28.10.2022

At the final conference of the GreenCBC project, the challenges and opportunities in the field of bioeconomy development in the region were presented to participants.

Conference was opened by Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy for Industry and Sustainable DevelopmentPhD Tomislav Radoš, who says there is potential for continuing project and support for planned strategy of bioeconomy development in Republic of Croatia. Director of Competence Centre Ltd for research and development from Vukovar-Srijem County, PhD Ivan Ambroš, thanked everyone for participation and contribution of project implementation, the results of which are an excellent introduction to the future Croatian bioeconomy strategy. Jasenko Omerćehajić, from Development Association NERDA, which act as regional development agency for north-east Bosnia and Herzegovina, said in his introductory speech that the agricultural and food and wood processing sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are part of the bioeconomy, are quite linear. Our colleague Marijana Jovović, emphasized that by participating in the project, we created a great basis for creating good initiatives and improved the prerequisites for the development of the bioeconomy sector in Montenegro.

Project GreenCBC was presented by an independent advisor to the Croatian Chamber of Economy, Ivan Škarić, who emphasized that there is no alternative to strengthening the social, economic and territorial development of the cross-border area through the implementation of joint projects. Cooperation offers possible solutions in protecting the environment and biological diversity of neighboring countries, improving and preventing risks and promoting sustainable energy and energy efficiency. The project provides proposals for the use of renewable energy sources with the aim of strengthening energy efficiency and developing tourism in the region while preserving cultural and natural heritage.

At the conference, five projects were presented that can serve as an example of best practice in the development of new ideas. Ana Nikšić-Šarić from Tera Tehnopolis Ltd presented SmartAgriHubs project whose main goal is to digitize European agriculture by promoting an ecosystem of agricultural innovations dedicated to excellence, sustainability and success with the aim of ensuring the digitization of agricultural services in more than 2 million family farms across Europe.

Marko Sever from AGRIblock Ltd presented how to get rid of weeds with modern technologies, while also saving money and not having to deal with the problem of finding labor for that unattractive job on the example of an autonomous vehicle to solve the problem of weeds. It is a solution for family, small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises, which with the help of built-in software collect realtime, everyday data from the agricultural field.

Assoc. prof. Ph.D. Vanja Jurišić from the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb presented the H2020 BBI project GRACE, which main goal is to increase the production of new miscanthus hybrids, a high-energy crop originating from Southeast Asia that, as many believe, should become the fuel of the future.

Our colleague Marijana Jovović, presented the AWeS0ME project and explained how agricultural waste can become a sustainable building material. According to numerous researches, such materials are good insulators, and will also serve in the context of thinking about building with greater energy efficiency.

The Conference ended with the panel “Development of the bioeconomy in the program area”, where the participants concluded that Croatia and the countries in the region have undeniable potential and foundations for the development of the bioeconomy.

Kristijan Futač from the The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds announced that official confirmation of the continuation of the Cross-Border Cooperation Program for the new program period is expected. In the project period 2014-2020. there were more than 40 project partners from all three countries. For the project period 2021-2027. the novelty is smart investments in research and competitive entrepreneurship. It is expected that future projects will be financed in the amount of EUR 1-1.5 million per project. He also announced an innovation in the form of the Small project fund (SPF), which would be launched in the next year and would serve to finance joint projects of micro and small entrepreneurs in the program area.

Anita Sever-Koren from the Ministry of Agriculture, Director of the Directorate for Agricultural Policy, EU and International Cooperation, added that the formation of a working group of stakeholders for the development of the Bioeconomy Strategy is underway. Through the strategy, in one place, all relevant topics will be covered and guidelines will be given on how to achieve efficient cooperation of all institutions with the aim of developing the sector.

Prof. PhD Anita Slavica from the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, emphasized how the academic community can contribute to real projects and strategies. She presented the HORIZON Programe, Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), between the European Union and the Biomass Industry Consortium (BIC), worth 3.7 billion euros. The main task of the BBI JU Joint Undertaking is to finance research based on innovative technology in the conversion of bio-waste into green products and to promote the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy. She mentioned that Croatia, unfortunately, is still characterized as a raw material base, or the country is a supplier of raw materials, and that the academic community can be involved through cooperation with small and medium enterprises and large industries. She concluded that Croatia has innovations, but they need to be commercialized.

Prof. PhD Midhat Jašić, representative of the University of Tuzla, Faculty of Technology, said that BiH has natural resources on which to base the bioeconomy. Similar to Croatia, 50% of its territory is covered by forest, and wood export is one of the most important sectors, followed by the agriculture sector.

PhD Marija Lovrić, director of research and technology transfer at BICRO BIOcentre Ltd, presented the centre as a supporting institution that provides offices and laboratory space for the development of products and services, for example, in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic or food industry. She emphasized that there is not a single incubator of this type in Europe that is public and at the same time self-sustaining and connects the academic community and businessmen.

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