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Development of multi-use platforms at sea: Barriers to realising Blue Growth

Ocean engineering, 2017


The recent H2020 Blue Growth projects MARIBE and MUSES investigated the potential of a variety of different combinations of economic activities in co-location or integrated in multi-use platforms. Both projects identified barriers - including regulatory, financing, liability and insurance issues; environmental concerns; stakeholder perceptions; and lack of appropriate skills – that hamper the development of multi-use platforms. The H2020 MARIBE project concluded that further funding for multi-use demonstrations should be provided to increase investor confidence and bring multi-use through the so-called Valley of Death. The H2020 MUSES project concluded that multi-use needs to be proactively facilitated and incentivised through public regulatory bodies and respective support programmes. This paper combines and analyses results from both projects in order to identify key research gaps and actions required for the continued development of multi-use platforms, based on a structured critical review of available peer-reviewed literature on the topic as well as reports of both the MUSES and MARIBE projects. Research gaps and actions are analysed based on a multi-use platform typology to inform developers, policy makers, academia and investors for future development of multi-use at sea.

Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What different types of multi-use platforms can be identified?
  • What is the perceived contribution of multi-use platforms to Blue Growth?
  • What barriers have been identified to the implementation of multi-use platforms?
  • What is required for multi-use platforms to contribute to Blue Growth?

Implementation Context:

In the face of increasing competition for space at sea between developing maritime activities (marine renewale energies, aquaculture, resources extraction) combined with the protection of marine ecosystems, the European Commission has supported research into multi-use through its research and innovation programmes.

Aspects / Objectives:

This article aims to provide a synthesis of the outputs of two European projects focusing on multi-use platforms, identifying barriers and enablers to support decision-makers and developers for further development of such initiatives.


This research was drafted based on 5 steps:

  • Identification of publications for review;
  • Method for design of a unifying classification;
  • Assessing the contribution of multi-use platforms to Blue Growth;
  • Preparation of evidence collection tables;
  • Method for identifying and categorising barriers.

Main Outputs / Results:

This article provides a unified classification of multi-use platforms based on research projects funded by the European Commission and an overview of barriers and enablers to multi-use platforms at sea.


This paper provides insights on barriers and enablers to multi-use platforms which can be used for the development of such initiatives in Europe.

Responsible Entity:

Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Contact person:

S.W.K. van den Burg : (sander[dot]vandenburg[at]wur[dot]nl)