We are stewards of our planet pursuing opportunities for knowledge and value creation in a sustainable Blue Economy by connecting researchers, entrepreneurs, the business community and non-governmental and governmental affiliates.

BE Hub

Project Blue will be the initial step towards creating a Blue Economy research, tech transfer and innovation hub in New Haven, Connecticut. By using the emerging Long Island Sound kelp/seaweed industry as a catalyst for subsequent Blue Economy initiatives, this project implements a transdisciplinary approach by leveraging expertise from academia, business, the government sector, and civil society.

kelp in water

Our Goals

Our overarching goal is focused innovation for the Blue Economy in Long Island Sound all while maintaining a commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals – especially goals 8 (Decent work and economic growth), 13 (Climate action), and 14 (Life below water). In this initial phase of the project, SCSU students will be formed into research innovation teams and, with the assistance of their faculty mentors, will create proof-of-concept products and innovations in the Blue Economy.

Sustainable Development Goals

Our Team

The Project Blue Hub was created by a team of dedicated researchers who want to create a better world by focusing on the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved lives, and ocean ecosystem health.

Patrick Heidkamp

C. Patrick Heidkamp, Ph.D, Executive Director, & Co-PI

Dr. Patrick Heidkamp is a Professor in the Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences at SCSU and a visiting Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK. He is also a co-director of the Connecticut State University Center for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Education and an affiliate of the Economic Rights Research Group at the University of Connecticut. His current research focuses on transdisciplinary engagement with the blue economy and just sustainability transitions in the coastal zone. Patrick has international teaching and/or research experience in Africa, Central America, and Europe. His work has been published in leading journals such as the Annals of Regional Science, Applied Geography, Geography Compass, Geoforum, GeoHumanities, Political Science Quarterly, and Urban Geography.

Colleen Bielitz

Colleen L. Bielitz, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer & Co-PI

For the past three decades, Dr. Colleen Bielitz has been transforming institutions through strategic initiatives, creative entrepreneurship, and visionary leadership. Considered by her peers as a disruptive innovator, she is a blue economy & technology evangelist. Her primary focus, the United Nations' 17 SDGs which provide a road map for progress that is sustainable and leaves no one behind. Dr. Bielitz was on the launch team for MassDigI and the first Yunus Social Business Centre in the United States. She has been a founding member of science and technology incubators in Massachusetts and Connecticut and is a passionate advocate for promoting social good.

Emma Cross

Emma Cross, Ph.D., Researcher

Dr. Emma Cross is a marine biologist whose research includes climate change impacts on marine organisms, paleo-biology and marine ecology of Connecticut coastal waters. She has research experience and/or international collaborations with the UK, New Zealand, Spain, and Antarctica. Dr. Cross’ research has been published in high impact journals including Global Change Biology, Environmental Science & Technology, Biology Letters, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology and Biodiversity.

Miriah Kelly

Miriah Kelly, Ph.D., Researcher

Dr. Miriah M. Russo Kelly (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science in the Department of Environment, Geography, and Marine Sciences at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT. Dr. Kelly’s teaching and research focuses on the human dimensions of ocean and coastal climate change issues. Dr. Kelly works in the area of environmental management and decision-making, and studies collaborative and transdisciplinary approaches to addressing complex environmental problems. Dr. Kelly is also dedicated to translational environmental sciences, including environmental communication, environmental education, and environmental engagement.

Michaela Garland

Michaela Garland, Researcher

Michaela is a researcher in the Department of Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences at Southern CT state University. Michaela's research interests are focused on the blue economy, marine social science, and sustainable transitions. Michaela will be responsible for research on the Iceland Ocean Cluster model as well as assist in research and teaching of kelp innovations, product development, and sustainability practices. Michaela will also be involved in aiding student innovation teams by providing support and oversight.

Maeve Rourke

Maeve Rourke, Graduate Research Assistant

Maeve is currently a graduate student at Southern Connecticut State University with an MS in Environmental Science and the University Assistant for the GEMs department. Her passion for the ocean has directed her to focus her research on marine science, climate change, and the Blue Economy. Maeve is currently working to expand her skills in science communication to advocate for a healthier planet. She plans to continue her research in the local blue economy as well as the future of sustainability in Long Island Sound.

Gabriela Triay

Gabriela Triay, Graduate Research Assistant

Gabriela is pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at Southern Connecticut State University. Her research focuses on “green ports” and the role they may play in a transition towards a just and sustainable Blue Economy.