AquaBioTech Group Hosts the First PRONICARE Annual Meeting

Last month AquaBioTech Group had the exciting opportunity to host researchers hailing from Norway and Germany as part of the first Annual Meeting for the PRONICARE Consortium.

The hybrid annual meeting was facilitated by ABT ProNiCare researchers Dr. Marina Maritati and Natalie Panasiak and was held both in person at AquaBioTech Group’s facilities in Mosta and online. Participants included a range of interdisciplinary researchers based in Norway at industry research partners SINTEF AS and Bioenvision, as well as scientists based in Germany at partners Alfred Wegner Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Ankron Water Services, and Kelvion Machine Cooling Systems GmbH.

The meeting began with a progress overview of the different tasks relevant to the work packages from each of the project partners. Topics covered included coating formulation and development, field and laboratory testing of anti-corrosion and anti-fouling properties, environmental fate and ecotoxicological testing, creation of an industry advisory board and regulatory advisory board, and dissemination strategy. In person attendees also received a tour of AquaBioTech’s wet and dry laboratory facilities, where the ecotoxicology experiments are being conducted.

On the second day of the meeting, a project general assembly meeting was held at Villa Bighi in Kalkara. The attendees also participated in tours of Villa Bighi, the Esplora Science Center, and the National Aquarium. The ProNiCare researchers were also invited to participate in AquaBioTech Group’s booth at Science in the City in Valletta on September 29th, which included ProNiCare as one of the featured projects.

The two-day meeting was highly successful and productive, and generated valuable insight as the project advances into the next stage. We look forward to the next consortium meeting!

The ProNiCare project aims to address the urgent need to develop environmentally friendly and more cost-effective solutions for new antifouling coatings, following the ban of environmentally damaging tributyltin. This will be advanced in ProNiCare through use of high-tech nanomaterial-based formulations, creating a thin coating with functional antifouling and anti-rust additives in a green and eco-friendly product that will be tested in a newly developed innovative testing unit. ProNiCare project will also improve the understanding of biofouling propagation and protection of niche areas and offer best practices to address this maritime challenge.