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Emerging the new bioeconomy

With the world population moving towards 9 billion by 2050 and fossil resources dwindling, Europe needs to review its management and use of renewable biological resources. With its cross-cutting nature, the bioeconomy offers a unique opportunity to address complex and inter-connected challenges, while achieving economic growth.

The EU bioeconomy already has a turnover of nearly €2 trillion and employs more than 22 million people, accounting for 9% of total employment in the EU. It includes agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food production, as well as parts of chemical, biotechnological and energy industries. It encompasses the sustainable production of renewable biological resources and their conversion, as well as that of waste streams into bio-based products, biofuels and bioenergy.

The European commissions Bioeconomy strategy was launched in 2012 and on July 2nd 2013 it received the Parliament’s backing in the shape of an own-initiative resolution. The strategy addresses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into vital products. These include food for Europeans, feed for their livestock, bioenergy for their power networks, and a host of bio-based products such as medicines and biochemicals.

BRC-OULU aims to activate the local and national bioeconomies through research and innovation, taking account of the Nordic natural environment and its challenging preconditions regarding bio-based industries. BRC-OULU also aims to train a new generation of young, cross-disciplinary doctors with knowledge of both engineering and the natural sciences to work on the utilization of renewable raw materials.

These goals are achieved by close collaboration with partners from all vistas of national R&D&I network, including the research centers and financiers, local administrative institutions, biomass providers and the biomass converting industries. The competitive edge of the RC’s action lies in its versatility and its ability to encompass the whole biomass value chain from strategic plant materials to their processing and valorization. Research groups of BRC-OULU link together knowledge of the fundamental systems behind the life, growth and structure of plants with world-class capabilities in biomass pre-treatments, conversion, biomaterial production and advanced analysis to facilitate the emergence of a society where industrial production focuses on sustainable resources.

Last updated: 11.10.2013