Ten Recommendations “Towards a Danube Region Bioeconomy Concept”
They represent the concluding step of Danube-INCO.NET activities in support to bioeconomy initiated in 2016; at the same time, they represent a starting point for developing new projects and initiatives aiming to contribute to the transition of the Danube Region to bioeconomy.
- Posted on: 27.06.2017
- Year of publication: 2017
In the Danube Region, the transition to bioeconomy represents a challenge and an opportunity for growth and jobs creation. Nevertheless, despite the relevant potential in terms of biomass availability, Danube countries have not yet developed specific national strategies on bioeconomy, with the exception of Germany and, to a certain extent, Austria. As a direct consequence, a macro-regional approach to bioeconomy is lacking.
In this promising but still unexploited context, the Danube-INCO.NET project implemented concrete actions with the ultimate goal to provide for initial inputs towards the development of bioeconomy in the Danube Region.
Under WP3 “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in a Bio-based Economy”, specific events in support to clustering and networking were organized during 2016. First, an international “Triple-Helix-Conference on Bio-based Economy” was organized in Budapest on 19-20 July 2016, back-to back with a Brokerage Event and a Clustering Workshop. These interlinked events gathered about 130 participants, representing more than 90 organizations from 16 countries, with diverse background in relevant areas for the development of bioeconomy, such as agriculture, forestry, aquaculture & fisheries and waste. The main objective of these events was to support university-business-government cooperation (triple-helix model) in order to enhance the establishment and development of bio-based economy partnerships in the target countries, tackling societal challenges in the field of food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, water research, bio-based economy and bio-energy. An additional Clustering Workshop on Biomass and the Brokerage Event “Networking4Innovation” were organized in Bratislava on 30 November 2016.
Beyond clustering and networking events, two Pilot Activities were implemented in the framework of Danube-INCO.NET during 2016, entitled respectively “Towards a Danube bioeconomy RTI strategy for appropriate regional added value Chains” and “Building a Bioeconomy Research and Advocacy Network in the Danube Region (DANUBIONET)”. Altogether, they allowed for organising three Strategy Workshops and two Open Innovation Events, while carrying out one online consultation and one survey.
Pilot Activities confirmed that the Danube Region features essential assets that could trigger economic growth from smart utilisation of available biomass. Furthermore, they demonstrated that there is willingness to cooperate among stakeholders representing different sectors, i.e. industry, academia and public/policy. This notwithstanding, Pilot Activities highlighted that there is still much to do in order to establish the appropriate “enabling environment” where a Danube bioeconomy community can blossom and cooperate successfully. Danube countries are to tackle significant bottlenecks hindering the full deployment of the bioeconomy potential; to this end, the EUSDR could be a useful multilateral framework to facilitate the necessary interdisciplinary approach, exchange of information and transfer of best practices.
In order to overcome such barriers, both Pilot Activities identified a number of measures for future actions in support to the development of bioeconomy in the Danube Region. Complementarities between the measures identified by the two Pilot Activities were evident; therefore, the Workshop “Fostering Bioeconomy in the Danube Region” was convened, with the final aim to combine the outcomes of the above-mentioned Pilot Activities. A restricted group of bioeconomy experts gathered in Trieste on 19 May 2017 and discussed a set of 10 Recommendations “Towards a Danube Region Bioeconomy Concept”, inspired by the Position Papers elaborated in the context of the Pilot Activities. Recommendations cover a broad spectrum of aspects, stemming from governance to finance, from research to innovation and civil society engagement. In particular, they highlight the importance of promoting a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary approach as a pre-condition to make full use of the widely acknowledged biomass potential existing in the Danube Region. The mentioned recommendations represent the concluding step of Danube-INCO.NET activities in support to bioeconomy initiated in 2016; at the same time, they represent a starting point for developing new projects and initiatives aiming to contribute to the transition of the Danube Region to bioeconomy.