Supporting Europe’s bioeconomy through the use of natural resources is expected to bring environmental, economic, social and even cultural sustainability. European regions are increasingly warming up to the idea of converting renewable biological resources into food, animal feed, biobased products and bioenergy, encouraging more and more investments in the field. This ultimately supports sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy and the chemical industry. Against this backdrop, the EU-funded BERST (BioEconomy Regional Strategy Toolkit) project investigated the bioeconomy potential and strategies of different regions in Europe to outline opportunities and challenges. It worked on establishing support services, like a dashboard and a network, to further the development of smart specialisation strategies based on regional bioeconomic potential. To achieve its aims, the project team built an online catalogue of indicators on the regional bioeconomy and a related metabase tool. It also created an online catalogue of almost 800 measures and instruments that facilitate regional bioeconomy development, enabling stakeholders to target measures relevant to their regions. A key project outcome involved the compilation of narratives on the development path of the bioeconomy cluster, including best practices in the field. This included a conceptual model to assess the development path of bioeconomy clusters, identifying enabling factors and barriers for advancing such clusters. Another key result was an online tool for creating regional bioeconomy profile factsheets, complete with lessons for developing a bioeconomy cluster and recommendations for support instruments and measures. Finally the project built a strong network of bioregions enabling policymakers, companies, cluster managers and researchers to jointly explore possibilities and share experiences on developing regional bioeconomies in Europe. In summary, BERST’s work contributes to advancing the European bioeconomy in a number of ways: through regional profile factsheets, narratives on the topic, three online tools and a bioeconomy network. Interested regions and stakeholders will undoubtedly benefit from the project’s outcomes and find the tools they need to further their region’s bioeconomy.
Bioeconomy, renewable biological resources, BERST, bioenergy, bioregions, dashboard