The EUCYS Bioeconomy Bio-based Industries Prize

About the bioeconomy
The bioeconomy is made up of those parts of the economy that use renewable biological resources from land and sea like crops, forests, fish, animals and micro-organisms to produce food, materials and energy.

The bioeconomy is an essential alternative to our current fossil-based economy. It can replace our current fossil fuel based economy which is dependent on the planet's limited supply of non-renewable resources, such as petroleum and coal. It’s hailed as the next wave in our economic development and should provide major opportunities for innovation, jobs and growth to help re-industrialize Europe.

In fact the bioeconomy is already a reality. Biomass like plant material, municipal and livestock waste is converted into electricity, fuels, plastics and the basic building blocks for chemical processes. Many materials made from petrochemicals can be replaced with materials made from biomass. Sometimes, small changes to naturally occurring substances can produce useful alternatives to commonly used products such as packing or trash bags.

Using biochemicals instead of chemicals derived from petroleum can reduce pollution, increase efficiency, and limit the use of hazardous materials and chemicals in the manufacture process. Enzymes from plants and microorganisms, as well as bacteria and other microbes, can be used in industrial chemical reactions to make a number of everyday products. Enzymes help bring about and speed up chemical reactions. Enzymes are in laundry detergent to improve stain removal. They convert cellulose to sugar, bleach paper and curdle milk for cheese and yogurt.

Cups, forks, spoons, knives, plates, food storage containers, T-shirts and pillows can be made from biomass including waste and residues. These products can be made so that they are biodegradable and compostable. It is hoped that the production and use of these bio-products and materials will reduce the amount of biodegradable waste and materials going to landfills.

About the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU)
The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) is a partnership between the European Commission and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) set up in 2014 to fund research and innovation to help to develop the bio-based economy in Europe. BBI JU’s funding is meant to encourage further investment by the private sector through industry. It works by setting up multi-partner projects who work together to solve the scientific, logistic and infrastructural challenges facing the bio-based industry in Europe. Research can be in a lab or in a combination of lab, pilot plant or biorefinery.

The BBI JU programme offers enormous opportunities to tackle some major societal, environmental and economic challenges, including climate change, energy and food security and resource efficiency.

The bioeconomy EUCYS prize will be awarded by the judges to the project which they feel best uses biotechnology for the production and the conversion of biomass into non-food value-added products.

The winning project should reflect three key principals of the bio-based economy in using raw material of a biological origin, for example whole or parts of plants, trees, algae, marine organisms, micro-organisms, animal in a way which is:

• sustainable
• renewable
• innovative

The winning project will also meet a fourth criteria based on the effectiveness of its overall communicability to the scientific community and the general public. The winning project should promote scientific studies, while raising environmental awareness, and promote the bioeconomy.

The prize will be awarded by BBI JU who will provide a paid 4-day trip to Brussels for the winning project including travel to/from and accommodation in Brussels and participating in a tailor-made experience related to the science behind the BBI JU programme.

The prize awarded will comprise:
• a visit and introduction to the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking programme office
• a visit to some of the key public institutions shaping European bio-based policy, including the European Parliament’s visitor centre and a look behind the scenes at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for research and innovation
• Two one-day visits to the bio-based biorefineries and laboratory facilities selected from the following based in:
o Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, DSM labs (tbc) and Biotech Campus (tbc) in Gent (Belgium)
o Biotech Pilot Plant in Delft (The Netherlands)
• the possibility to visit local tourist sites in the relevant locations, where the itinerary permits.

During each one-day excursion, a range of age-appropriate supervised activities will be organised, along with an opportunity to meet and talk to the scientists working there about their research and a career in science. There may also be an opportunity to visit a few tourist attractions during the stay.

The prize will be awarded to the winning project (up to a maximum of three participants) and one teacher/lecturer (who has made a significant & demonstrable contribution to the wining project), to be nominated by winners to accompany them. Where no teacher/lecturer is nominated, an accompanying responsible adult must be nominated by the winning project. The winning person or persons will remain under the responsibility & supervision of this person during their travel, activities and visits.

Special conditions:
Minimum age of all project participants is 16 years at date of judges’ final decision.

Eligible countries:
EU Member States, Associated Countries

Insurance cover:
The winner(s) must ensure they have suitable travel, medical and accident insurances and will be asked to provide evidence prior to the visit.

Prize to be taken by:
BBI JU will offer a maximum of three possible dates for the winning project to participate in the award. These will be provided according to availability of the winning project in conjunction with the availability of the organisations concerned in making the award.