Researching renewable building materials for a more sustainable Slovenia
The EU-funded InnoRenew Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Slovenia will foster research on the innovative and efficient use of renewable resources in building materials.
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Slovenia is the third most-forested EU country and once had a strong and broad forest sector. However, it lags behind other countries in innovative use of sustainable renewable materials such as wood in the construction sector.
The EU-funded InnoRenew CoE aims to develop a business plan for a new centre of excellence that will address these shortcomings. Based on this business plan, a new institution the InnoRenew CoE will be funded. The new CoE will leverage Slovenias potential, accelerate science, and facilitate collaborations between industry and academia in Europe and beyond.
The InnoRenew CoE is the result of a partnership between eight existing institutions in Slovenia and an advanced partner that will provide support and guidance to the CoE throughout its design and implementation. The advanced partner is the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research in Germany an institution renowned for its global research and innovation excellence in renewables.
The Innovative Renewable Materials Uses Living Laboratory (Living Lab InnoRenew) brought together multiple stakeholders representing industry, consumers, researchers, and policy makers. The goal was to identify needs and collaboratively explore, design, and validate the research development and innovation activities and services to be offered by the new InnoRenew CoE while further boosting EU research and innovation in the field.
Through these activities and extensive research, two areas of research were selected to distinguish the InnoRenew CoE from other research centres: Restorative Environmental and Ergonomic Design (REED), focusing on providing positive human, social, and environmental health through the built environment, and wood modification processes and their resulting products. The CoE and the project consortium will improve the potential that the CoE has to receive international funding, leading to an improved research and innovation culture in the region.
The mission of the InnoRenew CoE is to acquire and provide knowledge, expertise, and support for industry, the public, academia, and policy makers. The centres activities will contribute to a society focused on innovation, sustainability and the cyclical economy, human well-being, and efficient use of renewable resources and assets.
The partnership between the institutions will also benefit the Fraunhofer Institute, opening up access to new research areas and ideas, creativity and greater mobility for researchers and scientists.
The project consortium aims to establish the InnoRenew CoE in 2017, using both operational support from EU funds awarded under the EUs Teaming action and matching Slovenian funds. By 2023, after the grant has ended, the CoE is expected to become a financially independent entity, with the capacities and capabilities to continue exploring and evaluating new ideas, themes, and research fields.