Boosting bioeconomical growth in Europe in a smart and sustainable way
Copenhagen 26/27 March 2012
This conference was the launching event of the Commission Strategy “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bio-economy for Europe” adopted in February 2012. It was organised by the Danish Presidency of the European Union and The Danish Council for Strategic Research and addressed the opportunities and challenges in boosting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe - and how Europe can take a leading role.
The Conference was a true success, with about 300 participants from different backgrounds: policy makers, representatives from states in the EU and outside and from the European Union institutions, researchers and representatives from universities, and stakeholders from the entire bioeconomy.
Based upon the conclusions, statements and lively discussions, “The Copenhagen Declaration for a Bioeconomy in Action” is now published. The declaration presents the key findings and recommendations presented and debated at the conference.
The conference was the starting point and a significant first milestone for Europe. Realising the European research- and innovation capacity and the full potential in pooling forces and bringing together both public and private players in closer partnerships is one of Europe’s most important challenges.
What is the concept of the Bioeconomy ?
The bio-based economy (bioeconomy) concerns the sustainable management of our natural renewable and non renewable resources. The bio-based economy is characterised and defined by the full range of ecosystems, land and sea resources, biodiversity and biological raw materials (plant, animal and microbe). The bio-based economy encompasses the agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, fisheries, food, biotechnology and chemical industry sectors responsible for the sustainable production of food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. The bioeconomy will assist rural development and sustainability, to ensure the long term competiveness of the European agri- and aquaculture, forestry, food and chemical sectors, and to mitigate climate changing greenhouse gas emissions.
A Bioeconomy for Europe
The European Commission has presented its strategy and action plan for a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe, called “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe”.
The goal is a more innovative and low-emissions economy, reconciling demands for sustainable agriculture and fisheries, food security, and the sustainable use of renewable biological resources for industrial purposes, while ensuring biodiversity and environmental protection. The plan therefore focuses on three key aspects: developing new technologies and processes for the bioeconomy; developing markets and competitiveness in bioeconomy sectors; and pushing policymakers and stakeholders to work more closely together.
Short Conference Report
26 March – Policy and Partnering Conference
The conference built on the three complementary pillars of the Strategy “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe” adopted by the European Commission on 13 February 2012:
- Focusing on increasing investments into research, innovation and skills. € 4.7 billion of funding have been proposed for bioeconomy research and innovation under the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020”.
- Supporting new markets and expanding existing ones.
- Improving synergies and coherence between the priorities of the European research and innovation policy and other policies relevant to the bioeconomy.
The first three speakers introduced bioeconomy from a political point of view. Among these, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science elaborated on The Commissions strategy and actions toward a bioeconomy-based sustainable European growth.
A panel discussion ended the morning session presenting and debating country perspectives on Public-Public Partnerships and stronger coordination and cooperation for bioeconomy implementation. Perspectives from Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and France.
In the second part of the conference brief statements introduced the participant’s views, kicking off the panel discussions. The aim was lively animated debates, during which the spoken word and argument counted. The discussions focused on:
- Best practice in how to create partnerships across Europe (Public-Public and Public-Private)
- Enhancement of policies and markets with competing uses of biomass and rapid technological changes
- Initiatives and development within different countries and identification of best practices
During the afternoon a declaration was drawn up. A summary after each panel discussion generated input to the declaration. The declaration will act as an instrument holding concrete measures, recommendations and conclusions. After the conference the declaration was published and disseminated.
27 March – Bioconomy and Partnering Workshop
In this workshop for practitioners representing academia, industry and governmental bodies, the Commission’s new strategy on bioeconomy seen in conjunction with Horizon 2020 was presented. Open discussion fora provided the workshop participants the possibility to point out important gaps and opportunities within the research and strategies as well as bringing up good examples of opportunities for partnering according to the triple helix model.
This conference constituted a mix of presentations and panel discussions aiming at a high degree of interaction among organizers, speakers and participants. Interactive communication tools was available for panel discussions in order to give the speakers, moderators and panel participants an opportunity to ask questions to the floor.
Priority in the panel discussions was dialogue with the audience. The panellists were given 5 minutes to state their messages in order to start the debate. It was the role of the moderator to ensure proper distribution of input from the panel and the audience.
- Introduction to the new bio-economy strategy and action plan was followed by a short summary of highlights and key messages from the bioeconomy Policy Conference the day before. Two other presentations focused on research and innovation in agriculture and the Becoteps project,- the latter focused on technologies and the processing industries.
- Session on value chains with input from some of the major stakeholders of the bio-economy strategy and action plan. Each speaker listed main gaps/opportunities in the bioeconomy strategy and forwarded these to the organizing committee.
- The Danish Minister for Food, Fisheries and Agriculture presented Bioeconomy in a Danish perspective.
- Interactive panel discussion on the future approach to create green products from green resources and how the bioeconomy research and strategy can help this process. On top of their own views, the speakers replied on the gaps/opportunities listed by the speakers in the morning sessions. Best practice and success stories from national or regional triple helix collaboration projects constituted examples.
- Session on partnering, entrepreneurship and innovation. The speakers were chosen based on their experience and capability to include SME’s in partnering and experience with regional programs. They also pointed out gaps/opportunities within the strategies.
- Final interactive panel discussion on the global bio-economy. The panellists gave their views on the European bioeconomy from a global perspective and also pointed out what Europe can learn from their country to obtain success with our future Bioeconomy strategy.
- Closing remarks by Maive Rute summed up on gaps/opportunities as well as debated issues.