Johanna Buchert is the President and CEO of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE). As part of the episode on Europe's bioeconomy, Business Planet spoke to her about the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking, an organisation set up by the EU in partnership with Europe's bio-based industries. It seeks to bridge the gap between bio-based innovations and the market as well as increase investment in the sector to develop sustainable products and materials.
**What is the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking and how does it work?**
“The BBI Joint Undertaking funds research. It's an EU instrument, a public-private partnership where the industry is paying most of the part and the EU Horizon programme is paying the other part.”
If I'm a company and I'm interested in becoming part of the BBI JU, what should I do?
“You should connect yourself to research institutes and universities where the research ideas are lying and then together with them go into the activities of the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking. But then go to the networking platforms, there are a lot of opportunities where you can really interact with different stakeholders in the value chain; industrial enterprises, research institutes, universities. And it's there you can really generate contacts.”
How crucial is this?
"It is very crucial to invest in research, but it's also very crucial that the industrial end users are within the research. This is very crucial and this is where the BBI Joint Undertaking is the key player. Industry has been there creating the research need agenda and then the research is answering those needs and putting all this together, I think this is the way how we boost industry in Europe."
These technologies, do they offer us hope for the future?
"We want to transform from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based economy. This is our target and Europe has very ambitious goals there. Bio-based raw materials offer us the possibility to replace, at least partially, the fossil-based economy, so if we generate concepts where we can really create products that can replace fossil-based products that has a climate change impact. It has a very very good impact on the world because our resources are scarce and there are boundaries in the resources so we really need to invest in research and put that into industrial scale and I think this is where the BBI Joint Undertaking is the key player."
If I'm a small biotech firm and I'm interested in this, who should I contact?
"Either go to the Bio-Based Industries webpage or contact the research institutes or university in your country and then try to build up these ideas further."
Watch the interview by clicking on the player above.