Facilitating research projects
SPRING fosters the development of partnerships carrying out research activities along the entire value-chain of bioeconomy, equally involving public and private entities to the purpose of participating in regional, national and Horizon 2020 calls for proposals.
The SPRING technology trajectories
The SPRING Cluster adopted a strategic roadmap and a policy document meant to identify technology trajectories up to the year 2022 with a view to define priorities, strategic guidelines and projects which, with different Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) and scales, can allow the bioeconomy sector and Italy to achieve ambitious goals.
The trajectory “Biorefineries integrated in the local areas for a social and economic «Reinassance» of the Mediterranean” moves from the idea of using large quantities of agrifood and forest biowaste generated in the Mediterranean area, as well as aquatic crops, or terrestrial autochthonous or dedicated crops cultivated in the 3.5 billion hectares of abandoned land in the Mediterranean basin. This would allow territories and local communities to become actors in the development of rural or marginal areas, implementing new sustainable growth models, respecting the ecosystems.
The trajectory “Multi-input and multi-product biorefineries promoting sustainable growth of rural, deindustrialized and urban areas for the valorization of waste streams from value-chains of the Italian major productionsectors” aims to make Italy an international reference for the implementation of circular economy and the virtuous management of resources.
Finally, the third trajectory is transversal and aims at the creation of a national integrated infrastructure for research, innovation and training for sustainable development.
At the beginning of 2014, in the framework of the Strategic Development Plan submitted to the Italian Ministry for University and Research, four three-year projects covering industrial research, experimental development and training were launched. They focused on specific topics in the field of the conversion of sustainable biomass into chemicals and high added-value products through highly innovative processes:
- ALBE – ALternative Biomasses for Elastomers
- BIT3G – Third-generation biorefinery integrated in the local area
- REBIOCHEM – Biochemicals from biomas
- LIDIA – Carboxylic acids from biomass
Each one of them was carried out by a partnership based on a multiregional approach and on the integration of skills.
Aiming to strengthen its relations with other international actors in the field of bioeconomy, the Cluster participates in the GRACE Project (Growing Advanced Industrial Crops on marginal lands for Biorefineries), submitted in response to the “BBI 2016.D2 – Improvement and adaption of industrial crop varieties and novel sources of biomass to diversify biomass feedstock for biorefineries” call for proposals and led by the University of Hohenheim. Within the project, which was launched on June 1st 2017 with a duration of five years, SPRING is responsible for the Industry Panel and the dissemination and communication activities on the theme of bioeconomy.
Enhancing the local areas
The work carried out by the Cluster in order to facilitate networking and best practices development among its members is also reflected in the strengthening of the dialogue with the realities and associations regionally active in the biobased sector, who are considered as fundamental actors for the promotion of the development of a consistent and cohesive national bioeconomy.
In order to enhance this dialogue, the Cluster supports networking among regional entities, encouraging opportunities for direct dialogue and allowing the sharing of initiatives and best practices among the representatives of the Regional Clusters.
The SPRING Cluster also acts as a key player for the institutions and European stakeholders active in bioeconomy through:
- A constant dialogue with the actors of the biobased sector to create partnerships useful to participate in Horizon 2020 calls, and the participation in the Advisory Board for the Societal Challenge 2 “Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture, Marine, Maritime and inland Water, Research and the Bioeconomy”;
- The participation in the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) as an associate member;
- The participation in the Expert Group of Biobased Products of the European Commission as an observer;
- The membership in the European Cluster Collaboration Platform, as a tool to strengthen relations with the other international clusters;
- The consolidation of the collaboration with other clusters active in the field of bioeconomy in the Mediterranean, aware that a close collaboration among actors operating in this area is a pressing need for its sustainable economic, environmental and social development.
Focusing on training
By encouraging the development of bioeconomy and of a wider model of circular economy, SPRING promotes training initiatives based on an educational paradigm which allows the acquisition of additional and transversal key competences in terms of approaches, knowledge and soft skills, through employment-assistance projects and pilot initiatives in the field of green jobs, taking advantage of the expertise and competences already existing on the local areas to facilitate a widespread growth of a common cultural ground on the theme of bioeconomy.
SPRING is among the endorsers to the 2nd level University Master’s Degree “BIOCIRCE – Bioeconomy in the Circular Economy”, that started in 2019 its third edition. Promoted by University of Milano Bicocca, University of Napoli Federico II, University of Torino and University of Bologna-Alma Mater Studiorum, and with the collaboration of a number of non-academicpartners, BIOCIRCE is the first Master course meant to train professionals specialised in the bioeconomy, in line with European and global policies.