New project sets out to reduce emissions in the Baltic Sea by turning nutrients and carbon into benefits in an effort to turn pollution into profit.





STOCKHOLM, JUNE 8, 2017. The BONUS RETURN project starts this month after receiving EUR 3 million in funding from BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme

The degradation of the Baltic Sea is an ongoing problem for the 85 million people living in its catchment area. Technological and management measures to curb pollution flows to the sea have focused on how to reduce carbon and nutrients on land and in our waters and seas. BONUS RETURN will show the potential of how eco-technologies can turn waste and pollution into profit.

"This project aims at finding practical solutions by shifting the mode of thinking about what has been previously considered waste materials – i.e. unwanted, unusable, and undesirable substances that have not been part of the planned supply chain – to  usable materials”, says Dr. Marcus Carson, the BONUS RETURN coordinator and senior research fellow at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). He adds that, “the project aims to identify eco-technologies to apply the ’circular economy‘ in practice to convert what might otherwise be waste or pollutants into usable, valuable materials”.

BONUS RETURN will identify and assess eco-technologies that can address a broad range of challenges, and work towards scaling up those eco-technologies. It aims to accelerate the uptake of innovation and technology in cities closer by bridging research, policy and the private sector.

The project is determined to generate both research as well as practical outcomes in terms of effectiveness of eco-technologies for the case study sites in Sweden, Poland and Finland. “The type of outcomes BONUS RETURN envisages are win-win solutions combining traditional technologies with more innovative developments that contribute to ecosystems, society, and the economy. To be able to fulfill this goal, solutions need to be adaptable to existing institutional landscapes while retaining certain degree of flexibility for future societal changes” explains Dr. Karina Barquet, BONUS RETURN’s researcher and SEI’s Research Fellow.

The integrated methodology used in BONUS RETURN will bring together municipalities, researchers and investors to assess  the complete cycle from identification of eco-technologies – testing– pre- policy analysis -commercialisation – and scaling. This approach, is in itself innovative in the Baltic Sea region.

“We welcome the approach that is being taken in BONUS RETURN and look forward to seeing the benefits it brings towards the Baltic Sea region and its sustainable development as well as for the wider European community and protection of European seas”, concludes Kaisa Kononen, Executive Director, BONUS EEIG.



BONUS RETURN is coordinated by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Assoc. Prof. Marcus Carson (SEI), as well as project participants: Prof. Tomasz Okruszko (Warsaw University of Life Sciences), Dr. Jari Koskiaho (Finnish Environment Institute), Prof. Neil Powell (Uppsala University), Dr. Erik Karrman (Research Institute of Sweden) and Ass. Prof. Soren Marcus Pedersen (University of Copenhagen).

BONUS RETURN has received funding from BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU.

The seven ‘BONUS call 2015: Blue Baltic’ projects which started their implementation in April 2017 are:

BONUS BALTHEALTH – Baltic Sea multilevel health impacts on key species of anthropogenic hazardous substances, Project Coordinator Rune Dietz, Aarhus University, Denmark

BONUS BLUEWEBS – Blue growth boundaries in novel Baltic food webs, Project Coordinator Laura Uusitalo, Finnish Environment Institute

BONUS CLEANAQ – Innovative removal of N, P and organic matter in effluents from recirculating aquaculture systems, Project Coordinator Per Bovbjerg, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark

BONUS CLEANWATER – Eco-technological solutions to remove micro-pollutants and micro-plastic from contaminated water, Project Coordinator Kai Bester, Aarhus University, Denmark

BONUS FLAVOPHAGE – Bacteriophage based technology for pathogen control in aquaculture, Project Coordinator Mathias Middelboe, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

BONUS OPTIMUS – Optimisation of mussel mitigation cultures for fish feed in the Baltic Sea, Project Coordinator Jens Kjerulf Petersen, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark

BONUS SEAMOUNT – New surveillance tools for remote sea monitoring and their application on submarine groundwater discharges and seabed surveys, Project Coordinator Rudolf Bannasch, EvoLogics GmbH, Germany

Further four projects funded from the same call will be launched soon. Updates on these will be made available at the BONUS website and through BONUS e-bulletin updates (subcribe at

More information about the BONUS RETURN project is available at

Karina Barquet, Project Manager, BONUS RETURN, tel. +46 70 388 5690


Brenda Ochola, Communication Officer, BONUS RETURN, tel. +46 73 707 8613, brenda.ochola(at)

BONUS is a joint research and development programme producing knowledge to support

development and implementation of regulations, policies and management practices specifically tailored for the Baltic Sea region. It issues calls for competitive proposals and funds projects of high excellence and relevance based on its strategic research agenda.  Half of the funding for the EUR 100 million programme comes from the national research funding institutions around the Baltic Sea, the other half from the EU. 

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Maija Sirola, Communications Manager, BONUS, tel. +358 403520076, maija.sirola(at)