Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy

Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy

Strategic development of a research infrastructure for Bioeconomy in NRW

The NRW strategie project BioSC

The complexity of the challenge to develop a sustainable bioeconomy requires substantial contributions that can only be achieved through new interdisciplinary and integrative research approaches from different areas of research and applied sciences. This requires contributions from both basic and applied research.

In particular, the BioSC aims to establish the structural, scientific and technological basis to develop such specialized, explorative and interdisciplinary research themes for a sustainable bioeconomy. This is achieved by synergistic bundling and integration of the excellent scientific competences and innovative technology platforms in line with a joint strategy and a jointly-oriented appointment policy.

In this regard, the NRW strategic project BioSC holds key significance for the development and initiation of new trans-disciplinary research approaches and associations and in particular for integration. For integration, a specific spectrum of funding instruments from various development and integration stages and measures is required; these build one upon the other and promote innovative solutions by funding both short- and long-term projects.

 

The BioSC has the long-term support of the federal state of NRW within the NRW strategic project BioSC. It provides the required measures for further integration of the BioSC partners in research and training for a sustainable bioeconomy.

With the funding tools developed for the NRW strategy project BioSC, such innovative and interdisciplinary topics of sustainable bioeconomy should be developed and investigated in accordance with the long-term and sustainable strategy of the BioSC. The NRW strategy project BioSC therefore also represents the prototype for a new funding model for regional, trans-disciplinary research associations within the funding landscape of the federal state North Rhine Westphalia. Based on a long-term joint strategy and cooperative governance, research and training are sustainably developed and operated outside of the institute boundaries. In addition to other prerequisites, this approach is required by the national Bioeconomy Council as an essential condition towards a bioeconomy in Germany.

Integrative projects

The SEED FUND funding system serves to review the sustainability of innovative, explorative project ideas without or with only limited preliminary work. These involve appeals for projects with themes that are both specified and unspecified

SEED FUND projects are characterized by:

  • project run times typically 12 up to a maximum of 15 months,
  • funding amounts up to 150,000 euros per project and involving two or three core groups from different disciplines or main research areas,
  • o project themes that are not eligible for other third-party funding sources.

Objectives of the SEED FUND are:

  • development and implementation of projects to review the sustainability of innovative, explorative project ideas without or with only limited preliminary work,
  • strengthening of the networking of locations and main research areas,
  • establishment, validation and development of the SEED FUND program.

Click here for an overview of current SEED FUND projects.

BOOST FUNDS should in particular provide support for projects with innovative, inter- and trans-disciplinary research and with high potential for contributing to the profile of the BioSC. In the mid-term, the BOOST FUND strives to establish large, interdisciplinary integration projects of long-term and strategic significance for the BioSC and bioeconomy, with the involvement of all four partner organization whenever possible. Appeals are made for open-theme projects covering the entire spectrum of topics in the BioSC and which have their basis in the main research areas. In addition, appeals for projects on specific themes (e.g. related to a specific applied field) are possible.

BOOST FUND projects are characterized by:

  • project run times that are typically two up to a maximum of three years for (further) development of an explorative research field,
  • funding amounts of 200,000 up to a maximum of 800,000 euros per project,
  • topics with strategic relevance and originality,
  • topics and approaches that contribute to the development of the BioSC profile,
  • research fields and project themes that are not eligible for other third-party funding sources,
  • a high potential to continue the derived theme in follow-up projects normally financed externally (EU, post graduate program, SFB, BMBF, AIF, industry, etc.).

Objectives of the BOOST FUND are:

  • planning and implementation of projects in innovative, inter- and trans-disciplinary research fields that make an substantial contribution to bioeconomic issues,
  • conflation and integration of disciplines and competences in the BioSC by stronger networking of the main research areas and locations,
  • further development of the BioSC profile,
  • establishment of larger, interdisciplinary integration projects with long-term and strategic significance for the BioSC and bioeconomy (mid-term),
  • establishment, validation and development of the BOOST FUND system.

Click here for an overview of the current BOOST FUND projects.

Strategic measures

The preparation of studies and white papers on different issues relevant to bioeconomy will form the basis for the inter- and trans-disciplinary cooperation and the further development of strategy and content of the BioSC.

In this way, external expertise in issues relevant to bioeconomy will be integrated into the BioSC to supplement the existing expertise and increase national and international networking. In general, visits by guest researchers could last for up to 6 months.

Internal BioSC meetings that are specific to a topic or main research area are intended to support interdisciplinary dialogue. Content specific to a topic or main research area will be developed in the integration forums and the BioSC meetings will be linked and expanded across the main research areas.

This measure promotes the broad-scale inter- and transdisciplinary exchange of knowledge with the participation of national and international experts from science, economy and society.

Excursions (or other formats) related to specific themes such as technology platforms. External participants from science, economy and industry are particularly welcome.

Current research results and developments from the BioSC and NRW strategic project are be presented to and discussed within a broader audience. BioSC plans to initiate its own symposia but participation as co-organizer of meetings relevant to the bioeconomy theme is also possible (condition: significant conceptual involvement of the BioSC; BioSC is a partner). In doing so, interfaces to other bioeconomy initiatives and projects in NRW will be strengthened and new strategic networks established.

Graduate education measures

International summer schools initiated from the main research areas of the BioSC to promote the interdisciplinary network of the main research areas. These are events lasting several days to one week in which external speakers are included in which external graduate students and postdocs are also welcome to take part.

Extension of the method spectrum and interdisciplinary networking of the technological expertise in the BioSC by guest visits from graduate students and junior researchers from the BioSC in another core group or industrial companies, lasting up to several weeks.

Establishing a lecture series on basics and current developments of a sustainable and integrated bioeconomy, also available as e-lectures. The contributions principally come from the core groups of the BioSC, whereby external experts can be included.

Opportunity to gain insight into different areas of application for bioeconomy and the BioSC (e.g. bio-based chemicals and materials, bio-based fuels and energy, feed and food stuff) and other bioeconomy research topics.

Awards for outstanding performances in a doctoral thesis and/or an excellent doctoral supervision as an incentive to improve thesis and supervision quality. The prizes (e.g. financial support for participation at international meetings or postdoc funding lasting several months) are awarded annually in a competition based on an internal BioSC tender.

Guest lectures from national and international experts from science, economy and society at all four locations. The events are open to all interested and are organized on the basis of proposals from the BioSC.