The infrastructure will function as a living laboratory for developing services, goods and products in biotechnology, food and enhancing endogenous sea resources.
From 2025 onwards, Olhão’s fishing port will host the Polo HUB Azul do Algarve, a living laboratory of marine biotechnology. The infrastructure will be built thanks to an application for funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) led by the municipality. It will result in an investment of 4.4 million euros, shared by the Fundo Azul and the city council.
A consortium was formed for this purpose, comprising the municipality, the University of the Algarve (UAlg), the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA), Docapesca, and S2AQUAcoLAB – Collaborative Laboratory in Sustainable and Intelligent Aquaculture.
These are the relevant partners for the execution of the project, committed to creating synergies that boost development, attract companies and investment, and create jobs.
The HUB Azul Centre will arise from the reconstruction and expansion of the existing building on the southern edge of the port area of Olhão, on the east pier of the fishing port.
In an 836 square meters (m2) area, several laboratories for testing and cultivating marine organisms will be installed, providing the centre with the capacity for molecular biology, general biology or pathology, including new technologies and robotics, bioprospecting for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
For the mayor of the municipality, António Miguel Pina, “the aim is to create conditions for a more competitive, more cohesive and inclusive economy of the sea. But also, more decarbonised and sustainable, with greater capacity to make the most of opportunities arising from climate and digital transitions, while reinforcing training and technical qualification for workers and students.”
The application has been approved, and the process is now in the architecture and specialities projects design phase.