Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ERIFORE Report Summary

Project ID: 654371
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ERIFORE (Research Infrastructure for Circular Forest Bioeconomy)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Our vision is that ERIFORE will realize the European potential to consolidate its place as a world leader in biomass based research and innovations. ERIFORE builds on a new firm alliance aiming to establish open access distributed forest bioeconomy research infrastructure across Europe enabling scientific discoveries to be transferred to new business models, novel products and services enabling sustainable growth. The research infrastructure will focus on topics supporting Circular Forest Bioeconomy concepts starting from fundamental teaching and knowledge sharing to high level research laboratories and large scale piloting facilities.

The ERIFORE action coordinates, complements and updates the information of the major European research infrastructures in the field of the new forest biomass based products and processes to enable the full potential of this field of bioeconomy. The general aim is to plan and promote developing new world-class infrastructures in a form of co-operative distributed research infrastructure and to facilitate and support its implementation, long-term sustainability and efficient operation. It is essential to the EU that the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) will include in the future also the facilities needed for the forest bioeconomy, thus helping Europe respond to grand challenges in industry, society and science.

The overall objective of the ERIFORE project is to facilitate development in the field of Circular Forest Bioeconomy towards the following overall targets:
1) Coordinate, complement and update major European research infrastructure to enable and unlock the full potential of available forest biomass in balance with diverse use of forests.
2) A new level of co-operation between the major RTD providers in the field.
3) Establish a globally competitive European research infrastructure delivering next gen-eration technologies

The specific targets and main deliverables of ERIFORE action are the following:
1) To enhance the awareness, utilisation and open access of the complementary research fa-cilities between the major European RTD actors in the field of circular forest biorefinery.
2) To prepare a conceptual design and plan for cooperation arrangements between the main European RTD providers with a target to establish an ESFRI project in the field of circular forest bioeconomy.
3) To prepare a stakeholder analysis for the development needs in the infrastructure network at European level. A roadmap to identify the strengths and development needs of research facilities and technological know-how in the field of European circular forest bioeconomy.
4) To upgrade bioeconomy competence base by providing contact interface for facilities for education and training.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The starting point for the ERIFORE project was to map Europe’s research and pilot plant facilities for advanced biobased products within and outside the project consortium. This extensive study reviewed current state-of-the-art of infrastructures for all steps in the value chain: from the forest biomass, processing, separation and purification up to conversion into products. Capability check and bottleneck analysis revealed that ERIFORE consortium consisting of 13 partners has a significant set of complementary capabilities in the form of knowledge, skills and infrastructure. The main research fields and technology areas related to forest biorefinery value chains are well covered by the partners, but there are also notable research and innovation facilities outside the ERIFORE consortium.

The project has outlined some main opportunities to enhance the utilisation of open access research and innovation infrastructures:
1) improved awareness of the available capabilities and facilities,
2) better coordination and cooperation in use and development of the facilities, and
3) enhanced integration of relevant research fields and technology areas for the development of new biorefinery concepts.

Promotion of research integration and cooperation with supporting funding and policy activities, and coordination of the available capabilities and facilities are crucial to foster the development of scientific and technological advancements.

Utilisation of forest biomass to new value added products require the combined understanding of the whole development chain, from biomass sourcing, composition, its deconstruction and further conversions to products. Future biorefinery concepts will go beyond of how biomass is used today. This is directly reflected in the infrastructure needs to realize excellent research, innovations and the most up-to-date education that are required for industrial renewal.

The main result of the ERIFORE design study project is the action plan to become a distributed research infrastructure on the ESFRI roadmap in 2020. The ERIFORE Infradev-1 project has produced the first drafts for (1) business plan and activities, (2) governance model and structure and (3) financing and investment plans of the distributed research infrastructure. Next phase of the ESFRI planning will more carefully address the preconditions for the RI long-term sustainability and secure formal commitments from both Members (countries) and Partners (RI owning RTOs and universities).

Preparation for ESFRI Roadmap submission (2018-2019) The plan is to submit an ESFRI project application for the next up-date of the ESFRI roadmap for 2020. The lead-up to submission has to be used to mature the business plan and in particular to ensure adequate commitments from the main stakeholders being national governments and other policy makers, partner organisations and related scientific and industrial interest groups.

ESFRI project: preparation phase (2020-2022) Having achieved ESFRI project status, it will be a continuous task to build awareness through informing and engaging stakeholders.

From ESFRI project to landmark: implementation and operational phases (from 2023 on) Eventually all legal and contractual arrangements are ready for the distributed RI to become operational. The aim is to ensure that the distributed RI remains at the forefront of science and technology to offer the European research community and industry best opportunities to stay competitive in transferring scientific discoveries into novel concepts, products and services.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The general objective of ERIFORE is to create a collaborative European research infrastructure to enable and unlock the full potential of available forest biomass in balance with diverse use of forests. This will realize the European potential to consolidate its place as a world leader in forest biomass based research and innovations. ERIFORE accumulates and transfers knowledge of the existing facilities and evaluates what kind of infrastructure collaboration arrangements and development actions are needed in the future for the research, scale-up and piloting and for to support the success of the renewal of European forest based industry. It will create platform helping to structure the scientific community and play a key role in construction of an efficient research and innovation environment in the forest bioeconomy field. It will ensure that in future these infrastructures will be accessible to all researchers, SMEs and other industries in Europe and beyond.

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