Climate change and depleting fossil fuels have stressed the importance of creating an economy based on renewable resources. In a sustainable bioeconomy, natural resources are produced and then converted along with waste streams into products such as food, animal feed, bio-based products and bioenergy.
In Europe, many bio-based products are already part of our everyday lives and contribute significantly to the economy. These greener alternatives can be found in the textile, construction, packaging and even transport sectors, supplanting fossil-based products and their environmental ramifications. In fact, Europe’s bioeconomy is worth EUR 2.2 trillion and employs 18.6 million people. However, despite these impressive figures, many Europeans are barely aware of it.
The EU-funded project BIOWAYS was launched in 2016 to raise people’s awareness of bio-based products and their benefits to society. The project partners’ latest tool in their efforts to achieve this goal is the interactive online platform BioWatch. Through this platform, BIOWAYS aims to help other projects in the bioeconomy sector increase the awareness of their bio-based research findings.
How does the BioWatch online platform work?
BioWatch can be likened to an e-library. Here, bio-based projects are presented side by side, providing direct access to industry, political stakeholders, the media and the general public. Projects are categorised into five thematic areas: plant biomass potential, forestry biomass potential, improved agro-based production, waste valorisation, and bio-energy production and refinement.
Clicking on a project in a specific thematic area will obtain its SEED – a multimedia digital brochure that provides a wealth of information on the project. This may include its objectives, approach, partners, resources and expected impact, as well as any images or videos posted.
The SEED functions like an extension of a project’s website. While containing similar information, it goes one step further, offering a stronger level of engagement with other projects, potential stakeholders and future research partners. It further enables researchers to contextualise their projects and reach a wider and more relevant online audience.
The SEED promotes communication between the project and interested parties in three ways: through a news feed (where project results are posted), an events calendar announcing upcoming events, and a SEED wall (where instant messages can be sent by interested parties). BioWatch members can follow whichever SEEDs interest them and receive push notifications when an update has been made. By means of BioWatch, researchers can share knowledge, gather feedback, and interact with other projects and users, increasing their project’s chances of success.
BIOWAYS (Increase public awareness of bio-based products and applications supporting the growth of the European bioeconomy) is currently recruiting bio-based research projects to build a critical mass of such initiatives in its BioWatch SEED e-library. Next, the project aims to recruit more members in order to boost awareness and engagement of this useful tool.
For more information, please see: BIOWAYS project website