Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) became fully autonomous, enabling it to manage its own budget and launch its own calls for proposals, grants and public procurement. The €3.7 billion public-private partnership has remained under the European Commission’s supervision since its formal launch in July 2014. But now the BBI JU will function as an independent body, with its own staff and offices.
The European Commission, which provides €975 million of the overall budget for the BBI JU, welcomed the new status. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “This is great news for the EU’s efforts to develop a more sustainable economy. Once again, we are joining forces with industry and investing together in the huge potential of the bioeconomy. BBI will help expand our knowledge of how we can convert Europe’s untapped renewable resources and waste into greener everyday products and biofuels".
BBI JU Executive Director, Philippe Mengal, commented that it was a proud moment for the Joint Undertaking. "It has only been a year since it was formally set up, but we have worked hard to launch calls for proposals and grants, identifying promising initiatives across Europe,” he said. Philippe Mengal became Executive Director on 1 October 2015. He has some 25 years’ experience in green technologies, engineering and the food/life sciences industries.
The BBI JU plays an important role in supporting business models that link economic actors all along the entire bioeconomy value chain. The BBI JU’s second call for proposals, published on 25 August 2015, aims to improve cooperation between the different economic sectors: from the biomass supply (breeding and plant production, forestry, farming) to biorefineries and consumers of bio-based products.
Marcel Wubbolts, Chief Technology Officer at DSM, commented: “This marks a vital step in the BBI JU’s evolution: innovate in products from locally grown feedstocks, invest in regional value chains and inspire citizens in Europe that the biobased economy creates jobs, growth and a sustainable future.” Marcel Wubbolts is chairman of the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) - the private partner in the public-private partnership BBI.
Under Article 19 of Council Regulation (EC) 560/2014 of 6 May 2014 that established the BBI JU, the European Commission is responsible for the establishment and initial operation until the JU has the operational capacity to implement its own budget. The budget of the BBI JU must be established and implemented in accordance with the principles of unity, budgetary accuracy, annularity, equilibrium, unit of account, universality, specification, and sound financial management which requires effective and efficient internal control and transparency.
Along with the SPIRE PPP the BBI JU is one of two public-private partnership (PPPs) under Horizon 2020 that can be said to be ‘SusChem inspired’. The BBI JU PPP is part of the EU’s plan to move its economy to a post-petroleum era. It is expected to help make the EU’s economy more resource-efficient and sustainable, while supporting growth and employment. The BBI is dedicated to realising the potential of the European bioeconomy and contributing to a sustainable circular economy, by turning biological residues and wastes (from agro-food, forestry and municipal) into greener everyday products, through innovative technologies and biorefineries, which are at the heart of the bioeconomy.