BIOEAST Uni Net is expanding

The network of Bioeconomy Universities established under the umbrella of BIOEAST initiative in 2022 attracted new candidates that joined the group at the first annual meeting on 14th December 2023 in Prague.

In the immediate vicinity of the Charles Bridge and the sitting statue of its founder, The Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles IV surrounded by four women representing the initial four faculties of the Charles University an annual meeting of the BIOEAST Uni Net  took place. The meeting was opened by Barna Kovacs BIOEAST Secretary General who addressed key challenges that need to be reflected in the universities research and innovations agenda to advance their   involvement in the EU programmes, EU Missions and European strategic partnerships. These are the alignment of the curricula and research activities with the strategic thematic areas of the EU programmes, systemic thinking, interdisciplinarity,  multi-actor approach and involvement of the key stakeholder. He noted the emerging European trends for securing  food system security and stability, need to develop bio-technology, bio-manufacturing for sustainable production and the importance of natural resources like soil and freshwater, and other ecosystem services.  Barna Kovacs also articulated the need for impact oriented applied research that can contribute to science – policy dialog and provide evidence based results and knowledge.

Giuseppe Pellegrino European Commission, DG Research – Bioeconomy reminded the outcomes of the COP meeting that highlighted the need for sustainability based on bio resources. He also prompted the new concept of the Regional Innovations Valley for Food System and Bioeconomy launched in October at an event organized at the Agriculture University in Plovdiv (BIOEAST Uni Net member). Giuseppe Pellegrino   announced the upcoming update of the EU strategy, encouraged participants to provide an input and mentioned the involvement of the BIOEAST Uni Net in the Changemakers’ Festival upcoming in March 2024. Damiano Cilio (BOKU the university holding the EBU presidency) highlighted the new ways of the cooperation between the two networks in influencing policy makers, he also shared the impression of the clear structure and concrete ideas of the BIOEAST Uni Net Action Plan. Simon Heath  ICA CoP on Bioeconomy Education advised the cooperation in the lifelong learning as it is aa priority of the ICA CoP in the coming year. He also  announced the annual workshop of ICA Cop in April 2024 in France. Nelo Emerencia (BIC) briefed participants with the ongoing dialogue of the new industrial priorities cross boundaries and cross cultural, the need for entrepreneurial oriented education and adaptability in education.

The second part of the meeting was introduced by Marie Kubankova and George Sakellaris  (BIOEAST HUB CZ) who summarized the achievement of the 1st year of BIOEAST Uni Net – the  interest of candidate universities to join, the Deliverable of the Action Plan, the engagement in both running and new EU projects and the presentation of the network on both national and international events (i.e. The Danube Tech Valley Conference in Wien, The first CBE – JU stakeholder forum in Brussels,  the high-level conference in Plovdiv, EBU Conference September 2023, ICA – CoP & Boku May 23 workshop on BOKU international summer school in Thessaloniki July 2023).  The presentation of new candidate universities followed. Nikos Monokrousos presented the International Hellenic University, Vesna Neskovič the University of Nový Sad, Luka Juvančič The University of Ljubljana and Vanja Jurišič the University of Zagreb. The membership of all  four universities were approved. The third part of the meeting was dedicated to the discussion and vote of the Action Plan, the Action Plan was approved

George Sakellaris concluded: “I am glad that we have enlarged the network so we are stronger and can cope with all challenges that were raised during the meeting; “ Marie Kubankova added:“ Our members approved the Action Plan so we can advanced upon and expand our activities, including our new web pages“