The €6.2m (£5.4m) project will focus on helping small and medium-sized businesses (SME’s) to facilitate innovation and business development in bio-based technologies.

Called Bio Base NWE, the project will also provide training and education to help tackle the shortage of skilled professionals in NWE’s bio-based industries.

Bio Base NWE project manager Lieve Hoflack claimed that a European bio-based economy could be worth more than €2trn by 2020 and that SMEs had a vital role to play in this.

“Bio-based products are a growing area of interest for SMEs working in the chemical industry, agro-industry, plastics, fuels, food, textile and pharma industry. However, many SMEs find it difficult to bridge the gap between newly developed research and the commercial market,” she said.

The Bio Base NWE partnership includes organisations from five different countries including the UK-based National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC).

According to the partnership, NWE is in a good position to take a leading role in the emerging bio-based economy because the region is home to a number of prominent research institutes in the field and has a leading chemical industry.

Conor McGlone

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