BE-Rural will create five regional Open Innovation Platforms (OIPs) for the participatory development of bioeconomy strategies and roadmaps. The BE-Rural OIPs will be established in five regions across the EU with different biomass potentials and will be based on the regional Stakeholder Working Groups (SWGs). Within the OIPs, the main task of the SWGs will be to formulate concrete strategy or roadmap documents by engaging with different actors and opening the platform for a wide range of stakeholders in the region, including civil society organisations and citizens.
Stara Zagora, Bulgaria: This innovation region will focus on seeking new technologies for the application of essential oils and herbal plants in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry. The small-scale production in this area will be combined with tourism-related activities to expand the existing business status quo and potential. Ultimately, the region will establish closer relations and network between companies. Regional partner: Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA)
Vidzeme and Kurzeme, Latvia: This region will focus on the potential of by-products of forest management (i.e. from young forest stand thinning, short rotation coppice and forestry (SRC/SRF) plantations, removing of overgrowth in abandoned agricultural lands and perennial grasses) as a source of bioenergy or biorefinery. The region will investigate the value of agroforestry systems of perennial grasses and SRC or SRF trees as grazing areas, and the production of hay or grass seeds. The potential smart use of small timber wood from young forest stand thing will be explored. Regional partner: The Latvian State Forest Research Institute (SILAVA)
Strumica, North Macedonia: The region will focus on the utilization of agricultural residues, specifically the by-production of organic materials from agricultural activities, as a source of energy for domestic and industrial purposes. The region will investigate technology options for energy conversion of biomass materials generated on agricultural fields or farms (field-based residues), as well as those generated during the processing of agricultural products (process-based residues). Regional partner: International Centre for Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems (SDEWES-Skopje)
Szczecin Lagoon and Vistula Lagoon, Poland: This region will focus on small-scale fisheries, specifically on the sustainable use of currently underused and low-value fish species located in two lagoons. The region will investigate small-scale technology options that can be applied to utilize low-value fish species as products for human consumption. Regional partner: The National Marine Fisheries Research Institute (NMFRI)
Covasna, Romania: The region will focus on addressing fragmented value chains and implementing the circular economy concept within the county’s industrial sectors (i.e. wood and furniture, textiles, agro-food, mechanical engineering, green energy). The region will investigate the development potential of underused biomass (plant matter and wood waste) and it implication on societal challenges (e.g., rural unemployment or marginalised communities). This will be done within a local development business model based on a small-scale technology option ensuring the autonomous energy supply for civil and industrial needs. Regional partner: Institute for Economic Forecasting (IPE)