IT Tralee To Support Bioeconomy Market-Uptake Through European BIOSWITCH Initiative

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INSTITUTE of Technology Tralee have received funding to participate in a new Horizon 2020 Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) project called ‘BIOSWITCH’, which kicked off with an online meeting on June 9.

BIOSWITCH works directly with brand owners, consumers and other stakeholders to support market-uptake of biobased products.

With a turnover value of €2.3 trillion and accounting for 8.2% of the European Union workforce, the bioeconomy is seen as a key enabler to developing a low carbon economy in member states across Europe.

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Biobased products can play a key role in decarbonization by replacing carbon intensive fossil-based products.

The Biobased Industries Consortium have set a target of 25% of Europe’s chemicals and materials coming from biobased sources by 2030.

In order to meet this target, engagement with market-end partners, particularly brand owners, is essential.

This is where BIOSWITCH comes in. According to Ana Ruiz, Project Officer at the BBI JU “BIOSWITCH will play a crucial role to assist brand owners and improve the market penetration of many of the bio-based products that are emerging during the last years.

In addition, BIOSWITCH is a very relevant initiative to support the society and the economy in its green transition from fossil-based to bio-based.”

At IT Tralee, the BIOSWITCH project will be led by James Gaffey and Dr. Helena McMahon principal investigators of the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group (CIRCBIO) at Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre.

Commenting on the launch of the BIOSWITCH project, James Gaffey said, “BIOSWITCH is a really exciting initiative. Many brand owners such as LEGO, Coca-Cola and Nestle have already begun the switch to biobased products, and through BIOSWITCH we will create a framework to support more brand owners to make that switch. This is the third BBI JU project that CIRCBIO has participated in and these projects extend through the full bioeconomy value chain from feedstock to process and products, and now market uptake. Over the last 4 years the CIRCBIO team have participated in projects worth a total funding of over €20 million becoming a key research player in developing Ireland and Europe’s circular bioeconomy.”

According to Project Coordinator Anna Tenhunen of CLIC Innovation “We are very glad to coordinate such an ambitious project that aims to go beyond just raising awareness. By developing the BIOSWITCH Toolbox based on the investigated framework on brand owner needs, motivations and incentives, we aim to encourage companies to switch to bio-based in a novel way”. The BBI JU which funds the BIOSWITCH initiative is a €3.4 Billion Public-Private Partnership focused on supporting the development of Europe’s bioeconomy under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. BIOSWITCH partners include CLIC Innovation (coordinator), Agro Business Park, Corporación Tecnológica de Andalucía, Flanders Food, Institute of Technology Tralee, VTT Research, Biomass Technology Group and Sustainable Innovations.

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