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Developing Innovation and Research Environment in five European Regions in the field of Sustainable Use of Biomass Resources

Final Report Summary - BIOCLUS (Developing innovation and research environment in five European regions in the field of sustainable use of biomass resources)

Executive summary:

1. Executive summary

BIOCLUS objective was to boost the regional competitiveness and growth in five European cluster regions: Central Finland, Navarre (Spain), Western Macedonia (Greece), Slovakia and Wielkopolska (Poland). The BIOCLUS clusters locate in the rural regions and all possess great biomass resources such as forests, agriculture, industrial and agricultural by-products as well as municipal waste. Therefore, the regional research driven clusters aim to improve the RTD activities and innovation systems. Furthermore, the biomass resources offer great possibility to BIOCLUS regions in economic and social terms.

the project promoted collaboration and integration of cluster regions and strengthened the innovation environment by improving research potential and innovation management. Besides, the project supported sustainable development by improving the use of biomass resources. The development was achieved by

- Promoting scientific, strategic and business competence at cluster and consortium level
- Developing collaboration capabilities in the clusters and consortium level
- Improving innovation to business environment by mutual learning and by mentoring

in BIOCLUS project the cluster regions carried out strategic work in the regional research driven clusters with the focus of sustainable use of biomass. It consisted four major phases:

production of the Strategic Regional Research Agendas (SRAs) (WP2)

SRAs were produced in cooperation with the regional cluster members including research entities, business entities, authorities and other entities. The focus was in biomass related research activities. The cluster region provided also following background work for SRA production

- Analysis of biomass production and use
- Analysis of biomass potential
- Analysis of biomass related research resources, facilities and education
- Analysis of regional innovation management
- Mapping of regional environment; legislation, strategies and policies (energy, environment, land use, sustainability)
- Analysis of business potential; Research and business point of views (2 SWOT analyses)

production of Joint Action Plans at cluster and consortium level (JAPs) (WP3)
the cluster regions produced the Regional Joint Action Plan to provide a road map for the cluster development the strategic target by 2020. The consortium level JAP recognized the research related actions of the Regional Joint Action Plans that were common at least for two cluster regions.

cluster capacity building and networking (WP4)
the JAP has been facilitated by capacity building activities. The clusters have strengthened their expertise and competence and improved their regional and transnational collaboration. The project has introduced to the key-stakeholders new co-operational models and practices. Besides, the clusters have supported mutual learning and exchanges of experience and best practices between regional actors.

project Context and Objectives:
2. A summary description of project context and objectives

BIOCLUS objective was to boost the regional competitiveness and growth in five European cluster regions: Central Finland, Navarre (Spain), Western Macedonia (Greece), Slovakia and Wielkopolska (Poland).

the project has promoted collaboration and integration of cluster regions and strengthened the innovation environment by improving research potential and innovation management. Besides, the project has supported sustainable development by improving the use of biomass resources. The development was achieved by:

- Promoting scientific, strategic and business competence at cluster and consortium level
- Developing collaboration capabilities in the clusters and consortium level
- Improving innovation to business environment by mutual learning and by mentoring

BIOCLUS measures
the starting point for Regional Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) process was the comprehensive understanding of regional biomass resources and operational environment.

therefore the following analyses were produced at regional level:

- Analysis of existing innovation environment including financial opportunities
- Analysis of the business potential in the field of sustainable use of biomass resources
- Analysis of biomass production, processing, logistics and use
- Analysis of regional biomass potential
- Analysis of existing research and development resources and activities
- Mapping the operational context, e.g. regional, national and European legislation and initiatives
- SWOT analysis from the perspectives of RTD and the regional economy

impacts of BIOCLUS
the partners have intensive three year period. The first half was concentrating in the regional strategic works. The second half has been JAP facilitation by concrete action improving the research capacities and networking. The cooperation will continue in forms of the joint actions that have been initiated during the project and have become possible due to BIOCLUS contacts. Besides, the new cooperation opportunities are under consideration. The additional value for BIOCLUS cluster has been analysed at European, regional, organizational and personal level. In practice the Steering Committee meeting it was decided that the consortium will get together in autumn 2013 along the international bioenergy conference organized in Central Finland. The consortium will continue the cooperation in many fields.

the surplus value of BIOCLUS project at regional level, organisational level and personal level is introduced in the following:

regional level
- Supports regional strategic work
- Joint strategic view of regional key actors
- Useful analyses about biomass resources
- Activation of innovation systems
- Increased cooperation in the field biomass
- Stronger capacities for biomass R&D&I activities

organisational level
- JAP facilitation cooperation
- Supported expertise promotion of staff
- Growth of regional and international networks
- Increased interaction of triple helix actors
- Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Learning process

personal level
- Great opportunity to increase expertise – also at practical way (e.g.personnel exchanges, competence promotion)
- Wider personal networks
- Further knowledge about partner regions operational environment and organisations
- Intercultural skills developed

project Results:
3. A description of the main S&T results/foregrounds
in this section the key activities of BIOCLUS are described and the results and impacts are introduced. The further information is available e.g. in the project website: http://www.bioclus.eu.

3.1 Results of Strategic Research Agenda process (WP2)

the objective of WP 2 'Analysis of State of Play and Creation of Regional Strategic Research Agendas' was to produce regional level Strategic research and development agendas (SRA) for sustainable and multi-functional use of biomasses. Operational environments of BIOCLUS clusters were analyzed and two SWOT analyses for each cluster were provided. The aim of tasks was to facilitate the creation of European research network between the BIOCLUS regions. The research and development agendas were based on comprehensive understanding of regional biomass resources. SRAs facilitate the success and strengthening of BIOCLUS regions.

the main objectives of this WP were following:
- Committing the stakeholders
- Analysing the operational environments of RTD and business activities in the BIOCLUS cluster regions
- Producing SWOT analysis of BIOCLUS clusters
- Producing Strategic research agendas for each BIOCLUS region
- Providing the basic information to create the European research network for the BIOCLUS clusters

background information for SRA production
for SRA production following analyses and mapping were carried out:

a) Analysis of existing innovation environment including financial opportunities

the sub-task was closely related to the sub-tasks 2.1. b) Analysis of Business potential in the field of sustainable use of biomass resources and 2.1 e) Analysis of existing research and development resources and activities. Regional innovation systems include the producers and users of new information, knowledge and know-how and the various ways in which they interact. Better science, technology and innovation policies can ensure a balanced development of the regional innovation systems and strengthening cooperation within them.

b) Analysis of Business potential in the field of sustainable use of biomass resources
in this sub-task the aim was to identify the business potential in the field of biomass resources in BIOCLUS regions. In the cluster regions there are variety of the companies using biomass resources.

c) Analysis of biomass production, processing, logistics and use
in this sub-task the present use of biomass resources was analysed. It is closely related to the sub-task 2.1 d) Analysis of regional biomass potential. The production, processing, logistics and use of biomass resources are analysed in ecological, economic and social terms.

d) Analysis of regional biomass potential
in this sub-task the existing biomass potentials were analysed. In the BIOCLUS regions there are great biomass resources, for example following:

- Wood and other woody biomass from wood processing industry
- Herbaceous biomass from arable land
- Residues and by-products of agriculture
- The municipal solid waste including biogenic fraction
- Others, such as fast growing species (woody and herbaceous) in river banks and in windy places etc.

e) Analysis of existing research and development resources and activities
in this sub-task existing human resources of research, training and development, and research facilities as well as previous research, training and development activities were mapped and analysed. The human resources included researchers, experts, educational staff (professors, teachers, research facility operators etc.), students, and consultants. The research facilities and infrastructure included research centres and units, experiment sites and other machinery, equipment and systems available for RTD activities.

f) Mapping operational context
in this sub-task the operational environment in regional, national, European and international context was mapped. The promotional, regulative and collaborative conditions were considered. The aim was also to map the existing links to European Technology Platforms, such as Renewable Heating and Cooling Energy Technology, Joint Technology initiatives and other European projects. These documents facilitated the production process to create the regional level strategic research and development agendas (SRA).

g) SWOT analysis in RTD perspective and in economic perspective
the objective of this task was to produce two SWOT analyses for regional level Research Agendas. The information gathered in the previous task was utilized in SWOT analyses production.

production of regional Strategic Research Agendas
the objective in this task is to produce strategic regional research agendas (SRAs) focusing on sustainable use of biomass resources for each BIOCLUS region. The SWOT analyses and other previous tasks in this workpackage provided information in which knowledge areas each region should focus in their strategic research agendas. The strategies covered the identification of possibilities and synergies for mutual learning and exchange of best practices. Therefore SRAs supports strongly the planning processes of later workpackages WP 4 (Capacity Building: Competence and Collaboration) and WP5 (Mentoring and Mutual Learning) and provides the basis for WP3 (Joint Action Plans).

comparative of Analysis of Regional SRAs
comparative analysis of the regional SRAs contains the comparative analysis of Regions natural conditions, Regional visions, missions, goals and strategic research focuses. Regional Strategic Research Agendas comparison points on common collaboration need for Regional goals achievement. Experiences, good practices and knowledge are required to speed up Regional goals achievement. It was a good base for mutual learning.

highlights of SRA realisation

in general, the regional Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) process the schedule was really challenging. While the SRA work was initiated also the whole project was started up. All regional clusters have wide networks to communicate with and whom to commit in SRA process. In this phase it can be concluded that the work took a little bit longer than it was expected but didn't hazard the later WP implementation. Besides, according to quality monitoring process the qualities of the regional SRAs were excellent.

3.3 Joint Action Plan Production - From planning to action (WP3)

the main objective of WP 3 was to develop Joint Action Plans (JAP) at regional and consortium level. Regional JAPs and the consortium level JAP are tools to implement Regional Strategic Research Agendas and to promote development, co-operation and integration of BIOCLUS cluster regions in the field of biomass resource related activities and innovation commercialization. The work-package was led by CERTH/ISFTA (Greece). In the WP 2 the operational environments of BIOCLUS regions were analysed. SWOT analysis gave essential information for the roadmaps. These documents were used as bases in WP3: Joint Action Plan production.

according to Description of work JAPs consider:

- Measures to improve human resources (mobility, knowledge promotion)
- Promotional activities to share human resources as well as research, training and development (RTD) infrastructure and other facilities.
- Identification of investment and development needs of infrastructure and other facilities
- Recognition of relevant research related projects (short term) and research areas (long term)

in practice the JAP process was implemented in two different terms. In the focus there was the Joint Action Plan implementation for the regional clusters and for the consortium. In the other hand there were tasks to support this process.

supporting of JAP production process
in the beginning of the project the consortium produced the 'Review on of biomass related programmes and initiatives at regional, national and European level and research and technology platforms'. This work was carried out by CERTH-ISFTA with input of regional key partners and with help of JI.

this review consists at cluster level and European level:

- Programmes related to biomass sustainable use
- Initiatives related to biomass sustainable use
- Research and technology platforms

production of Joint Action Plans for regional clusters
in this task the objective was to produce the Joint Action Plans for the regional research-driven clusters. The JAPs support the regional development, co-operation and integration of BIOCLUS cluster regions in the field of biomass resource related activities and innovation commercialization. The JAPS were formed in common understanding with the partners and key-regional stakeholders, e.g. in Central Finland the business representatives were interviewed and invited in the workshop. The JAPs are based in the regional SRAs and they consider the existing action plans and strategies of different public and private entities.

the JAPs included about the strategic research areas following information:

- General description of the research area with the explanation why this topic was chose for SRA/ JAP process. It was also described how it supports the regional businesses.
- Expertise 2020 that needed to achieve the strategic targets set in the regional strategic research agenda (SRA)
- Expected impact during the this strategic process
- Management structure describes the entities that take the responsibility to implement the set action and the networks with defined expertise that are needed to support the implementation.
- Time table for actions to be implemented
- Performance indicators that follow up the implementation of the action plan
- Resources and finance needed for the implementation

production of Joint Action Plan at consortium level
in this task the objective was to produce the consortium level (mutual) Joint Action Plan for five BIOCLUS regions. The Joint Action Plan supports the regional development, co-operation and integration of BIOCLUS cluster regions in the field of biomass resource related activities and innovation commercialisation. The task is carried out in co-operation with regional clusters. The regional Joint Action Plan had following topics:

central Finland
- Biomass combustion
- Biomass supply chains
- Biomass refinery
- Sustainability assessment
- Product and service development

wielkopolska
- Biogas technologies
- elaboration for small size units
- Region accommodation to climate changes (drying)
- Biomass yield increase
- investigation with LCA use

western Macedonia
- Development of Knowledge Based Economy
- Investigation of Combustion processes
- Regional adaptation to climate changes
- Development of Irrigation systems
- Development of Wildfire prevention systems

navarre
- International and regional cooperation
- Bioenergy in woodland and farmland: Logistics, traceability, quality standards, biomass
- sustainability and 2nd generation biofuels.

benefits and highlights of strategic process

in general the strategic process has had for example following results:

- By the end 2012 there were in total 3 joint international proposals accepted, six are under evaluation or under preparation process, two are waiting for suitable call and two have been rejected.
- By the end 2012 there were in total 5 regional initiatives accepted, seven are under evaluation or preparation process, five are waiting for suitable call and three have been rejected. Five of these are international proposal but there has been only one cluster region involved.
- The results, deliverables and experiences of the strategic process have been used widely in the strategic planning of the cluster regions and in the activity focusing of the clusters.

benefits and highlights of strategic process of BIOCLUS are introduced as follows:

- In CF the regional authority has financial instruments and has been convinced to invest in bio-energy.
- JAMK, JYU and the Polish partners are very interested in vocational education and different kind of exchanges.
- The Polish partners said that the small and medium-sized entreprises (SME)s in their region are suspicious to discuss with big companies regarding the bio-energy sector, because they are afraid to be overtaken. Often there are no clear rules regarding the Public Private Partnership.
- The Polish partners have established a well-developed supply chain of energy crops, which includes cultivators, pelletizers, boiler manufacturers etc. In this way Research and Development (R&D) and entrepreneurship is enhanced.
- Bio-energy in Greece can be characterised as fragmented and highly individualistic. There are a number of institutions (R&D, Universities, etc.) involved in a range of research and demonstration activities in the field, but clear interaction and role allocation among these is inadequate and sometimes missing. Flow of information among the universities and industry is limited and most of the times fragmented and uncoordinated.
- There are potentialities in W. Macedonia, but the financial situation is not very favorable for small and medium-sized entreprises (SME)s. Uncertainty, lack of stability and financial incentives are handicaps in this direction.
- All partners agreed that the language is no barrier to participate in EU projects
- In Slovakia the resources for new products are limited.
- In CF there is a fairly well developed cooperation between small and medium-sized entreprises (SME) and big companies. In addition, there exist facilitators which bring the two parties together.
- It was mentioned, that in Finland the cost of Research and Development (R&D) is higher in comparison with other countries. This could be a serious drawback for Finnish Companies.
- All partners agreed that the results, which clusters create, are visible and tangible after a period of time. In the other hand, most small and medium-sized entreprises (SME)'s are waiting for immediate results.
- BIOCLUS has increased cooperation in the following fields of biomass utilisation in Central Finland: wood fuel supply chains, biomass use in forest industry sector aiming to comprehensive bioeconomy research and strengthened cooperation with international bioenergy research with partner organisations.
- JAP facilitation at consortium level and regional level is strong track

further information about JAP facilitation process results are analysed in the Table 1 and in the following sections.

3.3 Facilitating strategic process: capacity building and networking (WP4)

the objective of this WP was to strengthen the expertise and competence in the BIOCLUS regions and to improve the regional and transnational collaboration capabilities. This workpackage implements the strategic capacity building actions that were stated in the regional and mutual joint action plans. Therefore this is essential part of the strategic process. The expertise and competence were strengthened by developing the human expertise capacity as well as by improving collaboration capabilities of cluster experts

the work was carried out by:

- Personnel exchanges were carried out at regional and consortium level
- Consortium organized study tours at regional and consortium level
- Consortium organized JAP facilitation workshops at regional and consortium level
- Consortium produced proposal at regional, national and European programmes
- Clusters organized competence promotion events for the stakeholders and public at regional level organized by project partners to disseminate information and exchange experiences
- BIOCLUS partners participated in the events and at regional, national and European level and build and strengthen their personal networks and improved their expertise.
- Clusters produced plans how to share research, training and testing facilities at regional and international level.

regional JAP facilitation workshops (Task 4.1a)
the aim of this task was to plan and organize four (4) thematic regional work-shops per cluster region to plan regional projects and initiating international activities. The regional workshops aimed at planning regional projects and initiating the international activities which had been identified in regional level and consortium level Joint Action Plans (task 3.2). The workshops use the results of task 3.1 Review on biomass related programmes and initiatives at regional, national and European level and research and technology platforms in identifying the suitable instruments to strengthen the clusters and to improve collaboration at regional, national and European level. In the workshops plans to achieve funding for the projects and activities are discussed and elaborated. The regional workshops were open to all relevant stakeholders.

regional level personnel collaboration (Task 4.1.b)
in the planning phase of the project it was understood that personnel level contacts are essential precondition for the genuine collaboration and efficient expertise transfer in the regional research-driven clusters of BIOCLUS. Therefore the personnel level contacts were promoted in several ways from which the personnel exchange was one of most successful ones. It gives deeper understanding to the operations of other stakeholders. It strengthens the clusters. The person-to-person contacts build trust and mutual understanding between the organizations. The personnel contacts are precondition for successful cluster collaboration. The personal level collaboration also improves adaptation to the changes occurring in the operational environment.

the regional personnel exchanges covered following topics:

pellet certification, solid biofuel standards, biomass conversion, biomass boilers, biomass pelletizers, solid biofuels characterization at laboratory, carbohydrates chemistry, sustainable biomass production, woody biomass, biomass use in forest industry, sustainable biomass production and online measurements, energy crops, water protection.

benefits of the regional exchanges
the benefits and findings of the regional exchanges are introduced as follows:
- Explaining the expertise of each partner organizations and understanding with which topics they are willing to collaborate. Win win thinking.
- Building a regional network and learning to know other organizations and their staff.
- Clearing up the role of different stakeholders in the cluster. Trying to make all understand the complementarity of each other, not only the competing.
- Promotion of regional initiates on biomass topics by means of regional projects
- Face to face contacts make us collaborate as friends.
- The partners will have collaboration possibilities open for the future
- The partners will support other regions to find the solutions to their problems, facilitate possible contacts, etc.
- The common discussions in such heterogeneous groups makes us to be more open minded to different problems, solutions, challenges that biomass faces

regional competence promotion – organizing events for regional key-stakeholders (Task 4.1 c)
the partners organized regional events to essential stakeholders to support the regional development. The events are targeted especially to biomass producers, user or decision-makers such as biomass suppliers (agricultural enterprises, foresters etc.), local authorities, biomass users, and general public. The events typically lasted a half a day or one day.

the events covered e.g. following themes:

sustainable use of solid biofuels, sustainable use of biomass energy in production and industry, commercial, industrial and agricultural exhibitions, biomass boilers, promotion of biomass use, energy and climate change, cooperation with municipalities in biomass topics, energy.

fostering transnational collaboration and strengthening competence in consortium level
the objective of this task is to improve transnational collaboration, to promote expertise as well as to facilitate the JAP implementation by exchanging knowledge, market intelligence and qualified staff. The knowledge exchange was carried out by organizing common events for BIOCLUS regions and by personnel level collaboration. This task was based on the consortium level Joint Action Plan and it supported WP5 (Improving Regional Innovation Systems by Benchmarking Mentoring and Mutual Learning). It is formed of following activities:

international study tours for competence building (Task 4.2. a)

the aim in this task was to plan and organize five international study tours to increase and disseminate knowledge of good technical practices in the field of biomass resources. The international study tours were related to sustainable use of biomass resources and were open to all relevant key-stakeholders. One study tour was organized by each cluster region.

the study tours aimed to increase and disseminate knowledge of good technical practices in the field of biomass resources. They improved collaboration and networks between BIOCLUS clusters. The study tours were organized in specific expertise areas recognized in the strategic process of WP 3: Joint Action Plan.

the main themes of the international study-tours were following:

- Agro-biomass logistics
- Agrobiomass cofiring targeting high efficiency for CHP
- Cofiring of herbaceous biomass,
- Forest biomass supply for bioenergy production
- Sustainability of biomass production.

international JAP Facilitation Workshops (Task 4.2 b)
the aim of this task was to plan and organize of one international JAP Facilitation workshop per project region. Every workshop was planned and organized by different partner regions (one by each region) and was targeted to different fields of expertise, such as

- Agrobiomass logistics
- Agrobiomass co-firing (CHP)
- Cofiring of herbaceous biomass
- Biomass supply chain
- Sustainability of biomass use

international level personnel exchange (Task 4.2 c)
the aim of this task was organize 20 international short-term personnel exchanges (4 short-term exchanges per project region) and five international long-term personnel exchanges. The project organized in total 26 international exchange periods – 13 short exchanges and 10 long exchanges – that had 121persons to participate. The most of exchanges had more than one participant. This way the exchange supported the project objectives by networking the cluster regions at personal level and it was also more cost efficient.

the international personnel exchanges were dealing with following themes:

renewable energy souces in the cluster regions, regional cooperation opportunities (e.g. Welkopolska Region with the five Greek municipalities), biomass plant management, operations and investments, second generation biofuels, biomass energy cluster synergies between Navarra and Central Finland, torrefaction research, mapping of the regional Cluster of Navarra, small scale gasification (mobile gasifier) with local available biomass recourses, sustainability, energy crops, energy efficiency, innovation management, research and business promotion at regional level, forestry strategies and practises in Central Finland, mapping of the regional cluster of Central Finland.

the benefits of the international exchanges and studytours

the benefits of the international exchanges and studytours are introduced as follows:

- Explaining the expertise the other regions and understanding with which topics they are willing to collaborate. Win win thinking.
- Small discussion groups are positive for the understanding of the characteristics and situation of other region. Facts make you also understand in which situation is your region compared to the others.
- The clusters where the use of biomass is not very important (GR) at national level could learn from other countries, and the knowledge transfer will be basis for the development of the sector in less developed regions.
- From the best practices of other regions it was learned how to do things right.
- Improved the knowledge on specific topics as torrefaction, straw logistics and combustion, co-firing, forest management and harvesting, CHP and clusters
- Important to note that the learning has not been only between researchers and scientists, but active involvement of politicians and decision makers. It might influence in the decisions.
- Face to face contacts make us collaborate as friends.
- The partners will have collaboration possibilities open for the future
- The partners will support other regions to find the solutions to their problems, facilitate possible contacts, etc.
- The joint discussions in such heterogeneous groups makes us to be more open minded to different problems, solutions, challenges that biomass faces.
- The unknown potential and knowledge of other regions were discovered.
- Promotion of international initiates on biomass topics by means of regional projects

the improvement potential:
- Increase the education and training activities during the project
- We could have worked also in other areas as bioeconomy, bio-materials, biogas and bio-sequestration

other events facilitating competence promotion and networking at regional, national and European level (Cluster competence promotion) (Task 4.2 d)
the aim of this task was to promote the cluster competence. It was carried out by partner participation in events (seminars, study tours, trainings and other relevant events) not organized by the project consortium at regional, national and European level. BIOCLUS partners were expected to participate in seminars, study tours, trainings and other relevant event at regional, national and European level. The participation strengthened their expertise capacities as well as supports networking with the experts of biomass related fields identified in JAP (WP 3). Besides the events supported regional level strategy implementation. These events are not organized by BIOCLUS project.

highlights of cluster competence promotion

- A private company Gizex (PO) has contacted a Spanish boiler company. Now collaboration together for the use of straw as raw material.
- A private company Gizex (PO) with the ideas raised in the workshops has produced a new machine for hot air generation.
- The regional authority UMWW (PO) is promoting an Eco-Energy and Innovation Centre based on some ideas of the visit to NA
- The regional authority UMWW (PO) is collaborating with CF for the improved of their training programs, focused on more practical aspects
- A private company BIOTERNA (NA) has developed and established their pellet production certification systems Enplus.
- The University JYU (CF) carried out two month long personnel exchanges in CENER (NA)
- with the topic solid biomass sustainability
- The cooperation of our regions in now behind of us, and it will last for the future
- Biomass is now included with an specific chapter in the 3rd Energy Plan of Navarra
- In Navarre (SP) the regions has reach to have a relation of different areas of the regional administration dealing with biomass
- In Navarre (SP) it has been approved an ERANET+ BEST Bioenergy
- In Western Macedonia (GR) the regional authorities are very willing to make district heating projects

improving the use of RTD facilities at regional and international level

the task aimed to create of five models for sharing RTD facilities, one in each cluster region. The objective was to promote the efficient use of research, training and testing facilities. The needs to use and develop the existing research, training and testing facilities were assessed in regional level Joint Action Plans and the consortium level Joint Action Plan. This task was carried out by analysing at least five cases, one per region.

the basis for this works was carried out in WP2. The regional R&D environments were analyses as well as expertise areas of personnel of the partner organisations. These are introduced in website in the regional publications.

http://www.bioclus.eu/en/index.php/news-a-publications/regional-level-publications

the work was based on the model prepared by WP Leader. The regional models for sharing R&D facilities are introduced in BIOCLUS website in following page:

http://www.bioclus.eu/en/index.php/models-for-sharing-facilities

in the quality monitoring process the deliverables were evaluated to be very much line with the scope planned and the value was noted as high.

3.4 Improving Regional Innovation System (WP5)
the objective of this work package was to promote and network the innovation systems in BIOCLUS cluster regions as well as enhance innovation related co-operation between the cluster regions. It aimed to strengthen the research commercialization and competitiveness in BIOCLUS regions by

- Benchmarking the existing innovation systems
- Identifying improvement needs
- Improving the innovation systems in the BIOCLUS regions by promoting best practices and by mentoring

benchmarking the existing innovation systems
the objective of this task was to produce Mentoring and Mutual Learning plans for clusters by developing the knowledge level of decision-makers and other stakeholders. The clusters gather knowledge for that with various means. They have collected basic information about their regional innovation environment in task 2.1. Also, the clusters shared their experiences in the international workshop and carry out benchmarking visits to successful regions. Thus the regions were able to provide the plans for mentoring and mutual learning process. It was formed of the regional plan and mentoring and mutual learning activities, such as cluster level mentoring and the joint blog in website.

international workshop on establishment and promotion of innovation system (Task 5.1 a)
the aim of this sub-task was to organize one international workshop with high-quality introduction from innovation management experts at one from each cluster region. The workshop was targeted to the BIOCLUS research-driven cluster members. Also Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)/ Regions of Knowledge Programme was represented. The aim was to identify possibilities for cooperation and mentoring, get ideas for planning and discuss common issues.

the workshop confirmed that disparities between EU regions with regard to research investment and innovation are significant. The stronger cooperation between businesses and public research can be supported by

- Creation of regional and trans-regional clusters and
- Capacity building in research, including information and communication technologies, research infrastructure and human capital.

the workshop materials are available in the following BIOCLUS website:

http://www.bioclus.eu/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10&Itemid=23&dir=%2Fvar%2Fhttp://www%2Fjsmallfib_top%2FInternational/Events%3A+International+Innovation+Workshop+in+Bratislava+Slovakia+in+Sept+2010

benchmarking visits to USA and Austria (Task 5.1 b)
the aim of this sub-task was to learn and get new innovative ideas from visit sites that introduce best practice case in the field of innovation management. There were two visits targeted in the regions that have successful innovation systems. The benchmarked regions had similarities to BIOCLUS regions in terms of magnitude of regional economy and the fields of RTD activities. The aim is to learn and obtain new ideas from the peer entities.

the first Benchmarking visit was targeted to Michigan Keweenaw area, cities of Houghton and Hancock, due to the inspirational successful innovation systems in existing similar conditions of BIOCLUS regional partners. Related to BIOCLUS activities were e.g.

- tailored visit of Sustainable Futures Institute with focus on a sustainable model including economic-industrial, environmental and societal sustainability,
- visit to Finlandia University Jutila Center for Global Design and Business, teaching facilities and business incubator area,
- visit Mtech Zone,
- Lakeshore Center, business incubator
- Examples of programs for students were introduced – e.g. Enterprise program, very strong support of commercialisation of results of research at MichiganTech,
- Cooperation between universities (MichiganTech, Finlandia) and enterprises (enterprises finance lot of research projects at the universities),
- Commitment of local society to develop the region, very strong supporting organisation working in the area to develop new businesses e.g. WUPPDR, incubators.

mentoring and Mutual Learning plans for BIOCLUS regions (Task 5.1 c)

the aim of this task was to produce the mentoring and mutual learning plan for each cluster region by interviewing regional stakeholders in all cluster regions to support the realization of mentoring and mutual learning plans. Each region had specific needs for the innovation system development. The ground information and ideas for improvement promotion were identified in the Regional Strategic Research Agendas (WP2) and in the previous sub-tasks: Benchmark visits and International workshop.

in the Steering Committee (SC) it was agreed that regions have different needs at this moment. For example in Central Finland the regional innovation system is already quite advanced. The major development needs are inside the research entities. For this reason the SC decided that Central Finland may concentrate in the research related innovation management of the universities and research institutes while for example Slovakia was developing their national system and lobbying the best practices.

the regional Mentoring and Mutual Learning Plans are available in the following website:

http://www.bioclus.eu/en/index.php/rtd-a-innovation-development/25-innovations-boosting-regional-development/84-innovationsboostingregionaleconomy

mentoring and mutual learning platform (Task 5.1 d)
the objective of this task was to improve regional innovation systems in order to maximize economic advantages and introduce Innovation development Experts blog. The aim was to promote the establishment and development of regional innovation systems and enhance the implementation of the Mentoring and Mutual Learning plans. In addition to this, the aim was to consult and mentor partners and regional stake-holders on possible ways to implement the mentoring and mutual learning plans.

innovation development Experts blog
the innovation blog is located in BIOCLUS website in following address:

http://www.bioclus.eu/en/index.php/innovation-blog

there are innovation related blog texts provided by regional innovation experts. The CVs and contact information of experts is introduced in the website.

the articles have following topics:

- Bioclus getting started! (written by Ms Marta Martínez Arellano, Puente International Company): It describes different Innovation structures between BIOCLUS regions, learning from others, experiences of the benchmarking visits as well as innovation in RES and Biomass in Navarra and Future, technology and knowledge Transfer.
- Is the Innovation like a 'life itself' – when an innovation is born? (written by Mr Pekka Taskinen, VTT)
- Observations related to innovation systems in US (written by Mr Asko Ojaniemi, Benet Ltd)
- BIOCLUS and Bio Cluster in Western Macedonia (written by Dr Yannis Fallas, UoWM): An article, describing the state of art in the region and the innovative projects, initiatives etc. of the participating entities.
- Innovation blog BIOCLUS case Wielkopolska Region (written by Marek Hryniewicz, ITP)

participation and contribution to EU innovation initiatives (Task 5.1 e)
in the project proposal it was noted that the project coordinator and project partners would also take part in the European cluster alliance and the European Club of clusters managers, as well as provide descriptions and relevant data to be collected in the framework of the European cluster observatory, set up under Pro Inno Europe and Europe INNOVA. BIC Bratislava – one of the partners - is active in these innovation platforms (see http://www.bic.sk online).

the aim was to share experiences with larger public and experts in the field of innovation and cluster development. The partners have been active in following innovation related platforms and initiatives:

- European Technology Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC-Platform) brings together stakeholders from the biomass but also geothermal and solar thermal sector - including the related industries - to define a common strategy for increasing the use of renewable energy technologies for heating and cooling. (VTT and CERTH in major roles)
- CHORUS cluster gathers 12 companies (including 10 small and medium-sized entreprises (SME)) and a research institution in the region of Central Macedonia (Greece), in order to develop innovative products and integrated solutions for 'green'energy (clean energy, low carbon and renewable energy) and 'green' mobility which include high added value and high functionality due to strong internal synergies.
- BIOPLAT: Spanish Biomass Technology Platform (CENER)
- APPA: Association of Renewable Energy Producers. (CENER)
- PTFE: Spanish Forestry Technology Platform(CENER)
- EERA: European Energy Research Alliance (CENER and VTT)
- Enterprise Europe Network - "Business support at your doorstep" - is providing broadest range of services to help, assist and advise European small and medium businesses in the field of business, internationalisation, innovation, technology transfer and research. (BIC)
- b2europe is the alliance of European business support networks assisting companies, in particular Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and potential entrepreneurs to compete and succeed. (BIC)
- European Innovation Relay Centres Network - These centres have been created in order to facilitate the transfer of innovative technologies to and from European companies or research departments. (BIC)
- IRE - The Innovating Regions in Europe (IRE) network is the joint platform for collaboration and exchange of experience for regions that are developing or implementing regional innovation strategies and schemes. (BIC)
- EBN - the European BIC Network - is a non-profit making association based in Brussels. EBN offers services aiming at coordinating the activities of the BICs, developing and promoting the BIC concept within and outside the European Union.
- SPICE (Science Parks and Innovation Centers Expert Network). SPICE Group is a global network of individual experts. (BIC)
- PRO INNO Europe - is an initiative of Directorate General Enterprise and Industry which aims to become the focal point for innovation policy analysis, learning and development in Europe, with the view to learning from the best and contributing to the development of new and better innovation policies in Europe. (BIC)
- PAXIS Network - Managed by the Commission's Enterprise Directorate-General under the 6th Framework Programme, 'Research and Innovation Programme', PAXIS promotes the setting-up and development of innovative companies across Europe – a driving force for employment and economic growth. (BIC)
- National Network of BIC and RAIC - Slovak network of Business innovation centres (BIC) and Regional advisory and information centres (RAIC) co-ordinated by the National Agency for small and medium-sized entreprises (SME) Development
- CLEEN Ltd. - Cluster for Energy and Environment (Finnish national clusters)
- Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC Oy
- Energy Technology cluster – JI coordinates the cluster, JAMK, JYU, VTT and Benet are partners in the cluster
- Forest Industry Future cluster - JI coordinates the cluster, JAMK, JYU, VTT and Benet are partners in the cluster
- Finnish Innovative Cities Initiative preparation It is targeted to 5-6 focus areas at national level. The decisions about the focus areas will made by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. (JI, JAMK, JYU, regional authority Keski-Suomen liitto)
- National material and immaterial resource efficiency project as a pilot region. The project is financed by Sitra – The Finnish Innovation Fund. (JI, JAMK, JYU, VTT, BENET, regional authority Keski-Suomen liitto)

benefits and highlights of innovation related cooperation
in Navarra the draft of the IV Technology Plan Navarra 2012-2015 is published. It is based on and follows Moderna Plan (General plan for the economic development of Navarra) lines, designs strategies to give R&D a more systemic nature. Public support will be focused on the sectors and clusters identified (economy of health, green economy and economy of talent). The Plan contains specific indicators, strategic lines, and budgeting tools necessary to achieve the four global goals scored: promote a balanced and sustainable development of regional economy; facilitate open innovation in a global environment, stimulate regional competitiveness by promoting the socialization of science and innovation, and to foster regional innovation system at European and global levels.

the four strategic areas of innovation are: to develop international, high-level and market-oriented R&D&I; to give added value and create technology-based companies; systematic use R&D&I as a competitive tool for the industry, and promoting the use of new services and products to the society.

in Slovakia increasing of productivity and utilization of biomass energy including related activities in Slovakia, maintaining their sustainability and improving economic and ecology parameters of these processes as well as using favourable effects on employment in rural areas is conditioned by significant improvement in the area of innovation in Slovakia in its broad context. Innovation should cover all range of activities related to production, processing, storage, transport and energy use of biomass including evaluation of economic, ecological and social influence of these activities. Necessary condition for improvement of innovation system in the area of production and utilization of energy biomass is improvement of cooperation of relevant stakeholders and higher effectiveness of their activities. Several steps should be implemented to improve the innovation system in Slovakia:

- Complex analysis of present situation in production and utilisation of energy biomass related to innovation including cooperation among ministries, local and regional governments, RTD institutions and companies. The results of the project BIOCLUS should also be used
- Identification of main problems where support of above mentioned institutions is necessary. An agreement on further cooperation should be adopted. The results of the project BIOCLUS should also be used
- Elaboration of innovation strategy in the area of production and utilisation of energy biomass in cooperative way between the RTD institutions and the ministries taking into account demands of stakeholders
- Continuous financial support of innovation including preparation stage and its implementation. Taking into the consideration present financial conditions in Slovakia public funding is necessary. Private funding should be used for implementation of innovation in private companies particularly those producing energy and wood processing and pulp companies and their suppliers.
- Stabilization of innovation systems in order to fulfill the targets until 2020 and onwards that assume: institutional stabilization between ministries and RTD institutions, financial stabilization thus combination of using public and private financial sources, stabilisation of legislative particularly in relation to entrepreneurs environment(biomass and energy producers, service providers) and local and regional authorities, monitoring of innovation system, its effectiveness according to the targets. It is necessary to focus on solving key problems in different areas in order to achieve the objective of innovation system developing, formation and operation of clusters, as the supporting structures of innovation implementation.
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two major operational programmes (OP) focused on innovation are implemented in the current programming period 2007-2013:

- OP Competitiveness and Economic Growth (Support measures: Innovation and technology transfers; Support of common services for entrepreneurs; Support of innovation activities in enterprises)
- OP Research and Development (Support measures: R&D infrastructure, Networks of excellence, Transfer of knowledge and technologies)

the partners have participated actively in the research related innovation platforms. For example JYU and VTT are partners in following national clusters:

- CLEEN Ltd. - Cluster for Energy and Environment
- FIBIC Ltd. – Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster

besides, Jyväskylä Innovation is managing regional two Centres of Expertise that are related to biomass:

- Energy Technology cluster - BIOCLUS partners JAMK, JYU, VTT and Benet are partners in the cluster
- Forest Industry Future cluster - BIOCLUS partners VTT and JAMK are partners in the cluster.

the benefits and highlights of innovation related cooperation are introduced as follows:

benefits and highlights of innovation related cooperation

benchmarking findings and benefits:
- Positive valuation of the USA (Michigan) of the use of wooden biomass - being very close to the market and having more efficient innovation system compared to Europe
- Learning also from other countries, e.g. Austria, Finland how to use biomass and to structure clusters
regional innovation track
- Funding system for innovation, e.g. regional seed money for innovation,
- National and European funding system for innovation
- Evaluation of ideas, early development stages and processes
- New knowledge in biomass processing, cardoon biomass utilisation, etc.
BIOCLUS impact on innovation creation and commercialisation and research environment
- Increase of interaction between research and business
- Positive effect on public sphere
- New opportunity in biomass use, e.g. in electricity generating
- Improving commercialisation capacity, here the Quercus example
- Improving innovation capacity in NFC
- Impulses for channelling regional money (funds) to boost business initiatives
- Providing essential information and material for Strategy for research, development and innovation in the Slovak Republic until 2020 (January 2013).

BIOCLUS expertise dissemination
- Large mutual expertise dissemination
- Participation in national and European platforms - not all consortium
- Partners, Finland was there participating already before BIOCLUS
- Project, Slovakia came to European technology platform through BIOCLUS
BIOCLUS contribution to networking and activities integration at consortium and European level
- Large know how transfer from Finnish partners to other consortium
- Partners, e g. technical possibilities of forest and biomass use, clean and renewable energy generation in the regions, innovation funding
- System and its impact on business development, the Tekes model,
- Structural funds (SF) impact , use of the "de minimis" rule for small and medium-sized entreprises (SME)
- Implementing innovations
- Positive BIOCLUS impact on relevant small and medium-sized entreprises (SME)s in the respective regions, strengthening relevant New small and medium-sized entreprises (SME)s, implementing new technologies, expanding markets, boosting commercialization
- Developing of operating environmental clusters or at least clustering activities through facilitators
- Development of expert networks
- Mutual regional learning from each other regions

potential Impact:
3.4 Impact and additional value of BIOCLUS

BIOCLUS objective was to boost the regional competitiveness and growth in five European cluster regions:

- Central Finland
- Navarre (Spain)
- Western Macedonia (Greece)
- Slovakia
- Wielkopolska (Poland).

the project promoted collaboration and integration of cluster regions and strengthens the innovation environment by improving research potential and innovation management. Besides, the project supports sustainable development by improving the use of biomass resources. The development is achieved by

- Promoting scientific, strategic and business competence at cluster and consortium level
- Developing collaboration capabilities in the clusters and consortium level
- Improving innovation to business environment by mutual learning and by mentoring

the BIOCLUS clusters locate in the rural regions and all possess great biomass resources such as forests, agriculture, industrial and agricultural by-products and residues as well as municipal waste. The biomasses are challenging raw material. The utilisation chains require special technical and practical competence as well as applications.

the surplus value for European R&D&I work was carried out with following steps:

- The partners participated and followed actively European innovation initiatives, for example in Renewable Heating and Cooling Platform
- It prepared the regional research driven clusters for new era of Horizon 2020
- It supported the participation, knowledge transfer and innovation management by networking and promoting expertise and competences
- BIOCLUS supported innovation management development at national level e.g. in Slovakia, at regional level e.g. in Navarra and at organisational level e.g. in Central Finland
- It offered an opportunity to have more objective view in European R&D&I development by taking experts in USA
- It was possibility for technology transfer and practice transfer between research orientated clusters and between EU and USA
- Cooperation platform for research facility joint use at strategic and practical level (e.g. SUORA forest industry research …)
- It provided new knowledge based networks (e.g. in the field of torrefaction) and supported them to build new initiatives for Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and other programmes

european additional value of BIOCLUS
at European level BIOCLUS gave great input in technology platform work, especially for Renewable Heating and Cooling Platform. It offered an opportunity to learn about and prepare oneself for Horizon 2020. It supported many European networks by offering opportunity for participation and information dissemination, e.g. Fedarena cooperation and standard promotion. Besides the network development lead to new expertise networks that have already resulted for example Biodrying proposal for Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) proposal.

in nutshell the European additional values is following:

- Regional strategic development
- Technology transfer (and practice transfer) between research orientated clusters
- Capacity building and networking (e.g. Torrefaction)
- Innovation management development
- Cooperation platform for research facility joint use


additional value for BIOCLUS clusters
the partners have intensive three year period. The first half was concentrating in the regional strategic works. The second half has been JAP facilitation by concrete action improving the research capacities and networking. The cooperation will continue in forms of the joint actions that have been initiated during the project and have become possible due to BIOCLUS contacts. Besides, the new cooperation opportunities are under consideration. The additional value for BIOCLUS cluster has been analysed at European, regional, organizational and personal level. In practice the Steering Committee meeting it was decided that the consortium will get together in autumn 2013 along the international bioenergy conference organized in Central Finland. The consortium will continue the cooperation in many fields.

at regional the project has produced valuable information in terms of analyses that were produced for the strategic works and for innovation environment development. For example in Navarra the process to provide the regional strategy for bioenergy and in Central Finland it supported the regional climate strategy work by providing background materials about biomass use and potential as well as and by offering expertise for setting the regional targets for bioenergy. The project has been a process to increase the regional cooperation and it has formed joint views for biomass related research cluster member. The organizations have been cooperating and committed in joint research focuses. Besides the research facility has developed. The mentoring and mutual learning of regions have been active and successful. There has been information and experience exchange as well as collaborative discussion between experts, authorities and business representatives.

the project has produced new initiatives at regional, national and European level. Also transatlantic cooperation has been strengthened. The JAP facilitation process has produced more than 10 new cooperation platforms, e.g. European Framework Programme. It has supported European torrefaction network development. The experts, authorities and business representatives have at once had exceptional opportunity to develop their capacities and networks. This has resulted great ideas and perhaps innovations.

in general level the impact of the project are following:

regional level
- Supports regional strategic work
- Joint strategic view of regional key actors
- Useful analyses about biomass resources
- Activation of innovation systems
- Increased cooperation in the field biomass
- Stronger capacities for biomass R&D&I activities

organisational level
- JAP facilitation cooperation
- Supported expertise promotion of staff
- Growth of regional and international networks
- Increased interaction of triple helix actors
- Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Learning process

personal level
- Great opportunity to increase expertise – also at practical way (e.g.personnel exchanges, competence promotion)
- Wider personal networks
- Further knowledge about partner regions operational environment and organisations
- Intercultural skills developed

highlights of BIOCLUS
- New biomass investment: Co-generation plan to Slovakia with the efficiency of 1,8 Mwe /1,2 MWth. The company carrying out the investment is the partner in the project and got decision-making support through the project
- Networking and expertise exchange led to new R&D&I proposals at cluster and consortium level – the cooperation continues in many projects and other intiatives
- Cardoon introduction to Wielkopolska region – it was learned in the study tour in Western Macodonia and studied by the Wielkopolska cluster member in the regional project
- Biomass is added in the 3rd Energy Plan of Navarra
- BIOCLUS analyses have been used as the background papers in the regional strategy development in all BIOCLUS regions
- Technology and practice transfer between research orientated clusters in Europe and between European Union and USA
- Regionally BIOCLUS supported regional competence promotion and other campaigns and concept development e.g. to convert heating from oil to renewable heating sources (small district heating networks and village schools).
- Commitment of organisations and staff - it is unusual to have 20 organisations to be cooperated for three years with same key staff!
- Strategic processes were supported, e.g. Navarra got bioenergy strategy
- Intercultural skills were developed - Be hard for a problem and soft for the people

4. Use and dissemination foreground
in BIOCLUS project has the BIOCLUS dissemination strategy that aims to support and give practical guidance for partners in dissemination activity planning and implementation. According to description of work the main objectives of BIOCLUS communication and dissemination are

- To ensure the communication and information dissemination between the consortium members
- To ensure the communication and information dissemination in the cluster regions and with the stakeholders
- To disseminate the project outcomes and results and to promote the awareness concerning sustainable use of biomass resources among the stakeholders and public.

the aim of BIOCLUS dissemination is to distribute information related to project activities. To exploit experiences and lessons learned as well as disseminate the deliverable to relevant stakeholders. The internal dissemination between project partners is introduced in Communication plan.

material and information to disseminate
during the project life span the project produced interesting deliverable to disseminate during and after the project, such as

- Regional state of play analyses for regional strategic work
- Regional strategic research agendas
- Regional joint action plans
- Consortium level Joint action plan
- Models for sharing facilities
- Regional Mentoring and mutual learning plans
- Innovation track reports
- Event findings and materials

list of Websites:
http://www.bioclus.eu.

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