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Research and innovation

Bio-based products and processes

Bio-based research and innovation

Bio-based products are derived from biological resources (urban bio-waste, organic residues or wastes from primary production and industrial processes, dedicated industrial crops, biogenic CO2, etc.) and they cover a variety of sectors and uses, such as textiles, home and personal care, furniture and construction, chemicals, plastics, fertilisers etc. 

These products can replace fossil-intensive ones, potentially saving up to 2.5 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year by 2030, and may have better environmental and technical performance. They contribute to reducing Europe’s dependency on fossil resources and help accelerate the transition to a green and circular economy. Bio-based products and processes may also bring economic and social benefits e.g. by establishing new markets and creating new jobs opportunities, both in innovative sectors and in rural and coastal areas, where the production of biological resources mainly happens.

Circular bio-based innovative solutions have the potential to drive the EU towards zero pollution and climate neutrality by 2050, and along a just and inclusive transition, in line with the European Green Deal objectives.

EU funds for research and innovation contribute to supporting the development and deployment of bio-based products and processes and to enhancing their economic, social and environmental benefits.

What the Commission is doing

Research at EU level is critical to enable, establish and deploy innovation in the bioeconomy. In particular the bio-based innovation covers:

  • sustainable biomass sourcing, logistics and production systems, with focus on high-value applications and uses and overall resource efficiency, including water
  • life sciences and their convergence with digital technologies for understanding, prospecting and sustainably using biological resources
  • bio-based value chains, materials, including bio-inspired materials, chemicals, products, services and processes with novel qualities, functionalities and improved sustainability; replacing current production of unsustainable products by outperforming biobased solutions for innovative market applications
  • biotechnology for application in competitive, sustainable and novel industrial processes, environmental services and consumer products;
  • circularity through innovation to radically increase the value generated per unit of biological resource, keeping their value in the economy for longer, supporting the principle of the cascading use of sustainable biomass
  • inclusive bio-based systems with different actors participating in the creation of value, maximising societal impact and public engagement;
  • increased understanding of the ecological boundaries, metrics and indicators of the environmental sustainability of the bio-based industry, and its synergies and trade-offs with a healthy environment, and with the other sectors of the bioeconomy

In parallel, the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (established between the EU and the Bio-based Industry Consortium) has the objective to accelerate the innovation and the market uptake of bio-based innovative solutions, while ensuring their environmental performance.

Its strategic innovation and research agenda sets out the technological and innovation challenges to developing sustainable and competitive bio-based industries in Europe.

One of the key aims is to develop new biorefining technologies to sustainably transform renewable natural resources into bio-based products and materials.

Policy focus

Funding opportunities

Calls for proposals supporting 3 CBE JU objectives: accelerate the innovation process and development of bio-based innovative solutions; accelerate market deployment of existing mature and innovative bio-based solutions; ensure a high level of environmental performance of bio-based industrial systems

Loans for projects in agriculture, forest-based, blue economy, waste management. Loansguaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments for high-risk investment in production and processing of food, biobased materials and bioenergy.

Loans and guarantees to innovative businesses for research and innovation activities

Bioeconomy research related calls can be found in national rural development programmes, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, Cohesion Fund for renewable energy projects, European Regional Development Fund for smart specialisation

Funding supporting the deployment of biobased solutions in carbon intensive sectors

The EU's funding instrument for the environment and climate action

Projects and results

Latest news, interviews and features about thought-provoking science and innovative bio-based research projects funded by the EU.

Platform where framework programme participants present their results for you to search, contact their owners, and form partnerships.

Collaboration and jobs

International cooperation in bioeconomy research and innovation helps tackle global challenges

The CBE JU, by engaging all actors in the bio-based systems, aims to strengthen the primary European bioeconomy sectors of the land and sea and its industries. In line with the European Green Deal objectives, the CBE JU will produce major contributions to the EU climate targets by delivering innovative bio-based solutions.

Initiative offering a shared strategic research and innovation framework for working towards sustainable bioeconomies in Central and Eastern European countries

Scientific publications, tools and databases

Platform supporting policy making by bringing together knowledge on the bioeconomy from a wide range of scientific disciplines and sources

Scientific bioeconomy research publications published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC)

The Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) compiles databases and develops software and modelling tools. You can access bioeconomy research related ones here

Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions - all data free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes

You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE

Scenarios on how demand and supply for bio-based chemicals and materials could grow to 2030, and roadmaps with actions required to increase the deployment of chemical and material driven biorefineries in the EU.