Bioeconomy in Eastern Germany given the "green" light

Berlin / Halle. Timber industry meets chemical industry - the BioEconomy cluster of excellence is well on track with the approach of establishing non-food-relevant, renewable materials as the foundation for a bio-based economy. This was confirmed on Wednesday, 28th May 2014 by the results of the jury in its evaluation of the third and final round of the Clusters of Excellence Competition held under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The committee has thus paved the way for the second phase of financing up to 2017. Associated with this is another financing volume amounting to up to 20 million Euros for each of the five clusters of excellence evaluated.

"The successful completion of the evaluation has enabled us to achieve a key milestone on the path to becoming an internationally visible bioeconomy lighthouse. The cluster of excellence funding provides us with an outstanding starting position for the long-term development of a leading bioeconomy region", explained Matthias Zscheile, Chairman of BioEconomy e. V. "

As the youngest representative in the round of the 15 clusters of excellence in Germany, only being founded in 2012, we are particularly delighted that the jury has confirmed the confidence entrusted to us with its decision", declared Horst Mosler, Cluster Manager of the BioEconomy cluster of excellence and continued: "For us this means that we have created the stable basis for a leading position in the European bioeconomy of the future in only a good two years of activity here in Saxony-Anhalt and Eastern Germany."

Professor Andreas Barner, Chairman of the jury, emphasised: "It is particularly gratifying that the clusters of excellence have already significantly expanded on the international stage in the first two years of their funding. This represents a good basis for the forthcoming tenders of the knowledge and innovation centres in the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT/KIC). It also helps the clusters of excellence to find users for their innovations at international level and thus contribute to solving global problems."

For example, the BioEconomy cluster of excellence has decisively expanded its network in Europe thanks to its active involvement in the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) since 2014, as well as due to cooperation partnerships with other bioeconomy and innovation networks, such as the French Industries & Agro-Ressources (IAR) cluster and the Italian Innovhub network. The public-private partnership of BIC with the European Union alone is part of the new EU Research Framework Programme 'Horizon 2020' for a total funding budget of 3.7 billion Euros, which is intended to be invested by 2020 in European bioeconomy. The first worldwide partnerships of the BioEconomy cluster of excellence are also in existence, including those with Canada, Thailand and China.

Two years following the selection and the start of funding, the five clusters of excellence in the third round of the Cluster of Excellence competition of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) submitted their progress reports up to the end of the 1st quarter of 2014. On 28th May 2014, they presented themselves for the intermediate evaluation by an independent jury. All five were recommended for further funding up to 2017. This competition is a key component of the success story enjoyed by the Federal Government's high-tech strategy and supports the most efficient clusters in Germany. Its particular aim is to strength the cooperation between industry and science while establishing the cluster of excellence in the top international group.

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Background: Information on the BioEconomy cluster
As a value-creation cluster, the BioEconomy Cluster in Eastern Germany focuses on the integrated material and energetic use of non-food biomass to generate materials, chemicals, innovative products and energy sources. A unique feature here is the cross-sector formation of value-creation chains in the cluster (e.g. the timber and forestry industry, the chemical and plastics industry, plant construction and the energy industry) and the integration into an established chemical region. In the Leuna Chemical Park, the largest chemical location by size in Germany, the first biorefineries have been set up on a pilot and demonstration scale. With 40% of the beech tree stands in Germany, a key renewable raw material is also concentrated in the cluster region. In a current total of 16 joint and 53 individual projects, the cluster stakeholders are working on sustainable biomass supply concepts as well as on the development, scaling and industrial implementation of production processes. In 2012, the network, already consisting of over 60 companies and institutions from industry and research, was declared one of the 5 winners of the 3rd round of the Clusters of Excellence Competition held under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Since the beginning of 2014, the combination of chemistry and bioeconomy has also been an integral part of the new leading market strategy employed by the State of Saxony-Anhalt.

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