BIObec, a new project seeking to promote education in the bio-based industry and funded by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, officially kicked off with the celebration of an online meeting today, 14 September 2021.
CTA (Technological Corporation of Andalusia), the Autonomous University of Barcelona and SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS are the three Spanish partners of a consortium formed by 19 entities from 12 European countries that have received a total budget of €1.5 million in funding. For 30 months, they will work together to build bridges between the bio-based industry and the education system by interlinking universities, innovation labs, and Research and Development centres with industrial actors and regions.
BIObec proposes a framework that merges the traditional idea of an education centre, with that of a knowledge hub. The project will establish multi-level Bio-Based Education Centres (BBECs) to act as knowledge hubs bridging the gaps between academic institutions, students, innovation entities and policy makers. Likewise, the BBECs are expected to be flexible enough to answer the actual and future needs of the industry and surrounding ecosystem at local, regional and national levels.
Collaborating to bridge the educational gap in Bioeconomy
CTA will lead the replication of the BIObec concept and of the BBECs, designing a roadmap for the roll-out of the BIObec project outputs, and a methodology transfer for the establishment of BBECs across external regions.
From its side, the main responsibilities of SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS in this project are to define and implement the communication strategy (corporate branding development, website, social media strategy, etc.), to coordinate the dissemination of BIObec, to elaborate e-learning and training materials, and to contribute to analyse the economic feasibility of the BBECs, including a detailed screening of potential funding sources and models.
“We are delighted to continue our work to bridge the gap between the educational offer and the needs of the bio-based industry”, said Jesús Serrano, Deputy General Manager at Sustainable Innovations. “It is a pleasure to keep on improving the education, understanding and skills for the emerging European bioeconomy with partners such as CTA and the University Autonomous of Barcelona, with whom we already collaborated in the implementation of UrBIOfuture, a previous EU-funded project that set the basis for BIObec”.
And last, but not least, the Autonomous University of Barcelona will contribute to underpin the project’s theoretical framework and lead the analysis of the European and regional needs, opportunities and expectations for the BBECs.
Unlocking the bioeconomy’s Full potential
The need to reduce carbon emissions and the growing importance of the bioeconomy hold great potential to boost local development and offer a new perspective on traditional productions, as well as to create new businesses, jobs and opportunities. However, education must play a key role in meeting the industry’s needs for a well-prepared workforce and unlocking its full potential.
BIObec aims to maximise the opportunities offered by the bioeconomy and contribute to the creation of an educational innovation ecosystem, leveraging the work previously done by other EU projects, connecting all the different stakeholders and increasing cooperation between the bio-based industry and the education system to avoid skills and competences gaps.
BIObec is an initiative funded by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme with a total budget of €1.5 million. The project is coordinated by the University of Bologna and formed by a multi-disciplinary consortium of 19 partners from 12 different countries. The partners’ profiles include:
- 11 educational institutions: University of Bologna, University of Hohenheim, University of Eastern Finland, Munster Technological University, National Institute Of Technology For Life, Food And Environmental Sciences – AgroParisTech, Autonomous University of Barcelona, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Wageningen University, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Trakia University, and the Educational Research Institute (IBE);
- A national research body: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche;
- Three industrial clusters from the bio-based industry: Corporación Tecnológica de Andalucía, Food and Cluster Bio Denmark, and Irish Bioeconomy Foundation;
- Two SMEs: FVA and Sustainable Innovations;
- A non-profit foundation for Education and Social Dialogue: Pro Civis;
- And a private research institute: Research Institute for Fodder Crops, Ltd. Troubsko