Salmon farms in Norway

Challenge call – Ocean Biomass

Challenge competition Closed

The aim of the challenge call is to establish innovative solutions through cooperation across Nordic borders and value chains. Here, innovative solutions can be business models, products, methods, or other concrete initiatives that meet the challenge. This call is a part of the Sustainable Ocean Economy program (2021-2024), the objective of which is to make the Nordics a leading region in the development of a sustainable ocean economy.

Nordic Innovation offers funding for two (2) projects amounting to 3 MNOK each, to be completed by the end of 2024.

Deadline for submitting proposals: 29 March 2023

Ocean Biomass

Biomass is material from living organisms. Ocean biomass is biomass in marine environments, such as fish, shellfish, seaweed, algae, and plankton. More broadly, ocean biomass can also be defined as a range of materials linked to such sources or to the ocean at large. 

Oceans are crucial. They regulate climate, support ecosystems, and are vital to the world's economy. In fact, some speak of a distinct “ocean economy”. The ocean economy is defined by the OECD as the sum of the economic activities of ocean-based industries, together with the assets, goods and services provided by marine ecosystems. Measured against national GDPs, the ocean economy would be the seventh largest economy in the world (WWF). The ocean economy is predicted to grow twice as fast as the rest of the global economy until 2030, and more than three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods—most of them in developing countries.  

At a global level, fish stocks are overexploited1 and the marine environment and biodiversity are under severe pressure2. Climate change, the war in Ukraine, and the global pandemic underline the need to secure food production. The Nordic region has a large ocean economy, but we have an opportunity to make it the most sustainable and valuable ocean economy in the world. In particular, we need to develop more sustainable and circular production systems. This call aims to scale up sustainable and innovative solutions based on ocean biomass, while actively reducing pressure on marine resources and tackling climate change.  


The Sustainable Ocean Economy is a priority in many international and national policy settings. The OECD has a dedicated Ocean Economy Group working to enable technologies for sustainability in the ocean economy, increase ocean industry foresight and build knowledge and innovation networks. In the European Union, the Sustainable Ocean Economy is a vital component of the European Green Deal and the Recovery Plan for Europe, as well as a critical way of meeting global climate targets. In the Horizon Europe 2021-2027 framework “Restore Our Ocean and Waters” is one of five missions. The Sustainable Ocean Economy is also prioritized within the Nordic co-operation, and it is one of Nordic Innovation’s current work programs. Read more about the Sustainable Ocean Economy program on Nordic Innovation’s website.  

Within this program, Nordic Innovation is focusing on ocean biomass. Here, there are a lot of innovative activities already going on, as well as strong Nordic know-how and huge future potential. The activities follow from a mapping of strongholds published in November 2021 (see here). 

This challenge call aims to strengthen Nordic ocean-based industries by promoting cross-border collaboration and by creating new opportunities for growth, collaboration, and innovation in the region. 

In 2022 Nordic Innovation financed four pre-projects on ocean biomass through an open call. Although it is expected that the consortia responsible for those projects will participate in this challenge call, they will not be given advantages in the evaluation of proposals in this call. 

Challenge Objectives

Building on Nordic added value, this challenge call seeks to establish innovative solutions through cooperation across Nordic borders and value chains. Innovative solutions can for example be business models, products, methods, or other concrete initiatives that meet the challenge. Proposals can include testing of new solutions, however, please note that basic research is outside the scope of this challenge call.

Nordic Innovation wants to speed up the transition to a more sustainable, innovative, and interconnected ocean economy. The overarching objective of the challenge call is to promote sustainable growth, innovation, entrepreneurship, and the global competitiveness of the Nordic Ocean Biomass industry.

Additional objectives could include developing lasting value propositions for the global ocean biomass market or scaling up Nordic initiatives and businesses and accessing new markets.

Who Can Apply

Applicants must be Nordic consortia, each headed by a Nordic Lead Partner. A Nordic consortium consists of partners from at least three different Nordic countries.1 Consortium partners from countries outside the Nordic region are welcome to participate, but only partners from Nordic countries can receive funding from Nordic Innovation. 

The partners can be: 

  • Individuals 
  • Companies (SMEs and larger companies) 
  • Public sector organizations (e.g. regulators, procurers, innovation ecosystems) 
  • Cluster organizations 
  • Business networks 
  • Innovation institutions

As we emphasize the significance of active participation of industry actors, consultancies should not take the role of project leader.


Nordic Innovation seeks to fund two (2) projects with 3 MNOK each. 

Nordic Innovation requires at least 50% in co-funding from project participants. This can be in the form of direct funding (capital) or in-kind contributions (working hours). Consequently, in this call, co-funding—that is, funding from project partners—shall be no less than 3 MNOK. This means that the total project budget will be no less than 6 MNOK. The composition of the co-funding must be demonstrated in the proposal, and Nordic Innovation’s budget template must be filled out, signed by all partners and submitted with the proposal.

Project Period

Projects will start in May 2023 and are to be completed and a final report submitted to Nordic Innovation no later than 31 December 2024.

Deliverables and Milestones

The project leader shall submit a brief progress report for the project every six months.
At the end of the project, the project leader shall submit a final report that describes the work carried out and the results achieved. The report shall include full project accounts. 

For communication purposes, the project leader shall produce two videos no longer than 60 seconds each. The first video shall be produced early in the project and describe aims and activities for the project. The second video shall be submitted along with the final report and outline the results of the project.

Evaluation process

All eligible proposals will be evaluated by a panel consisting of external and Nordic Innovation experts. The final funding decision lies with Nordic Innovation. Proposals will be evaluated according to the evaluation criteria in this call text.


The deadline for submitting a proposal is 29 March 2023.
Proposals must describe:

  • What challenge is to be addressed 
  • How it will be addressed 
  • The anticipated benefit for the Nordic region 

Proposed solutions can be anything from new instruments or production methods for seaweed to new market opportunities for biomass products—to name just two examples.

Nordic Innovation encourages participants to collaborate across sectors.
Please include a short summary of the project. This summary may be published on Nordic Innovation's website. 

The submitted challenge call proposal shall consist of (1) a Proposal Document and (2) a Complete Budget.

The Proposal Document shall:

  • Not be longer than 10 A4 pages 
  • Clearly address the evaluation criteria 
  • Be written in English 
  • Be submitted as a single PDF file.  

The proposal document may include curricula vitae for project participants as part of the 10 A4 pages.

The Complete Budget shall:

  • Make use of Nordic Innovation’s standard budget template. (Please contact Innovation Adviser Emil Gejrot)
  • Provide information on all partners and the whole project period
  • Be in Norwegian kroner (NOK)
  • Be signed by all project partners.

Partners receiving funding under this call shall be entities registered in a Nordic country. 

The project contract will make use of Nordic Innovation standard template. The contract will be between Nordic Innovation and the Lead Partner. Nordic Innovation’s standard terms and conditions will be a part of the project contract.

Evaluation Criteria

All proposals that meet the formal requirements will be evaluated according to the following criteria: 

Impact (50%) 

  • How does the proposal provide Nordic companies with new business opportunities, sustainable growth, more innovation, more entrepreneurship, and access to new markets? 
  • How does the proposal enable innovation across ocean economy sectors? 
  • How does the proposal address the program’s agenda, Vision 2030 for Nordic Cooperation, and the Sustainable Development Goals? 
  • How will impact and results be sustained after the project period? 

Nordic Added Value (25%) 

  • What is the Nordic added value of the proposal (i.e., what is the benefit of carrying it out at the Nordic level rather than the national or regional level)? 
  • How does the proposal contribute to making the Nordic region leading in ocean biomass industries? 

Value for money (15%) 

  • Is the total budget and cost structure realistic and in line with the project’s ambitions? 
  • To what extent will funding from Nordic Innovation enable activities that would otherwise not have been carried out in the same manner? (I.e., incentive effect) 
  • What is the potential economic impact on Nordic ocean biomass industries? 
  • A high degree of own investment in the project will be assessed positively as it demonstrates commitment to the project. 

Consortium capacity (10%)  

  • How is the competence of the consortium demonstrated? 
  • How are the roles and responsibilities of the project partners described?

Submission and Important Dates

The proposal shall be submitted by e-mail to and labelled Ocean Biomass Call. 

  • Deadline for submitting questions: 17 March 2023 
  • Deadline for submitting proposals: 29 March 2023 
  • Funding decision: 27 April 2023 

Other Issues  

Those submitting proposals under this challenge call are responsible for ensuring that all necessary information is included and that all requirements are fulfilled. Proposals received after the submission deadline will not be considered.  

A short summary of the project may be published on Nordic Innovation's website.
The decision about which proposals will be funded will be published on Nordic Innovation’s website.  

Nordic Innovation may reject all proposals if the result of the evaluation procedure gives a reasonable ground for doing so. If all proposals are rejected, Nordic Innovation will notify those who have submitted proposals of the decision.  

All questions regarding this challenge call will be answered through a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on Nordic Innovation’s website. The FAQ will be updated on a regular basis.

Apply through e-mail

Funded projects


Emil Gejrot - Innovation Adviser

Emil Gejrot (paternity leave)

Innovation Adviser
Emil has extensive experience of innovation projects and policy analysis in the Nordic region and beyond. Before joining Nordic Innovation, he worked for a research consultancy where he focused on digital transformation, inclusion, and sustainability. He holds an MA in Transcultural Studies and has lived and worked in Sweden, Norway, the UK, and Germany.