University of Tartu joined Bio-based Industries Consortium
On 19 June, the European Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) approved the University of Tartu as its associate member.
The BIC consists of large enterprises and clusters in the European bioeconomy sector and partner institutions, including universities, small businesses and regions. The main task of the consortium is to implement the research and development priorities of the European Union (EU) bioeconomy strategy as well as facilitate the sector’s competitiveness and cooperation between stakeholders.
From 2014–2020, the consortium is the European Commission’s partner in implementing the Bio-Based Industries (BBI) research and innovation programme: an industrial partnership between the public and private sectors. The programme’s budget is 3.7 billion euros, 800 million of which is the European Commission’s own contribution via the application rounds of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.
The bioeconomy partnership will continue in the 2021–2027 period with the Horizon Europe framework programme. This will focus on the creation of technologies and value chains that support the circular and climate-neutral economic model, incl. the development of production solutions based on local biomass and waste. Special emphasis is put on the synthesis of biofuels and new materials from local raw materials, which mostly means wood refining in the Estonian context.
The objectives of the University of Tartu’s membership in the consortium are to:
- promote the entrepreneurial cooperation of the University of Tartu’s research groups and find new partners;
- participate in the activities of BBI working groups, events and application rounds; and
- increase investments in sustainable bioeconomy in Estonia.
Where research topics are concerned, the BBI objectives are the most compatible with the competencies of the University of Tartu Centre for Synthetic Biology. For instance, one of the objectives was the marketing of new mechanical pulp refining technologies in order to produce products, materials and chemicals with increased added value. The BBI research and innovation programme also includes prospects for projects related to green chemistry and gas fermentation production development. In April, the University of Tartu organised a seminar to introduce bioeconomy technologies in Brussels.
The BBI programme also supports the establishment of integrated biorefineries. For instance, last year, the EU’s biggest producer of wood pellets, Estonia-based Graanul Invest, received a grant of approximately 21 million euros for the establishment of a demo plant for the fractionation of the wood of deciduous trees.
The 2019 application round of the BBI programme is open until 5 September and its topics can be found on the BBI website and the Horizon 2020 participant portal. Additionally, the European Commission recently published the 2020 work programme, incl. the Horizon 2020 application rounds in the field of food and bioeconomy.
More information about opportunities for participating in the BIC: Vallo Mulk, Senior Specialist of International R&D Cooperation at the UT Grant Office, 737 6189, 5695 0955, vallo.mulk [ät] ut.ee