The Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA), first adopted in 2013 and updated in 2017, translates the ambitions of the BIC into a set of actions designed to deliver tangible and increasingly ambitious results by 2020 and by 2030.
The SIRA, sets out the main technological and innovation challenges to developing sustainable and competitive bio-based industries in Europe at the time of writing. It reflects the industries’ vision of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Europe leading the transition towards a bioeconomy, while decoupling economic growth from resource depletion and environmental impact.
To unlock their full potential, Europe’s bio-based industries will need to make sustainable, resource-efficient and largely waste-free use of Europe’s renewable materials to play an important role in spurring sustainable growth and boosting Europe’s competitiveness. They will re-industrialise and revitalise rural and coastal areas, providing tens of thousands of highly skilled research, development and production jobs over the next decade.
At the heart of this Agenda are the bio-based value chains and their composing pillars:
- foster supply of sustainable biomass feedstock to feed both existing and new value chains;
- optimise efficient processing for integrated biorefineries through research, development and innovation (R&D&I);
- develop innovative bio-based products for identified market applications; and
- create and accelerate the market-uptake of bio-based products and applications.
These pillars form the four strategic orientations of the bio-based industry in Europe.
This Agenda extends beyond the original, by explicitly incorporating new feedstock such as aquatic-based sources, bio-waste and CO2. In addition, it more actively pursues the crossover between ‘traditional’ value chains. This ‘multi-value-chain’ approach increases opportunities to convert and valorise new feedstocks into a wide array of bio-based products:
- food ingredients and feed;
- transport fuels.
The BBI Initiative focuses on developing Europe-based value chains and accelerating the transition to advanced feedstock for biorefineries. It is aimed at:
- building new value chains: this will involve developing sustainable, highly productive biomass collection and supply systems and making better use of biomass feedstock, including co-products, side streams and residual streams from various sources;
- bringing existing value chains to new levels: this will involve optimising the use of biomass feedstock and offering innovative added-value products that respond to market needs; and
- bringing existing and new technologies to maturity: this will involve using R&I and upgrading and building demonstration and flagship biorefineries that convert a wide variety of biomass into a broad range of innovative bio-based products.
The Initiative builds on the strong performance of the agricultural, agro-food, forestry, pulp and paper, aquatic and bio-waste sectors, and of world-leading companies in the plant breeding, biotechnology, chemistry, energy and bioprocess engineering sectors. It capitalises on the vast amount of R&D investments and results to make Europe’s existing pilot and demonstration facilities as used and useful as possible. And finally, it seeks to leverage the combined and complementary knowledge and skills of academia, research organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and larger corporations to achieve its innovation objectives.