3rd technical seminar with stakeholders

October 8, 2013, The Hague, Netherlands

On 8 October 2013, ERA-IB-2 organized its third technical stakeholder seminar in The Hague, Netherlands. 45 participants identified and discussed current priority areas in Industrial Biotechnology (IB) and suggested relevant R&D topics. These results will determine the future call topics for ERA-IB-2.

The seminar brought together key members of European industry and academia in the field of IB, as well as ERA-IB-2 partners/observers and the representatives of related initiatives, such as the ERA-Net EuroTransBio, the ERA-Net MarineBiotech and the European Technology Platform (ETP) SusChem. This distribution of participants ensured in particular that the needs of industry will be aligned with the requirements and priorities of the national/regional funding organizations.

The seminar was held in two parts. During the first part - a brainstorming session - the participants were free to suggest any topics they regard as important. This resulted in a list of 25 topics. In the second part - a facilitated work session - the participants were separated into five groups. Each group was asked to consider the same list of possible topics from a different perspective; namely, their social/ethical impact, their environmental impact, their impact on industrial competitiveness and their impact on human resources. After some lively and focused discussions, each group presented their work and listed their suggested topics for future calls, providing motivated arguments to support their case.

The output of the technical seminar was studied in the ERA-IB-2 Executive Board Meeting on the following day and a consolidated list of call topics was drawn up. This list will be included in the documents of the upcoming 5th ERA-IB call and will also be shared with stakeholders on the ERA-IB-2 website http://www.era-ib.net. As a valuable 'side effect' of the seminar, the participation of other ERA-Nets and of ETP SusChem served to further strengthen ties with IB initiatives and thereby enhanced future collaboration options.

The extensive participation of industry representatives was also beneficial to the consortium’s aspiration to improve industry dynamics and the economic benefits of the projects funded through ERA-IB joint calls. The ERA-IB-2 consortium therefore sees its technical seminars as a golden opportunity to learn about the needs and preferences of relevant stakeholders at first hand. The feedback and contributions of the stakeholders will undoubtedly help the ERA-IB-2 consortium to organize more collaborative and more effective calls.

Processes
1. Conversion of industrial by-products and biomass into value-added products.
2. Developing novel systems for new, more sustainable processes (bio-catalysts such as enzymes, micro-organisms and cell-free biosynthesis systems).
3. Developing new compounds from existing ones (but not the previously well studied biological systems), by understanding their metabolic pathways.
4. Modelling and optimization of biological unit operations and modelling for the improvement of cellular bioprocesses.
5. Process development, intensification and/or integration in existing industrial processes (e.g. downstream and scale-up, process design, scalability).

Products/markets
1. Development of new functional materials/properties from renewable resources.
2. Development of platform chemicals, including bio-monomers, oligomers and polymers.
3. Biomaterials, pharmaceuticals, functional food/feed ingredients (not for all agencies; please check national annexes).

Function-based bio-products: from function to process
1. Further development of function-based bio-products and bio-process design.

Projects are also required to assess environmental impacts.

Carina Lemke