Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant on the « stairway to excellence » by finding synergies between ESIF and H2020 programs
Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP), a not-for-profit pilot and demonstration infrastructure, was build with ESIF-support (interreg and ERDF). The Interreg Flanders -the Netherlands Project ‘Bio Base Europe’ serves as a good exemple of a successful interregional collaboration through targeted investments . Due to this type of support BBEPP can function as a not-for-profit organisation with SME status. This type of governance allows BBEPP to stay independent from commercial organisations and thus guarantee real open access. It serves as an easily accessible player that assists SME’s as well as large companies to increase the TRL of their innovation, in a short timeframe and with minimum investment costs. For the same reasons, BBEPP is an attractive partner in H2020 programs, where BBEPP provides similar services to research institutes, start-ups, small and large companies. The infrastructure and capabilities are also put to service in interreg projects such as the awared winning project ‘Bio Base NEW’ to support SME’s in their innovation by using voucher schemes.
As such BBEPP shows good practice in finding synergies between ESIF and H2020 in accordance with the «stairway of excellence» as described within the « Enabling synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds’, Horizon 2020 and other research, innovation and competitiveness-related Union programmes Guidance for policy-makers and implementing bodies.
Interreg VL-NL 2008-2013 (13 m€); ERDF 2015-2015 (1,26m€); Interreg VL-NL BioHarT 2016-2019 (0,2mio€); ERDF « impact » 2017-2020 (9,4m€); ERDF-SPC « Bio baseFlow 2018-2021 (3,7mio€)
Evidence of success
BBEPP is partner in 17 ongoing & 2 granted H2020 projects: BBI-JU (9); Industrial Leadership (7); Excellent Science (1); Societal Challenges (2). BBEPP is partner in 3 Interreg projects (NWE, Flanders-Netherlands, Europe). BBEPP is research partner in 3 regional Flemish spearheadcluster projects.
BBEPP has serviced over 100 EU companies in over 200 private projects to increase TRL of their technology.
As "new kid on the block" there was no clear status in regional policy instruments: recognised research organisation nor a "real" company.
Long term viability of open acces pilot infrastructure is precarious and requires specific measures.
Challenges are subject to the SmartPilots project.
Potential for learning or transfer
Open access shared pilot facilities are a good "value for money" regional infrastructure investment to speed up transfer of science and research to industrial implementation. Thought to be effective & succesfull critical mass (equipment, skills, workforce,...) is key.
Rather than investing in small, subcritical local infrastructures; to guarantee continuity and effectiveness regions should seek co-investment in critical size pilot & demo infrastructures. These investments should fit within regional smart specialisation strategies and should be flanked by policy instruments enabling & stimulating use of these infrastructures, also interregional. Governance should be such that open access is guaranteed.
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