On 15 February 2017, the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) hosted his General Assembly and welcomed 16 new Full members and 22 new Associate members, signalling strong European cooperation on the bioeconomy. They join a unique cross-section of experts, including technology providers and representatives from the agriculture, agro-food, forestry, pulp and paper, chemicals, energy and other manufacturing sectors, all working together to develop innovative bio-based value chains.
BIC Executive Director, Dirk Carrez said, “The addition of 38 new members demonstrates confidence in BIC’s ability to drive the European bioeconomy forward by bringing the bio-based industries together. We are excited about our growth, which shows strong industry commitment and support for the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU).”
The BIC General Assembly was followed by an Open Session where Philippe Mengal, BBI JU Executive Director, reviewed the organisation’s activities. He said, “The BBI JU programme is the catalyst in shifting to a sustainable European bio-based economy. In supporting research and innovation actions, its contribution for the initial three completed Calls is €419 million funding for 36 ongoing projects. As a joint venture between the European Commission and BIC, the BBI JU is helping to create the right conditions for a competitive bio-based industrial sector in Europe.”
Key to BBI JU project success is interregional cooperation, which fosters bio-based technology scale up. The role of regions was the main focus of the General Assembly Open Session, which provided 13 regions with the opportunity to pitch BIC Full and Associate members to explain regional strengths, available biomass and potential financial incentives. Bart Verschoor, from the Zuid-Holland (South Holland) region in the Netherlands, also presented the Vanguard Initiative Bioeconomy Pilot, which is aimed at facilitating the creation of cross-regional demonstration projects using smart specialisation strategies.
BIC is highly committed to working with regional authorities. BIC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Vanguard Initiative in June 2016 and with ERRIN (the European Regions Research and Innovation Network) in November 2014. In October 2016, BIC signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with eight Polish bioregions to develop new bioeconomy partnerships. BIC also collaborates with six European sustainable chemistry 'model demonstrator regions' to attract new investments in sustainable chemical production.