH" project is to strengthen the Small-Scale Fishery role in the near future, by fostering its potential for innovation within the Blue Growth context.

Researcher: Fabio Pranovi
Duration: 01/07/2018 - 31/12/2020

Oceanographic observations for biodiversity: ECOSS

The Adriatic sea calls for cross border actions in the field of preservation of ecosystem and biodiversity, one of the main territorial challenges. The whole area is under the influence of climate change and pollution that requires for joint, systemic and integrated management of coastal and marine resources that could be enhanced only adopting a cross-border approach. ECOSS overall objective is the establishment of the ECOlogical observing system in the Adriatic Sea (ECOAdS), shared between Italy and Croatia, able to integrate ecological and oceanographic research and monitoring with Natura 2000 conservation strategies. ECOSS will represent an innovative integrated approach of ecological and oceanographic research with conservation programmes, linking and integrating the coastal and the offshore areas at transnational level.

Researcher: Gabriella Buffa
Duration: 01/07/2018 - 21/12/2020

Restoration of dune habitats in Natura 2000 sites of the Veneto coast

Despite their valuable attributes for both human society and nature, dune ecosystems share a history of exploitation and mismanagement. Environmental problems associated with coastal misuse include loss of natural habitats and loss of the natural pattern of landscape, alien species spread, threats to native species, and decreased resilience of plant communities. Tourism is nowadays considered one of the principal cause of degradation, in particular intense tourism pressure coupled with a general lack of ecological consciousness of the value of these ecosystems may compromise not only the natural value and the ecological functionality of these systems, but also the quality of the recreational experience itself, raising the issues of environmental management and sustainable use. In light of this, the general purpose of this project is to re-establish and maintain over time the ecological integrity of habitats 2IIO|2L2O, 2130*, 2250* e 227 0+ and of Stipa veneta* populations, as a means to guarantee the ecological functioning of the entire coastal dune mosaic, in 4 Natura 2000 sites of the North Adriatic coastline, making use of an ecosystem approach that considers all ecosystem components (e.9. human activities, habitats and species, and physical processes) and applies well developed methods. 

Researcher: Gabriella Buffa
Duration: 01/09/2017 - 31/03/2022

Green Organic Agents for Sustainable Tanneries

Leather manufacturing is classified as water, energy and waste intensive and, according to European Directive 96/61EC, is considered to be an activity demanding for integrated prevention and control of pollution. Tannery effluents, if not properly treated, cause significant damage to soil and water bodies. Environmental concern clearly emerges from the European IPPC Bureau report 2013: at present over 85w% of the world leather production is chrome tanned and only 20-25w% of raw bovine hides processed are transformed in final leather goods. The current use of chrome poses serious environmental and health problems due to the formation of carcinogenic Cr (VI) in finished articles, prompting users to find innovative solutions. According to the EU directives, sustainable industrial processes and waste management are fundamental for ensuring a low level of risk and high environmental protection. LIFE GOAST project, with a LCA-LCC “cradle to grave approach”, will aim at demonstrating sustainability of the overall production chain from manufacturing of leather articles to treatment of solid and liquid wastes: the implementation of LIFE GOAST technology on a semi industrial scale will be demonstrated to be more environmental friendly than Traditional Chrome Tanning Process (TCTP). The ultimate aim is to obtain comparable/better quality leather product with lower environmental impact and costs, no concern substances disposal rather than TCTP.

Researcher: Michela Signoretto
Duration: 01/07/2017 - 30/06/2020

Boosting green agrifood through aquaponics sustainable solutions

Aquaponics is an integrated production practice, strongly rooted on circular economy principles, which could lead to reduce impacts deriving from the agricultural sector: vegetables can be cultivated without the use of soil and limiting the water consumption up to 90%, if compared to traditional agricultural practices. In addition, this technique avoids the use of pesticides for plants, since these would harm the farmed fish, and it reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gases emissions. The project BLUEGRASS aims at introducing and sustaining the development of the Aquaponics technique in Italy and Slovenia (the area covered by the funding Interreg Programme).

Researcher: Daniele Brigolin
Duration: 01/10/2017 - 30/03/2020

Life Lagoon Refresh

In the project "Coastal lagoon habitat (1150*) and species recovery by restoring the salt gradient increasing fresh water input" the concrete actions of recovery will be realized along the margin of the SCI Northern Venetian Lagoon, at the interface between lagoon and mainland. Among the main objectives: the diversion of a freshwater flow of approximately 1,000 l/s (action C1) from the river Sile into the lagoon - such action is necessary for the recreation of a salt gradient typical of buffer areas between lagoon and mainland, that has been artificially prevented in the course of the historical site management; the variation of bottom morphology through biodegradable structures, with a configuration designed in order to decrease the freshwater dispersion and favour reed bed development; the transplantation of turves or single rhizomes of Phragmites australis in order to accelerate reed bed formation and of small clumps of Ruppia cirrhosa, an aquatic species characterizing habitats 1150* and highly fed upon by waterfowl, with high degree of conservation and adapted to low salinity, to trigger and accelerate the recolonization of the area. The projects also aims at decreasing of the hunting and fishing pressure, by introducing a strict fishing regulation and involving local fishermen and hunters.
Project activities will be followed by an intensive environmental monitoring activity to verify the achievement of expected results and implement any useful corrective action (eg. regulation of freshwater flow). Parameters necessary to quantify recovery ecosystem services will be detected. The project also includes dissemination activities for both a general public and Italian and European specific targets.

Researcher: Adriano Sfriso
Duration: 01/09/2016 - 31/08/2021