The new Horizon Europe project initiates and accompanies the transition of carbon-intensive economies towards systemic and circular bioeconomy model regions

Brussels, Feb 06-07, 2024 – Nine partners from eight European countries came together to officially kick-off the Horizon Europe project, BIO2REG, led by model region initiative BioökonomieREVIER at Forschungszentrum Jülich. BIO2REG’s main objective is to assist regions facing challenges to transition towards model regions in circular bioeconomy.

Acting as a catalyst for systemic change, the project places bioeconomy model regions at the centre of the needed transformation to a more sustainable Europe and to successfully implement the EU Green Deal. The project seeks to:

  • Anchor the bioeconomy as a pillar of regional development and transformation in industry and society.
  • Equip regional stakeholders with practical knowledge and tools to design and implement a region-specific bioeconomy transition.
  • Improve exchange and cooperation among European regions focussing on bioeconomy.

Bioeconomy model regions address existing transition challenges by concretization of concepts through tangible action measures. In model regions, bioeconomy is broadly integrated in society, economy, the education sectors and policies while ensuring healthy ecosystems within planetary boundaries.

BIO2REG will provide concrete tools for regional stakeholders including:

  • Concept to develop and implement regionally adapted bioeconomy transition paths.
  • Mapping of best practices in bioeconomy model regions.
  • Guidelines for evaluating bioeconomy potential.
  • Mentoring and training services for regions.
  • Partnerships to facilitate the transition.
  • Tailored policy recommendations to optimise strategies and funding.

In doing so, BIO2REG’s project activities contribute to structural changes in regions. These include adapting economy and society towards climate change by e.g. implementing new value chains in agriculture, forestry, fisheries or peat production, (post)qualification of professionals and trainees or developing bioeconomy profile sites.

Over the course of two days, BIO2REG partners presented and elaborated their roadmaps for the project implementation and workshopped initial frameworks for bioeconomy model regions.

Adrian Leip, Head of Bioeconomy, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, provided in his keynote an overview of the policy context surrounding national and regional bioeconomy development and the variability of regions in Europe. Leip emphasised that the deployment of the sustainable circular bioeconomy needs to take the regional context into account, including the high variability of biological resources and existing fundings instruments.

Ulrich Schurr, FZJ, coordination team BIO2REG and BioökonomieREVIER, presented the conceptual underpinning of the regionalisation of the bioeconomy. Schurr emphasised the need to “act regional in a global context” by leveraging regional potentials for sustainable global bioeconomy.