Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


With applications in a broad variety of sectors, life sciences and biotechnology have been the main innovation drivers of the knowledge-based bio-economy (KBBE), leading to new growth and competitiveness in traditional sectors, such as food and agriculture, and the creation of emerging sectors, such as bio-based products and biofuels.[Read more...]

Our aim in supporting biotechnology research is to improve our understanding of terrestrial and aquatic biological systems and, more importantly, to exploit this knowledge to boost technological innovation. Thus, biotechnology can significantly contribute to the development of more sustainable production processes products based on renewable raw materials.

In our activity, we focus on mission-oriented research towards life sciences, biotechnology and biochemistry for sustainable non-food products and processes. It has been divided into six interlinked areas:

Research areas

Novel sources of biomass and bio-products

The research funded under this area focuses on the optimisation of non-food plants for the production of biomaterials (plant factory) and as biomass source for industrial processes (e.g. biorefinery), as well as on the screening of terrestrial biodiversity for new organisms and new biochemical pathways for use in the production of bioproducts.


Marine and fresh-water biotechnology (blue biotechnology)

The research priority in this area is the screening of aquatic biodiversity for new organisms and new biochemical pathways to enhance the current knowledge-base and to contribute to the development of novel processes and products for industrial applications.


Industrial biotechnology: added-value bio-products and bio-processes (white biotechnology)

This area of research concentrates on expanding the use of micro-organisms and bio-catalysts as a green and efficient alternative to conventional industrial processes, e.g. production of fine and specialty chemicals. The use of biochemical processes can significantly improve resource efficiency, for example by reducing energy and water intensity.



Research in this area develops and applies industrial biotechnology to convert renewable raw materials into sustainable and cost-effective bioproducts, bioenergy and second-generation biofuels. Its goal is to replace fossil carbon sources by renewable resources in a more sustainable bio-refinery.


Environmental biotechnology

In this area, plants, microorganisms and enzymes are investigated for environmental and industrial applications, such as the cleaning-up of polluted environments or the greening of industrial processes. Genetically modified organisms are also covered by this area, in particular research on their environmental risks and benefits and their economic performance.


Emerging trends in biotechnology

Biotechnology is an innovative technology that is continuously evolving. This area explores and develops the potential of cutting-edge research taking place in this domain. It is the source for many new tools and solutions that will contribute to improving the knowledge base and driving innovation in other areas of biotechnology.



  • ENERGYPOPLAR - Improved poplar trees as energy sources
  • ICON - Novel uses of plant oils
  • BACSIN - Improved bacteria for pollution control.

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