SPRING and UE Strategies
The European Commission has adopted since February 13, 2012 the strategy Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe (COM(2012) 60 final) dedicated to bioeconomy. Bioeconomy is defined as an economy based on biological resources coming of the earth and the sea, as well from waste, which act as fuel for industrial, energy and food and feed production, and that includes as well the use of production processes founded on biobased products for a sustainable industrial sector.
The Cluster SPRING, inspired by this strategy, represents the tool by which its members aim to put at a national level this strategy into practice, both under the priorities of Research and Innovation and under the ones of territorial policies. Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe provides for a plan of action based on an interdisciplinary and cross-sector approach, with the goal of promoting an innovative society and a low-emissions economy, combining the need for sustainable agriculture and fishing and of food security with an efficient use of renewable resources for industrial purposes, while protecting at the same time biodiversity and the environment.
The strategy identifies different priority actions in order to promote the growth of the biobased sector, such as encouraging declination of the document in national action plans by the Member States, in order to have a uniform legislative environment that could guarantee a growth of the sector at a European level.
The Cluster action also stands in continuity with other legislative initiatives that the European Commission has undertaken in recent years to sharply boost the development of “green chemistry” and of biobased industries. For example, since 2007 biobased products have been identified as one of the six Lead Markets as part of the Lead Market Initiative, that had the purpose of identifying measures to support the demand for innovative sectors able to strengthen European competitiveness and to respond to the social challenges that the planet is facing. Also the more recent strategy Europe 2020 calls for the development of bioeconomy as a key element to enable a smart and sustainable growth in Europe.
Moreover, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 identifies bioeconomy among the priorities in terms of social challenges, and biotechnologies among those relating industrial leadership: two key elements in the Cluster agenda.
The Cluster is also in line with Horizon 2020 objectives for the promotion of the development of sustainable biobased industries in order to accelerate the conversion of European industries using fossil fuel into low-carbon, resource-efficient industries. Therefore it supports the use of renewable resources, the realization of efficient processes and the development of high value-added products, contributing to the implementation of innovative projects in the field of integrated biorefineries designed to minimize energy consumption and to maximize the use of scraps and biomass not in conflict with the food sector.
SPRING, while stimulating actions in synergy with the intrinsic characteristics and potential of local areas, in order to then promote a systemic set up at a national level, is also a functional tool to the Smart Specialisation Strategy. It is a strategy through which the European Commission directs and encourages national and regional authorities across Europe to develop research and innovation strategies for smart specialization, in order to allow a more efficient use of the Structural Funds and an increase of synergies among the different national and regional EU policies, as well as among public and private investment.