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Indo-European joint initiative to assess biomass and bio-waste conversion potential

An Indo-European joint initiative for strengthening networking on biomass research and bio-waste valorisation for a sustainable bio-based economy has been initiated through 'SAHYOG' under the joint sponsorship of European Commission and Government of India's Department of Biotechnology.

The project aim is develop strong Indo-European linkages between on-going and future research and innovation projects and to exploit cooperation synergies for sustainable development. Initial work will focus on developing comprehensive inventories of research activities in the EU and India, in order to identify common areas of interest as well as knowledge gaps and cooperation opportunities. This will be supplemented by inventories to document biomass production and bio-waste availability in both regions to predict future potentials and limitations. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) was selected as the project coordinator in India.

"This joint initiative will effectively link research activities implemented within European Union's research programmes and related activities of Indian national institutions to provide a policy framework for future research initiatives in areas of bio-economy," said Dr. Philippe Du Poet, Minister Counselor, Delegation of European Union to India, while inaugurating the programme's stakeholder meeting held at TERI recently.

The SAHYOG project eventually aims to establish a road map towards finding solutions for existing challenges and needs in biotechnological research activities on biomass production and bio-waste conversion.

The integrated activities planned in the project will be carried out through a partnership of stakeholders from EU and India involving public and private organisations that conceive and fund research programmes as well as representatives from the scientific community.

The twinning of existing projects and short term exchanges among researchers will be discussed. In order to provide opportunities to explore the opinions and perspectives of European and Indian scientists and R&D programme managers, several stakeholder workshops, conferences and summer schools have been planned. Finally, a strategic research agenda and an R&D roadmap will be developed in order to facilitate concerted planning of future joint Indo-European research initiatives.

At its conclusion, the SAHYOG project seeks to attain the following outcomes:

  • A full inventory of biomass production (including agriculture and forestry) and biowaste availability (including wastewater sludge) and future potentials and limitations (in Europe and India).

  • An inventory of ongoing and past research projects (upstream and downstream) with a strategy for optimal use of the on-going research.

  • A strategy toward new trends in agriculture in the EU and India towards high biomass yields and qualities in a multipurpose approach (agriculture policy).

  • A strong interaction with all kinds of stakeholders in EU and India (twinning of existing projects, stakeholder workshop and exchange visits).

  • A road map that describes integrated biomass management towards 2050 in the Future Green Economy of India and Europe (including new biomass-based trade opportunities between both sub-continents).

  • A Strategic Research Agenda that will indicate the needs and the gaps in research that must be solved in order to implement the road map and to define the strengths and focus of the EU and India respectively. This will also help the European Commission in identifying the priority areas for the future calls.

  • A strong communication (including training) to improve the societal, political, scientific and industrial vision toward the new sustainable strategy.

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