MIA 2023 MIA2024

MERLIN Innovation Awards 2023 - MIA

MERLIN seeks new and widely applicable solutions for restoring or enabling financial benefit for freshwater ecosystems. The winner were selected in two categories:

  • Product of the year 2023
  • Service of the year 2023


  • Unique opportunity to pitch your product/service to
    18 European freshwater restoration project managers and many other decision makers and stakeholders
  • Chance to be part of the systemic transformative change of our society and economy
  • Recognition within the European freshwater ecosystem community with your product/service
    featured on the widely read Freshwater Blog
  • Automatic inclusion in the MERLIN Marketplace if your application is accepted
    for the MERLIN Innovation Awards 2023

The MERLIN Innovation Awards (MIA) were launched by the European Union’s flagship project MERLIN. The MIA recognise new and widely applicable solutions for restoring the functions of freshwater ecosystems or enabling their financial benefit.

The best innovative solutions have been selected in two categories: the MIA Product of the year and the MIA Service of the year.

And the MIA - Winners 2023 are..

ecocean - MIA 2023 - winner "Product of the year"

Plastic Fischer - MIA 2023 - winner "Service of the year"



Product of the year

FLOLIZ (Floating littoral zone) by ECOCEAN

Company Description

Ecocean is an innovative French company which specializes in developing and implementing radical new technologies for the sustainable use and management of the marine environment. Since 2013, our different solutions and processes have been tested in lacustrine (freshwater) ecosystems through research and development projects to compare results with our successful marine works. Ecocean is the acknowledged pioneer and world leader in the application of POST-LARVAL CAPTURE AND CULTURE (PCC) technology.

Product Description

Ecocean has developed an artificial nursery solution called floating rafts which it installs in ports, marinas, lakes, and other water bodies. These floating rafts help boost terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. FLOLIZ is an ecological research engineering project aimed at compensating for and mitigating the negative effects of the loss of riparian and littoral habitats on the biodiversity and ecological functions of water bodies. The main objective is to revitalise the biodiversity of the implanted areas and to improve their ecological status, by recreating biological habitats that are continuously available for biocenoses and in particular for fish populations (spawning grounds, nurseries, resting and feeding areas) and for terrestrial insects.

Under the rafts, we have installed artificial nurseries called Biohut. These Biohut, or biodiversity huts, are underwater artificial modules that are 100% recyclable (steel, wood, oyster shell) and reproduce essential ecological functions of the small coastal beds. They provide shelter and food for young life stages which, protected from predators, will be able to thrive and grow. Floating modular ecosystems planted with local plant specieswith local plant species help to clean the water, sequester carbon, and provide habitat for birds, bees, insects and positive microorganisms. Both solutions are complemetary; the collaboration brings terrestrial and underwater ecological functions into urban or limited habitat areas. Together the integrated solutions form the ideal habitat for fishb and other wildlife to thrive.

Product Differentiation

The Biohut under the rafts makes the biggest difference from other floating raft systems. The coconut materials allow for a light, strong structure with excellent flotation.

Place/Client and respective year the product was implemented/ tested successfully

The first project was set up in Paris, canal Saint Martin, with the association Nature & Us in 2019: https://natureandus. org/projet-radeaux-vegetalises/

Visit Ecocean website

Service of the year

Plastic Fischer Credits powered by (Impact-as-a-Service)

Company Description

Plastic Fischer is one of the first companies worldwide to tackle ocean plastic already in rivers with a strong focus on our 3L approach: locally-built, low-tech, and low-cost. Since April 2021, we have collected, managed, and verified more than 400 metric tons of river plastic – more than 370 in 2022 – and created more than 70 full-time jobs in India and Indonesia. Plastic Fischer is a scalable solution that creates social and environmental impact and will play a crucial part in fighting ocean plastic pollution.

Service Description

We founded the company after witnessing the plastic pollution in the Mekong in Vietnam. Without deep knowledge about the problem, a working technology, or a clear understanding of a potential revenue model, we moved to Indonesia to work it out simultaneously.

As we figured out the technology part, we also understood that the amount of recyclables that we find in our systems will never be enough to finance the entire operation. We decided to invent a system analogous to Carbon Credits and call it Plastic (Fischer) Credits, and allow organizations to finance our work per ton of river plastic collected, managed and verified. We were not only one of the first companies to tackle ocean plastic in rivers, but also to finance our work through Plastic Credits. This innovation allows us to carry out the environmental and social services.

Service Differentiation

We developed our own technology and it can be built anywhere in the world, as the materials are locally available – everywhere. Avoiding imports saves time, money and carbon, and we are able to manufacture and repair our technology within a short time.

We hire local people on a full-time basis and collect and sort most of the river plastic manually, which creates social and environmental impact at the same time. Through our “3L initiative”, we are able to carry out the operations at very low cost which allows us to scale more easily in emerging markets.

Place/Client and respective year the product was implemented/tested successfully

The first company to sponsor our activities was KNIPEX – a Germany-based plier manufacturer. They financed the collection of 20 tons of river plastic in India.

Visit Plastic Fischer website

Finalists and Jury