of all European Affairs Events, conferences, presentations and workshops.


06 Dec 2023 13:00 to 07 Dec 2023 16:30


Rue Bara straat 175
1070  Brussels


Climate & Environment

Event Location

6 - 7 December Brussels

Event Description

What next for the European bio-based sector?’ will be the main theme of the first CBE JU Stakeholder Forum.

The forum will focus on three questions that are crucial for the successful development of circular bio-based sector across Europe:

  • How to stimulate demand for circular bio-based solutions?

How can we boost investments in the bio-based sector? What do consumers and industries need to take up bio-based products and solutions? Which successful models could be transferred from other sectors?

  • How to facilitate access to finance to scale up circular bio-based production in Europe?

What can we learn from successful financial engineering examples? Can success stories from other continents be implemented in Europe? What financing models could foster the replication of industrial plants in EU?

  • What R&I do we need to keep the European leadership in bio-based sector in the medium-long term?

As a major contributor to the European Green Deal objectives, what R&I does the bio-based sector need to thrive? What are the sector’s R&I priorities for the next 30 years? Which emerging technologies does the sector need to remain competitive on the global market?

Successful examples and lessons learnt will underpin the discussion.

In-depth discussion topics

In addition to the forum themes, CBE JU is proposing to forum participants a set of topics for focused in-depth discussions:

  • Developing skills for the bio-based sector: defining future skills and identifying existing gaps
  • Promoting young researchers in the bio-based sector: hearing from young talents about the support they need to contribute to the development of circular bio-based industries across Europe


06 December Parallel sessions

Session 1.1. - Taking up bio-based products and solutions: consumer and business perspective

Market uptake of bio-based products remains a challenge. Often bio-based products and solutions involve higher prices which may result in less-sustainable choices for customers, especially in times of high inflation. Consumers also do not have sufficient information about the quality of bio-based products. Industries are slowly moving towards bio-based solutions, but leaving behind well-established and less-sustainable oil-based solutions remains challenging.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • How can consumers be better supported in their choices and how can sustainability play a role?
  • What success stories of market uptake can be applied to bio-based products and solutions?
  • What is the role of standardisation in the market uptake of biobased products? Does labelling have a role?
  • How can information be transmitted simply and effectively to customers? What type of communication is needed?
  • How to mitigate the price gap? How to avoid unfair competition?
  • How to support industry in transitioning to bio-based solutions?

Session 2.1. - Attracting financing in the bio-based sector

Financing of industrial scale projects, especially in their demonstration phase and in the deployment of first industrial units (biorefineries), remains one of the main obstacles today for bio-based industries in Europe. These initiatives involve a huge mobilisation of capital which affects SMEs in particular. In addition, financial institutions, venture capital, national banks still perceive these investments as too risky and not always bankable. Therefore, there exists the need to facilitate access to finance in order to realise the full potential of the bioeconomy in Europe.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • What can we learn from successful financial engineering examples?
  • What are the main investment risks in bio-based industries?
  • How to support companies, especially SMEs, in facilitating access to affordable capital?
  • How to align priorities of different financial institutions to achieve complementarities?
  • What innovative instruments could be developed to take into consideration the environmental impact of these projects?
  • How to change the “de-risking” paradigm for financial institutions?
  • What can we learn from successful financial engineering examples in CBE JU projects?

Session 3.1. – Setting the bio-based sector’s R&I priorities for the next 30 years

The Council Regulation establishing CBE JU sets out three main objectives for the JU to be implemented by supporting research and innovation actions:

  1. Accelerate the innovation process and development of bio-based innovative solutions by intensifying and accelerating research, testing and upscaling the use of novel technologies for converting bio-based feedstock into useful, innovative, and circular solutions.
  2. Accelerate market deployment of existing mature and innovative bio-based solutions by promoting the scale up of innovative bio-based processes, products and applications from TRL 5 upwards.
  3. Ensure a high level of environmental performance of bio-based industrial systems by promoting zero-pollution, climate neutrality projects.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • What R&I is necessary in the bio-based sector to support the EU in achieving its ambitious goals, such as becoming the first climate neutral continent in 2050 while strengthening its global competitiveness?
  • Does Europe risk losing in the so called ‘BioRevolution’ due to a slowdown in innovation and technology development?
  • What is needed to strengthen the technology transfer and the collaboration among the scientific community and industry?
  • Are the SRIA objectives still relevant in light of the new geopolitical context?

07 December - Parallel sessions

Session 1.2. - Shifting industry towards bio-based production

Large industries are important actors in the European economy, and they play a key role in promoting sustainable practices within their value chains including downstream in the market. For traditional industries, shifting to bio-based production processes can be challenging due to the high reliance on well-established processes that often prove to have low environmental performance while at the same time remaining competitive during the transition.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • How to encourage large industries to transition to bio-based production processes?
  • Are large industries adapting to the higher environmental standards requested by customers and by policymakers?
  • What is the role of EU Member States in promoting more sustainable industrial processes?
  • What is the role of SMEs in promoting a shift towards bio-based processes to a larger scale?
  • How can the EU facilitate the transition to bio-based industrial processes?
  • What market requirements can drive the change?
  • How does biomass availability impact large industries’ decisions?

Session 2.2. - Overcoming the challenges of biorefineries

The first-of-a-kind biorefineries in Europe are one of the success stories of the CBE JU. This session is dedicated to sharing best practice and discussing the main challenges in building biorefineries, as well as the opportunities that arose from the implementation of these large and complex 15 CBE JU-funded Flagship projects.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • What have been the major challenges faced by Flagship biorefinery projects?
  • Was it possible to obtain complementary funding and what role did EU funding play?
  • How were the consortia built and what was the key for its success?
  • What was the role of regional and national authorities in the permitting processes?
  • How did the logistic supply chains affect the preparation and operation of the plant? What about the sustainable supply of biomass?
  • How were actors along the value chains involved in the projects?

Session 3.2. - Innovating for competitiveness

Europe has been at the forefront of research and innovation in the bioeconomy, while currently several other global actors are investing massively in new green technologies. Europe shall provide continuous support to companies in driving innovation to the market and it is essential to identify emerging challenges and new technological opportunities to be explored.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • Which emerging technologies does the sector need to embrace to remain competitive on the global market?
  • What are the scientific challenges that should be considered beyond the scope of the current CBE JU SRIA?
  • What emerging technologies should be included or prioritised to accelerate the deployment of the bioeconomy in Europe?
  • What industrial or research sectors can provide successful examples of emerging breakthrough technologies?
  • How can policy keep up with the technology to make companies competitive on the global stage?

Workshop ‘Developing skills in the bio-based industries: future bioeconomy education pathways’

With 2023 having been designated as the European Year of Skills, the CBE JU-funded BIObec project organises a workshop that brings together the most relevant projects in bioeconomy education. The objective of this workshop is to outline the necessary and missing skills and future job profiles, as well as discuss the skills-related regional dimension and priorities and share strategies to attract students and professionals towards careers related to the bioeconomy.

Participants of the workshop will present and discuss success stories and formats for designing educational pathways (e.g., competence centres, business models and educational frameworks) that address the skills needed in the bio-based sector.

Session 1.3. – Facilitating the deployment of bio-based solutions across Europe: the role of the regions

Regions play an important role in the deployment of the bio-based economy in Europe as they can support the establishment of regional innovative value chains. They are also best situated to identify locally available feedstock that can trigger the bio-based economy and make use of regional and local specificities. Regions can foster the necessary support and infrastructure needed to capitalise on local natural resources, regional strength and capabilities.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • What role can regions play in the deployment and/or replication of bio-based industrial facilities?
  • What successful examples exist in European regions?
  • How to boost the engagement of regions with a high bioeconomy potential?
  • Which role can the bioeconomy play to reconvert unused industrial sites?
  • Which role can the bioeconomy play in the creation of new green jobs and opportunities in less developed regions?
  • Which mechanisms currently exist that can be used?

Session 2.3. - Making bio-based companies and projects bankable

CBE JU-funded projects and other successful biorefinery examples demonstrate that these business cases are sustainable. Scaling up technologies, from research to demonstration, to actual industrial production, is seen by banks and financial institutions as a risky endeavour and is often deemed as “non-bankable” despite these initiatives having the objective of a more sustainable and circular way of producing.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • What financing models could be proposed to enable investments in the EU bio-based sector?
  • What instruments could be developed to support the replication of successful industrial units or their upscaling to commercialisation within the EU?
  • How can banks and financial institutions be better informed about the opportunities that these Flagship projects offer?
  • What additional factors can drive financial institutions to support these Flagship projects?
  • What can we learn from success stories?
  • Can complementarity of funds play a role?

Session 3.3. - Innovating for a sustainable future

Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation, encompasses a wide range of instruments to support the European Green Deal. Among the different instruments, the CBE JU is specifically focussing on a sustainable circular bioeconomy as a key part of the industrial transition that will support a greener way of producing and consuming in Europe.

Participants of this session will exchange on:

  • Are the current instruments sufficient to support the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal?
  • What R&I support instruments are necessary in the future EU R&I programme for the bio-based sector to enable the achievement of the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal?
  • Is there enough coherence and complementarity among programmes? How to improve synergies and complementarities among programmes?
  • What is the level of involvement of stakeholders in the preparation of these programmes and are they effective?
  • Does the JU model ensure enough flexibility and achieve impact?
  • What about the involvement of Member States?

Workshop ‘Promoting young researchers in the bio-based sector’

This workshop, driven by the EU Bioeconomy Youth Ambassadors, will focus on the challenges and opportunities of young researchers in the bio-based sector.



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