Event report – Innovation Opportunities in the Bioeconomy of the North of England
White Rose Brussels EU Parliament Meeting Showcases North of England as Key Player in the Global Bioeconomy
On the 26th April, the White Rose Brussels Office co-hosted an event in the EU Parliament which showcased the North of England as a global hub for innovation in the bioeconomy. Acting with regional and European partners, such as Paul Brannen MEP and BioVale innovation cluster, the meeting presented the Government commissioned Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) on the bioeconomy in the North of England. The event was chaired by Professor Deborah Smith, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York who also acted as chair of the SIA.
Phil Holliday, Director of European Affairs for White Rose Brussels started the session with an introduction of the White Rose University Consortium and three White Rose Universities. Paul Brannen MEP followed on by giving an introduction of the North of England, his role representing the North East, and his work scrutinising EU Policy in the Bioeconomy. He particularly emphasised the role that the forestry sector must play in providing building materials and biomass to fuel future growth.
The main messages from the Audit were communicated to stakeholders from industry, EU policy, and research representatives, by Maggie Smallwood, CEO of BioVale Ltd, who promoted Yorkshire and the Humber as a thriving centre of successful innovation in the Bioeconomy sector. Maggie’s keynote presentation highlighted the opportunities for investment in the North of England bioeconomy, as well as the ambition of the report to grow the region’s bioeconomy from £12.5 billion to £25 billion GVA by 2030.
The keynote was followed by presentations from Jeff Eaves, Managing Director of the Yorkshire-based SME Circa Sustainable Chemicals Ltd and Waldemar Kütt, Director of the European Commission’s Bioeconomy Strategy. Jeff, who also co-authored the SIA, gave a an overview of Circa’s work, both in the North of England and internationally, emphasising the challenges and opportunities in commercialising biomass. This industry perspective was situated in the broader European policy context by Waldemar Kütt, who communicated the main findings of the 2017 Bioeconomy Strategy Review as well as the holistic, joined-up EU bioeconomy strategy that his department is working towards.
The event closed with a brief panel discussion and Q&A, which was chaired by Deborah Smith. The discussion helped raise the profile of the North of England as a key player in the bioeconomy, as well as communicating the important role that Northern research (including White Rose Collaboration) plays in addressing this salient policy challenge.
See slides and key documents below: