BE-Rural: Bio-based strategies and roadmaps for enhanced rural and regional development in the EU

Title of the project: Bio-based strategies and roadmaps for enhanced rural and regional development in the EU

Acronym: BE-Rural

Funding source: Horizon 2020

Implementation period: 04/2019 - 07/2021


The BE-Rural project aimed to enable regional stakeholders to establish supportive framework conditions for the development of bio-based sectors in their regions. The project focused on co-creation, knowledge sharing and capacity building with the aim to facilitate the participatory development of regional bioeconomy strategies and roadmaps that are based on small-scale bio-based business models.  

The general framework of BE-Rural is based on the five-helix approach, which combines knowledge and innovation created by key stakeholders from administration, business, academia and civil society within the environment.

BE-Rural explores the potential of regional and local bio-based economies and supports the development of bioeconomy strategies, roadmaps and business models. To that end, the project focuses on the creation of open innovation platforms within selected regions in five countries: Bulgaria, Latvia, Republic of North Macedonia, Poland and Romania.

The project has the following aims:

  • Progress of innovation in the regions;
  • Starting engagement;
  • Identification and dissemination of good practices;
  • Capacity building;
  • Generating new knowledge;
  • Business model research;
  • Raising awareness and understanding.

BE-Rural involves multiple stakeholder groups that rely primarily on mutual capacity building and knowledge generation and transfer. The bio-based economy and the start of policy developments in this area require pooling of knowledge and experience, which is the basis of the conceptual approach of BE-Rural. The project is based on good practices created in the implementation of the Horizon 2020 Promoting Stakeholder Engagement and Public Awareness for a Participative Governance of the European Bioeconomy (BioSTEP) project.

BE-Rural has joined forces with the POWER4BIO project, which aims to increase the capacity of the regional and local politicians and stakeholders to structure their bioeconomy and support the creation of a thriving bio-based sector. The project provides knowledge and supports the exchange of best practices, as well as the creation of networks within and between regions across the EU. The joint guidance document of BE-Rural and POWER4BIO highlights the interaction between the two projects, thereby increasing the impact and strengthening the scope and relevance of the two projects.

As a start, BE-Rural explores existing and available sustainable technologies, biomass potential and (small-scale) business models for a bio-based economy. Their potential for local deployment in separate regions has been assessed, taking into account policy frameworks and stakeholder involvement.

Based on extensive research as well as the results of BE-Rural activities, an easy-to-understand handbook, available in seven national languages, has been developed to overcome the current lack of information on the bioeconomy in the project's target regions. At the same time, BE-Rural's regional partners focus on strengthening and expanding their regional bioeconomy networks, identifying and reaching additional stakeholder groups.

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