BIOEAST – Central and Eastern European initiative for knowledge-based agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in the bioeconomy.

An open initiative started by the Visegrad Group Countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and joined by Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia and Estonia.

Why BIOEAST?

The Central-Eastern European Initiative for Knowledge-based Agriculture, Aquaculture and Forestry in the Bioeconomy – BIOEAST – offers a shared strategic research and innovation framework for working towards sustainable bioeconomies in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

Owing to the global challenges, sustainability is only achievable at the macro-regional level. To build sustainable national bioeconomies, the specific challenges arising from climate change in the Continental Biogeographical Region, and the common societal and governance issues of the CEE countries should be taken into consideration. The research and innovation capacities of the macro-region are facing significant internal disparities in terms of effectively joining the European Research Area and this is a challenge to be tackled.

The macro-region’s economic, societal, geopolitical, cultural and historical homogeneity and complexity may help to bring about the framework conditions favourable to bioeconomic growth. Joint efforts are required to address present and future challenges successfully. A macro-regional perspective, along with more vigorous European Union (EU) wide cooperation, is necessary for implementing in an effective and efficient way tailored actions that are conducive to safe, secure and sustainable development for all. The sustainability criteria for a circular economy add an additional challenging feature.

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Organigram of BIOEAST

Objectives

There is a need to find effective solutions to ensure a stronger recognition of the research needs and potential of the CEE countries in the co-creating and functioning of the European Research Area (ERA) in the field of sustainable biomass production and processing. The common gap in the CEE macro-region is the research and innovation divide in Europe, which hinders both the unlocking of excellence in low-performing research, development and innovation (RDI) regions, and the appearance of specific research topics relevant to the CEE macro-region in Horizon 2020 work programmes. The low performance and topic representation of the CEE macro-region also block the realisation of the ERA and the promotion of synergies with the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) (Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013). The identification and implementation of specific research areas for the CEE macro-region in Horizon 2020 would not threaten the main principle of excellence in research; on the contrary it would enhance it. Moreover, it would not mean the exclusion of other countries or macro-regions from the topics or consortia, as their experiences and active involvement in knowledge sharing would be crucial for generating relevant results.

BIOEAST pursues the objectives listed below. The achievement of these objectives would bridge the above-mentioned gap in the CEE macro-region and could serve as the thematic framework of a Coordination Support Action (CSA):

  1. Initiate cooperation and the development of knowledge-based policies: establish a multi-stakeholder network and cluster at European level to facilitate joint actions, backed up by a renewed commitment to closer cooperation at both the political and operational levels through close personal contacts and communication between the countries concerned at the operational level;
  2. Identify common challenges and validate common research topics: map specific challenges for a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and foster innovative multidisciplinary research and cooperation activities. These should address the relevant common CEE challenges by means of common work carried out by experts as a follow up to the Visegrad4+3 Common Declaration as a starting point for the discussion;
  3. Initiate strategies: create a cross-sectorial approach for the development of a national circular and bioeconomy strategy;
  4. Provide an evidence base: establish data-driven support for implementation of policies through the creation of an interoperable, fully integrated observing and forecasting system. This would promote continuous, long-term observation based on open data structures to guarantee easy access;
  5. Improve skills: train a new generation of dedicated multi-stakeholder actors;
  6. Initiate development of synergies: promote regional, national, EU and international funding opportunities to develop innovative technologies, methodologies and approaches. The purpose would be to boost the sustainable and circular economic growth of the European bioeconomy sectors and the conservation and upgrading of the regional environment, resources and cultural heritage;
  7. Increase visibility: draw attention to specific challenges and research potential of the macro-region, through involving society and promoting public awareness.

Visegrad Group Presidencies

Hungary
July 2017 – July 2018
Slovakia
July 2018 – July 2019
Czech Republic
July 2019 – July 2020
Poland
July 2020 – July 2021