Circular Ocean Wins Prestigious EU Award

Date of issue: October 14, 2016

Circular Ocean has been announced the winner of the inaugural Public Choice Award at the European Commission’s RegioStars 2016 Awards.  The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday 11th October, during the 2016 European Week of Regions and Cities, with the award presented to the Circular Ocean team by the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu.

One of the key objectives of the awards is to identify good practices in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects which could be attractive and inspiring to other regions. Winning this award has put the spotlight on Circular Ocean as being one of the most innovative and inspiring EU funded projects.

As a transnational European project which aims to inspire remote communities to realise the economic opportunities of discarded fishing nets and ropes and help turn this marine waste into a useful resource Circular Ocean is not only tackling the problem of marine waste but is supporting the move to a more circular economy.

Project coordinator Dr Neil James, from ERI, North Highland College UHI, said “On behalf of the Circular Ocean project partners it is my pleasure to express our sheer delight at winning the RegioStars Public Choice Award 2016. It is an absolute honour to receive the first ever Public Choice Award, in addition to being a finalist in the category of Sustainable Growth: Circular Economy.

The award is testimony to the hard work and dedication of our project partners (ERI, Macroom E, CfSD, NTNU, and ARTEK), who are deeply passionate about the issue of marine litter, sustainable development of the Northern Periphery and Arctic region, and the progression to a more circular economy.

To be present among a select group of innovative and cutting-edge transnational projects is inspirational, and will further motivate us to positively impact local economies of the NPA region, whilst facilitating the reduction of marine litter and waste.

As lead partner we are extremely proud of Circular Ocean and are honoured to lead such a wonderful and innovative project which is only possible through transnational collaboration, and exchange of knowledge and expertise. We would like express our gratitude to the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme for providing funding to make our project a reality.”

As part of the project’s research phase, partners are currently connecting with key stakeholders in ports and harbours across the NPA region to research the problem of discarded fishing nets and ropes locally and to look at the feasibility of creating green enterprises around this waste in these areas. Stakeholders across this region include harbour masters, fishermen, fishing net manufactures, business support groups, and entrepreneurs. The project will work with these stakeholders to promote the green economy by finding solutions to re-use waste, driving eco-innovation, generating efficient and environmentally responsible businesses, and diminishing levels of marine litter.

View the Circular Ocean animations:

For further information on Circular Ocean go to or email

The Circular Ocean project is funded under the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA), part of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and has partners in Scotland (Environmental Research Institute, UHI), Rep. of Ireland (Macroom E), England (The Centre for Sustainable Design, Greenland (Arctic Technology Centre), Norway (Norwegian University of Science and Technology).

The €1.5 million ‘Circular Ocean’ project is being led by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) of the North Highland College UHI. It started in October 2015, and runs until the end of September 2018.

RegioStars Exhibition & Awards October 2016

European Week of Regions and Cities 2016
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016
European Week of Regions and Cities 2016