MTU joins EU project to boost Ireland’s bioeconomy

24 Oct 2022

The Robin project team. Image: MTU

The Robin project aims to help EU regions hit their circular bioeconomy goals by analysing current policies, reviewing good practices and developing governance models.

Researchers at Munster Technological University (MTU) have joined an EU project that aims to improve bioeconomy management in several European regions.

The bioeconomy covers all sectors and systems that rely on biological resources, such as animals, plants and microorganisms. It is a broad area that covers land and marine ecosystems.

The EU’s Robin project aims to help five regions achieve their circular bioeconomy targets by supporting the creation of better regional governance models.

The project is being funded by Horizon Europe and consists of 13 partners from Ireland, Greece, Spain, Germany and Slovakia.

MTU has teamed up with the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA) and the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group (CircBio) to create governance structures and circular bioeconomy strategies in the south of Ireland.

MTU was established last year, bringing together Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee. MTU president Prof Maggie Cusack said at the “heart of all our endeavours”, the technological university promotes the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.

“This project reinforces our commitment to this goal by supporting the circular bioeconomy and we look forward to working with all our partners to develop a sustainable future,” Cusack added.

The MTU team said the south of Ireland has significant strengths in the bioeconomy, presenting an area of opportunity and growth for the region while providing a pathway to achieving climate action targets.

The Robin project aims to help regions hit their circular bioeconomy goals by analysing current policies, reviewing good practices, working with regional stakeholders to develop a bioeconomy governance model and piloting tests through the use of a digital toolbox.

The EU initiative was formally launched in Greece and is expected to run for a duration of three years. CircBio research group co-director James Gaffey said the south of Ireland is home to “an abundance of biological raw materials, with an extensive coastline”.

“We are also home to world-leading research institutions in the field of circular bioeconomy, as well as homegrown companies developing sustainable products from these resources.”

Earlier this year, Gaffey and researchers at MTU began a €1m collaborative project aimed at developing a low-carbon strategy for Ireland’s bioeconomy. It involves the development of a prototype national bioeconomy monitoring system to enable Ireland to track the development and progress of the bioeconomy against key indicators.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic