BRUSSELS - On Feb. 21, 2018, the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) General Assembly came together to discuss the future of the bio-economy. The event also saw BIC welcome 21 new industry members, 35 new associate members and elect 8 new members to the BIC board. Mat Quaedvlieg from SAPPI continues as Chair of the BIC board during the next year.

This year's General Assembly focused on the future of biobased industries, as BIC members discussed the new European bio-economy strategy and the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) in the context of new Horizon 2020 successor program, FP9, which will run from 2021-2028. Participants also brainstormed the possibility of a BBI 2.0, which would further develop Europe's competitive bio-economy.

BIC Executive Director, Dirk Carrez, said, "BIC continues to be an important biobased platform, bringing together different sectors and entire value chains to collaborate on the bio-economy. We are delighted to have 56 new members on board to help us further develop innovative biobased value chains and contribute to Europe's circular and low-carbon economy objectives. BBI JU also continues to have a strong impact, mobilizing relevant stakeholders ranging from SMEs to large companies and resource and technology providers to brand owners."

At the event, representatives of the BBI JU Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) also presented their projects to industry members. CSAs address non-technological aspects of the bio-economy, e.g. public awareness and market uptake, regulation and standardization, road mapping, networking, and open innovation, to support further development of the sector. More information on CSAs can be found in BIC's new report "Coordination & Support Actions for Europe's Biobased Industries." Other topics discussed included BIC's recent study on EU financial instruments, which outlines a range of funding opportunities for EU biobased projects.

At a Matchmaking Event, over 200 full and associate members participated in workshops relating to BBI JU's 2018 Annual Work plan and the work needed in 2019 and 2020 to meet the long-term objectives in BIC's Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda. BIC's associate members brought forward new, promising technological developments while BIC's industry members discussed recent developments creating market pull for biobased products and applications. Members also exchanged ideas and conferred on consortia for project proposals in over 200 one-on-one meetings during the event.