Press release #2
EU study identifies life and biological sciences and technologies in support to the EU research and innovation policy for a circular and bio-based economy.
Brussels, 27 April 2021
Life and biology sciences and technologies contribute significantly to the European Green Deal that promotes a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy by cutting greenhouse gases net emissions and by decoupling economic growth from resource use.
The study “Life and Biological Sciences and Technologies as Engines for Bio-based Innovation”, funded by the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, has selected the top-50 bio-based innovations, mapped EU and national policies and conducted an assessment of the EU innovation ecosystem. Authors have also elaborated bio-based innovation scenarios for 2030, which depict how the innovation and commercialisation in biological and life sciences and technologies may advance in the EU by 2030. Based on the study conclusions, recommendations to R&I policy and decision makers in the EU, Member States and at regional and urban levels are drawn up.
As explained by Martijn Vis, senior consultant at BTG Biomass Technology Group B.V., who led the policy analysis performed within this study, “We must make every possible joint effort to tackle climate change and reduce our environmental footprint. Therefore, we need to make optimal use of the benefits of life and biological sciences and technologies and promote a strategic enabling approach. This study is a very good starting point for developing such a strategy”.
The study has explored the status of European and national bioeconomy strategies, action plans and support measures as well as bioscience related policies. A set of country fiches has been produced summarising the distribution of EU funding in 111 selected projects in the areas of the “top 50 bio-based innovations”. This review covers the period 2014 – 2020 and analyses EU funding distribution of these projects between Member States, by topic and type of funding (e.g. research, demo, flagships projects).
As pointed out in the report, life and biological sciences and technologies will have a number of challenges to face for the years to come.
According to Martijn Vis, “The EU-27 is among the world leaders in innovations which are relevant for sustainability shifts and a circular and bio-based economy, and shows a strong research base for bio-based innovations in general. At the same time, market conditions still need to be improved to guarantee a successful uptake of bio-based products, as valuable alternatives of the fossil-based ones.”
Decision-makers in the EU and Member States as well as regional policy makers, companies, associations and research institutions are encouraged to develop tailor-made strategies to address these great societal challenges also through life and biological sciences and technology.
The Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have made substantial progress in their economic development over the past decade. However, they still lag behind the Western European countries in terms of bio-based economy uptake, contribution to-and-benefiting from bio-based innovations. In the study it is recommended that CEE countries continue and intensify their efforts to achieve higher European coherence and reduce geographical imbalances.
Dedicated national and regional strategies aimed at increasing bio-based innovations would be useful. Nevertheless, international coordination of bio-based economy strategies and action plans would need to be ensured together with better integration of national bio-based economy policies.
The full report can be downloaded from the website of the Publications Office of the European Union alongside the collection of factsheets presenting the top 50 selected bio-based innovations in four fields of action: Plant, Marine, Environmental, Health and Industrial biotechnology. Each factsheet comes with an analysis of maturity level, expected impact and issues that should be addressed with priority to overcome existing hurdles.
The study has been funded by the European Commission in the light of the EU 2018 Bioeconomy Strategy and its Action Plan together with the studies “Carbon economy” and “EU Biorefinery Outlook to 2030”, to support research and innovation policies on bio-based products and services.
For more information about the study, visit the website https://biobased-innovations.eu or watch the presentation video.
The study “Life and Biological Sciences and Technologies as Engines for Bio-based Innovation”, has been supported by the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation. The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.