How do we build successful regional bioeconomy strategies in Europe?

Brussels, 29 November 2018 - Wageningen University and Research attended the ERIAFF network - The European Region for Innovation in Agriculture, Food and Forestry workshop that took place on November 14th, 2018 in Brussels.

Press release - 06 Dec 2018

Around 50 researchers and policymakers gathered at the ERIAFF network & European Forested regions workshop “Successful regional bioeconomy strategies – what should they look like?” In this event, BioMonitor, represented by Myrna van Leeuwen from Wageningen University and Research was able to assist and understand the needs of the policymakers in their effort to strengthen the circularity and sustainability in existing policies related to the bioeconomy.

The new EU Bioeconomy Strategy released this October listed down three main Action Plans that serve as a basis for Europe to progress towards a circular bioeconomy. These are scaling up and strengthening the bio-based sectors, rapidly deploying the bioeconomies across Europe, protecting the ecosystem and understanding the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy.

The meeting was attended by policy makers, both at EU and regional level, as well as representatives from EU research environment. From the H2020 community, BioMonitor was joined together with Power4Bio. This workshop has provided participants with a valuable opportunity for an exchange and to get to the bottom of the EU bioeconomy policies – starting with the regional policies. The policymakers levelled with themselves during the workshop and identified the gaps and imbalances they face, particularly in terms of lack of regional data on socio-economic, environmental and societal aspects. In addition, they stressed the need for good and reliable indicators (with a clear definition and a clear metrics) for measuring and monitoring the bioeconomy development.

BioMonitor is a H2020 project composed of 18 partners from universities, statistical and standardisation institutes, consultancies and data modelling experts. It will monitor and measure the bioeconomy’s impacts on socio-economic and environmental aspects by using the data and analysis tools.

In her presentation Myrna van Leeuwen explained to the regional representatives how BioMonitor may be of help in addressing specific policy and research questions and indicators they are looking for, thanks to the robust data system (which will be embedded in official statistics) and the model analysis framework which will be developed by the project. In this way, regional officers will be supported in their need to benchmark and compare the performance of their own region by using a set of indicators universally used among the EU regions.

Starting from the regional perspective, BioMonitor will be aligning to the actions mentioned in the recent EU Bioeconomy Strategy. A systems wide-monitor approach will then be created in order to track the progress of EU regions’ towards a sustainable and circular bioeconomy based on its various drivers such as job creation, climate mitigation, renewed and strengthened EU industrial base, circular economy, healthy ecosystems and biodiversity.

“This workshop was very valuable for BioMonitor as the stakeholders involved expressed their needs – based on own practical experience – on having a (regional) monitoring tool that relies on a set of reliable, harmonized, consistent, open and countable data,” says Myrna van Leeuwen. “Such tool will help for building trust among all actors involved in the trajectory towards a bioeconomy, i.e. farms, firms, governmental authorities, and the consumer.“