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emPOWERing regional stakeholders for realising the full potential of european BIOeconomy

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - POWER4BIO (emPOWERing regional stakeholders for realising the full potential of european BIOeconomy)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2019-09-30

The bio-based economy is a powerfully emerging sector with huge potential, moving roughly €2 billion and providing employment for almost 22 million people across Europe. Nevertheless, there are still many European regions that do not take full advantage of their potential in yielding sustainable products instead of fossil-based resources.
POWER4BIO aims at empowering regional stakeholders to boost the transition towards bioeconomy regions in Europe by providing them with the necessary tools, instruments and guidance to develop and implement sound sustainable regional bioeconomy strategies.
All the project developments will be validated by 10 participant regions, which will make the results reliable, replicable and easy to be replicated in other European regions.
One of the main outputs to be released in POWER4BIO will be the “Bioregional Strategy Accelerator Toolkit” (BSAT) which will support European regions to prepare and review their regional bioeconomy. It will integrate relevant bioeconomy tools and include all the support materials developed in the project, like a catalogue of bio-based business models, a portfolio of funding instruments, training material or guidelines to involve regional stakeholders.
The project started selecting the selected key performance indicators that allow assessing the short and medium-term bioeconomy potential of a region. They were defined taking into account the large number of POWER4BIO stakeholders with different profiles and expertise. In all, 67 key performance indicators grouped in eight categories. This information, which can be found in the public deliverable D2.2. will be used as a reference baseline for the rest of the project.
The project has also developed an inventory of the most interesting existing tools for supporting stakeholders in the analysis of the different aspects of a regional bioeconomy. Factsheets were also developed to facilitate the use of the tools by the users. This exercise helped to set up the profiles of users towards the development of the BSAT. This information can be accessed in the public document D2.3.
One of the aims of POWER4BIO is to compile an online catalogue containing factsheets of existing bio-based solutions towards resource-efficient biorefineries with tested potential for market uptake (high TRL) for bioenergy production, biomaterials, biochemicals and food & feed. To this aim, the partners have already defined a list of 24 stakeholder’s requirements (topics) to be addressed in the catalogue factsheets. Based on these content topics, partners have designed and developed a searchable web-based database to store the data. Thus, a web-based database to store and access bio-based solutions in the catalogue has been designed, developed and built to be later integrated in the Bioregional Strategy Accelerator Toolkit (BSAT). The user may apply different searching criteria to facilitate finding solutions of interest: Feedstock, technology, TRL, product, and words occurring in the solution summary and technology description. Partners have started to collect data for 40 bio-based solutions and stored them in the database.
Looking at setting the right collaboration framework with stakeholders for the development of a bioeconomy strategy, all CEE (Central and Eastern European) participant regions have established Regional Bioeconomy Hubs (RBHs) reaching a diverse group of stakeholders. The creation process in each region was particular to their context and needs. As a result of this activity, the project developed a guideline including step-by-step recommendations with suited tools for the establishment of the RBHs. The methodology provides information about how to reach the support from an initial group of key stakeholders and how to set a common and co-created regional bioeconomy vision between them.
In addition, the project has started the analysis of the bioeconomy situation in CEE regions using different means, including the Self-Assessment Tool (DG GROW), and a SWOT analysis is in the pipeline.
POWER4BIO foresees the organization of ten cross-visits to 10 regions of the project aiming at sharing knowledge and exchanging experiences, fostering multilateral cooperation. The first cross-visit took place in Hungary, on 25-26 September 2019. Altogether, more than 50 experts participated, including Hungarian stakeholders and the representatives of project regions.
Finally, POWER4BIO has created a Community of Interest (CoI) including so far 28 stakeholders in order to foster dialogue between the consortium members and actors from participant- and non-participant regions. A very successful month-long e-conference was held between March and April 2019 with more than 250 participants coming from the 10 POWER4BIO participant regions and their neighbouring regions.
Within the life span of POWER4BIO, five main outputs will be released:
• A catalogue of mature technologies and business models to support regions identify the most adequate bio-based solutions for their region.
• Regional Bioeconomy Hubs (RBHs) will be set up in Central and Eastern European regions where key regional stakeholders will collaborate to develop a bioeconomy strategy for their region and its eventual implementation.
• New bioeconomy bridges between regions will be developed by fostering a dialogue with POWER4BIO stakeholders. Long-lasting and sustainable cross-regional cooperation networks are envisioned.
• Ten open cross-visits will be organized, one to each of the POWER4BIO regions, as well as training and education programmes for regional stakeholders.
• A Bioregional Strategy Accelerator Toolkit (BSAT) will be developed to support European regions to prepare and review their regional bioeconomy strategy. It will integrate relevant bioeconomy tools and include support material developed in the project.
As a result of POWER4BIO, new regional bioeconomy strategies and roadmaps will be developed in five Central and Eastern European regions and already existing regional bioeconomy strategies will be reviewed in five Western and Southern European regions.
One of the main potential impacts of the project is its contribution to an increased the capacity of regional policy makers and stakeholders to structure their bioeconomy strategies, involving new actors and value chains.
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