On Oct 17-23, 2020 the first annual meeting of the BIOEASTsUP project, we discussed the progress and achievements in the first project year and looked closely in the action plan for the next months. It was organized virtually due to the COVID circumstances.

In the past one year, BIOEASTsUP partners started building the national platforms for bioeconomy strategy development. Inter-ministerial groups and national stakeholder groups have been set-up. A series of webinars took place in May-July 2020 in order to communicate the methodology for platform development and project activities.

Existing bioeconomy capacities of the current national economies for eleven countries were identified through survey and analysis. National round tables titled “Indicators and statistical evidence for bioeconomy development” were organized in October 2020 to present the country specific outcome of the project effort. National stakeholders received suggestions on what directions to take for transition from a fossil-based society towards a circular and sustainable bioeconomy. A methodology was presented on how to identify national bioeconomy objectives, indicators, statistical data for bioeconomy progress monitoring. Feedback was asked from national stakeholders on the suggested directions.

A series of workshops and focus groups with national experts is taking place in the next months to perform a comparative analysis and benchmarking of the bioeconomy potential and transformation pathways of the BIOEAST countries. By the end of the year, country reports will be available for further analysis.

Five thematic working groups have been initiated to support the work of the BIOEAST Board in preparing specific area oriented strategic documents, namely: “Agroecology and Sustainable Yields”, “Bioenergy and New Value-Added Products”, “Food Systems TWG”, “Forestry”, “Fresh Water Based Bioeconomy”. Currently, five thematic SRIAs are being developed. The thematic working groups are regularly meeting online.

A common framework has been created that guides the development of BIOEAST Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) and the thematic SRIAs. In the coming months BIOEASTsUP partners in collaboration with the BIOEAST National Contact Points will conduct a series of workshops in all BIOEAST countries to engage national inter-ministerial groups and national stakeholder groups in the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities as well as gaps in bioeconomy related research and innovation. The first draft of BIOEAST SRIA will be developed by April 2021.

A macro-regional BIOEAST Foresight Exercise is being conducted to support the BIOEAST member states in developing their sustainable bioeconomies. Five high-level independent CEE experts started working in July 2020 in order to deliver a Foresight report by March 2021.

Detailed reports on the progress of the BIOEASTsUP project can be found below: