Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) launched its 2016 Call for proposals at it research and innovation InfoDay in Brussels last week. The €189 million call covers new biobased economy research and support actions, demonstrators and flagship biorefinery projects – a long term SusChem objective – and will deliver across a wide range of biotech topics from waste treatment to marine technologies.
In this third call the BBI JU will provide funding to European biobased industries, researchers and entrepreneurs across a broad range of 27 new topics – including two new flagship topics. The 2016 call encourages collaboration through partnerships that cuts across traditional industry boundaries. Unlike previous BBI JU calls proposals submitted to the call will not have to be linked specifically to specific value chains as defined by the JU’s Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA).
The BBI JU programme is designed to support the coherent development of Europe’s biobased economy. Full details of the third Call topics can be found here on the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Participant Portal.
“The 2016 Call appeals to all actors involved in the biobased industries, including small and medium-sized businesses, academia, and new previously unconnected industry,” commented Philippe Mengal, BBI JU’s Executive Director pictured above at the BBI InfoDay. “Particularly as it includes specific emphasis on proposals to tackle issues around better re-use and valorisation of agri-forestry side and waste streams, novel ways to extract value from municipal waste and innovative marine-based solutions to increasing sustainable supplies of new types of biomass.”
The 2016 Call is expected to be more inclusive than ever, as it reaches out to innovators who can turn their research into new and improved industrial processes. In this regard close cooperation between SusChem, BBI JU and other ‘SusChem inspired’ initiatives - such as the Sustainable Process Industries through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) PPP – will be required to ensure smooth integration of new bioprocesses into existing and new industrial processes and value chains.
“The real added value of the BBI JU is that it brings together different sectors and industries,” said Dirk Carrez, Executive Director of the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) - pictured above on the left. BIC acts as the private sector partner in the BBI JU. “This leads to the creation of new value chains, with different partners working together within a single project. With this 2016 call, new areas are being introduced such as research using algae and other aquatic biomass, demo projects focusing on industrial crop varieties and novel sources of biomass such as municipal solid waste, or flagship actions addressing waste streams and by-products from the food processing industry.”
The focus of the BBI JU programme does not stop at the research or pilot plant phase, but continues with demonstration projects, through the creation of small-scale production plants, which can be used to explore elements such as proof-of-concept, sustainability and competitiveness.
These include the flagship projects that will be innovative first-of-a-kind production plants for Europe. For these call topics funding will be made available for the innovative aspects of such plants – rather than for the entire infrastructure. This is an approach that already exists in some parts of the world, but is a new concept for Europe.
John Bell, Director for Bioeconomy at the European Commission DG Research and Innovation – pictured above - commented: “The development of biobased industries, if successful, can bring rewards for many European stakeholders: consumers who get access to new sustainable products based on renewable biological resources, biobased industries that take technological and sustainability leadership and thereby build long-term competitive advantages; enhanced economic growth and new jobs in rural, coastal and industrial areas; and new revenue streams for the EU’s agri-food, forestry and marine sectors.”
The BBI JU 2016 Call for Proposals was fully presented at the BBI JU’s Open Info day on 21 April in Brussels. With well over 500 participants registered this was a very well attended information and awareness event that brought together high-level speakers, programme managers and experts from business and industry.
The morning sessions were dedicated to information about the BBI’s role in developing Europe’s bio-based economy, with key note speeches from Philippe Mengal, John Bell and Dirk Carrez. Information on participating in the 2016 Call was shared and included how to apply, tips and tricks on writing a proposal, BBI Call rules, and how to submit a proposal. The BBI GREENLIGHT project, from the 2014 Call, was presented by Peter Axegård, Vice President (Bioeconomy) for INVENNTIA, who described their experience as a successful consortium and project proposal.
In addition to informal networking during the breaks, the dedicated brokerage event during the afternoon sessions gave attendees an opportunity to expand their contacts through pre-scheduled private meetings. During the afternoon more than 600 face-to-face meetings were scheduled through BBI's Partnering Platform.
In parallel to the brokerage event, BBI invited six different organisations with shared links and synergies to meet BBI stakeholders. These organisations included the Bio-Based Industries Consortium (BIC), European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN), the BioHorizon NCP-network project, the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD). And co-hosting a special cross-institutional funding synergies space were the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), the SPIRE PPP and representatives from relevant units from the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation who provided information on synergies with BBI JU funding and other structural funds.
The event was recorded and you can watch proceedings here. Further information and presentations from the event can be found here.