European Commission mulls PPP model for bio-industrial development

06 November 2012 13:25  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS)--Part of the European Commission’s upcoming policy measures to develop bio-based industries in the region may be based around a public-private partnership (PPP) model, a commission member said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the annual conference of industry body European Bioplastics, Alfredo Aguilar Romanillos, head of the biotechnologies unit of the Commission’s DG Research and Innovation department, said that a strategy of shared investment between the public and private sector worth nearly €4bn ($5.1bn) for the development of bio-based materials was currently under discussion at the Commission.

If approved, the plan would be launched as part of its Horizon 2020 initiative, an €80bn programme for research and innovation, to run from 1 January 2014 until 2020, he said.

“Within the [Horizon 2020] bio-economy [strategy], there will be an activity called bio-based industries, and most of this activity, or part of this activity... may be developed as public-private partnerships. We would like to have industry work together with public organisations to support a major endeavour in the area of bio-based industries, which will include bioplastics,” he said.

The strategy is still under discussion in European Parliament and Commission institutions, but the bio-based materials industry is prepared to invest €2.8bn in the PPP initiative between 2014 and 2020, while the Commission is considering investing €1bn, according to Romanillos.

Other national and regional structured funds are expected to contribute to the scheme, if it is approved.

The scheme would be intended to catalyse joint investment between the public and private sectors to help develop a new range of bio-based products in Europe, he added.

“The idea is not just to support one project, but rather to create a new paradigm of joint endeavour between public and private partners to support bio-based industries in a number of sectors, so that by 2020 there will be a new collection of products and processes that are sustainable and commercially viable,” he said.

A criteria framework for selection of PPPs under Horizon 2020 has already been drawn up, with key factors including the potential added value of a project at the EU level, its potential impact on industrial competitiveness, the long-term commitment from all partners, the scale of resources involved and the potential to leverage additional investment, and a clear definition of roles for all partners.

Horizon 2020 is to succeed the Commission’s Seventh Framework Policy for research, which runs until the end of 2013.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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