The call for proposals was issued by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a public-private partnership between the EU and the Bio-Based Industries Consortium. The initiative operates under Horizon 2020, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation, and has been providing funding since 2014.
“The call provides opportunities for developing new projects, improving existing technologies and getting access to new markets,” says Sanna Alaranta, Advisor – European R&D and Innovation Support at Luxinnovation. “No Luxembourg organisation has yet participated in this initiative, but there is a growing interest in the bio-based economy, not least due to the increasing awareness of climate change. The call could be particularly interesting for the members of the Luxembourg EcoInnovation and Wood Clusters.”
Concrete company benefits
So far, the BBI JU has provided around €900 million of funding to 82 projects including participants from 32 countries. This includes seven first-of-a-kind flagship projects with strong socio-economic impact and high potential to be replicated elsewhere in Europe.
41% of the project participants are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They often play the role of technology provider, and the BBI initiative gives them excellent opportunities to scale up their technology, get access to the European market and gain the credibility that is essential to obtain major contracts.
As an example, Ms Alaranta mentions the Finnish SME MetGen that has successfully participated in several BBI projects and received a total funding amount of €12 million over the past 5 years. It is in particular participating in SweetWoods, an integrated zero-waster bio-refinery flagship project in Estonia. “Participating in these projects has given MetGen access to markets that they never expected to reach,” she says.
“The collaboration with large industrial players also gave the company an opportunity to prove its place in new value chains.”
Wood, plastics, textile
The 2019 BBI JU call for proposals covers themes such as improving wood-based materials, resolving end-of-life issues of plastics, developing the performance of textile products and producing bio-based alternatives to harmful products or processes in order to protect and enhance human health and the environment. The deadline for submitting calls for proposals is 4 September 2019. Ms Alaranta concludes:
“BBI is an industry-lead initiative, but it includes plenty of opportunities for research organisations as well. Any Luxembourg organisation interested in finding out more about this call is welcome to contact us”.