A happy man, Barend Verachtert called himself, head of the unit Biotechnology of DG Research & Innovation of the European Commission. Friday 17 May 2013, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the administrative negotiations on the innovation program BRIDGE had been successfully concluded. BRIDGE: Biobased & Renewable Industries for Development and Growth in Europe. Now on to the political decision making process, with a meeting between CEOs and Barroso on 10 July, and after that the procedures in the member states and European parliament.
BRIDGE is no trifle. The European Union contributes € 1 billion to the research and innovation program, and European industries have committed themselves to another € 2.8 billion. A major public-private partnership intended for a takeoff of the European biobased economy. A real challenge, characterised by, in Verachtert’s words, ‘many parties involved, many interests at stake, much hassling’. BRIDGE fits perfectly in the new European Horizon 2020 strategy to link research to innovation, and to focus on social challenges.