Boosting interregional cooperation & knowledge sharing in the field of bioeconomy
In the framework of the POWER4BIO (P4B) project, on March 30th, 2021, the European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN) organised the event "Introducing the BSAT: Bioeconomy Strategy Accelerator Toolkit". By exploiting the experiences developed in the POWER4BIO project, the event presented the BSAT, a toolkit designed for guiding decision-makers in the review or development of regional bioeconomy strategies, and showcased some examples of interregional cooperation on bioeconomy.
Ms. Monika Banka, ECRN network coordinator, opened the floor introducing the European Chemical Regions Network –ECRN vision and activities, focusing on the bio-based chemicals and bioeconomy work of the Network. The development of a sustainable bioeconomy has enormous potentials to increase the competitiveness, sustainability and modernization of the European chemical industry. In 2020, the ECRN developed a policy paper explaining its vision on the furute of bio-based chemistry and the role regions could play in it. Moreover, as member of P4B project, the network also organised a series of events aimed at increase awareness on the topic and at presenting innovative policy initiatives and projects.
Mr. Ignacio Jimenez, Fundación CIRCE and lead of the P4B, provided and overview of the work and tools developed during the P4B project. The project aims to empower regional stakeholders to boost the transition towards bioeconomy regions in Europe by providing them with the necessary tools, instruments and guidance to develop and implement sound sustainable bioeconomy strategies. Many are the tools to boost regional bioeconomy potential created during the project, such as the catalogue of bio-based solutions, the establishment of regional bioeconomy hubs, training material etc. Among all, the Bioeconomy Strategy Accelerator Toolkit (BSAT) integrates the most relevant existing bioeconomy tools with all the support material developed within POWER4BIO. The toolkit is addresses to all kinds of regions, regardless of its maturity in the field of bioeconomy. Overall, the BSAT will guide the user to the most suitable added value chains, identifying specific regional assets, weaknesses, and providing tips on developing/strengthening regional bioeconomy strategies.
Ms. Angèle Liaigre, Policy Officer of Pays de la Loire Region and coordinator of ERRIN Bioeconomy working group, provided an overview of the European Regions Research & Innovation Network (ERRIN), a Brussels based network that support the development of regional and local innovation ecosystems and enhance research and innovation capacities. The objective of the network is to promote an EU research and innovation policy agenda which is place-based, facilitates multi-actor and cross-sector collaborations, and coordinates EU, national, and regional agendas and funding. The ERRIN bioeconomy working group coordinates the work of network’s region on bioeconomy by sharing knowledge and best practices and providing support both on the policy and project levels. The focus of the group for 2021 will be on: Mission on Soil Health and Food, Bio-based materials for buildings, Innovations for food waste, Green Digital Innovation Hubs.
Mr. Adriano Raddi, CTFC - Forest Science Centre of Catalonia and member of the European Region for Innovation in Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ERIAFF), provided an overview of the work of the network and of its bioeconomy working group. The Network, created in 2012 as an informal partnership among 17 European Regions, now counts 85 partners from 20 countries working to facilitate the integration of European policies in favour of innovation in agriculture, food and forestry areas. This informal structure allowed EU regions to organise themselves into 9 interregional working groups facilitating information sharing and collaborations among territories on diverse aspects related to agriculture, food and forestry innovation. In particular, the bioeconomy working group aim at consolidating a network of bioregions to coordinate the implementation of bioeconomy in Europe among different government levels ( European, national and regional) by promoting a holistic approach that integrates natural capital and environmental services aspects to boost the resilience of forest and landscapes.
The need for coordination in the field of bioeconomy remains high, with several networks and working groups’ already active in the field and facilitating interregional collaboration among their members. A stronger collaboration among the existing networks could further strengthen the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe, avoiding the multiplication of isolated initiatives.