Currently, the funding programmes nationally and EU-wide are not coordinated in terms of coherent themes and goals. As experienced in a first review of available funding programmes relevant for microbiome-related research and innovation it turned out that they are very fragmented all over Europe and need a coordinated approach. MicrobiomeSupport will have a main impact into the coordination of commonly defined research and innovation (R&I) agendas which will be incorporated into regional, national, European but also global funding programmes related to microbiome in food systems. In addition, it is important to define common standards and guidelines in order to be able to compare and commonly use data that have already been generated by the diverse (R&I) projects and ones that will be obtained in the future. This means the results of the MicrobiomeSupport project will not only have a major impact onto the definition, the structuring and layout of funding programmes and initiatives but also on ensuring commonly used standards and definitions for the collection and analysis of research data. The integration of funding & policy representatives, industry experts and scientists will enable an exchange of needs and know-how from different stakeholders, which is important to define future new R&I agendas for collaborative microbiome research.
MicrobiomeSupport will create a collaborative international network and integrate know-how in plant, animal, human and aquatic microbiome R&I as well as expertise in bioeconomy applications. The work planned within the project will further help to increase international research breakthroughs and opportunities worldwide. The project integrates 29 project partners (including two associated partners) with complementary expertise from all over the world, including the so-called
IBF countries (Brazil, Canada, South Africa, China, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, India, USA). In addition, three Advisory Groups (‘Funding & Policy Advisory Group’, ‘Industry Advisory Group’ and ‘Coordinators’ Platform’) are integrated in the project, comprising experts currently from about 80 organisations (already signed a letter of support) and the number of interested experts and institutions is constantly growing
One major part of the MicrobiomeSupport project is to commonly define the term ‘microbiome’ which will be one of the first activities within the project. Based on a mapping exercise and detailed overview on what is going on in Europe and the IBF countries regarding microbiome funding and initiatives, a focus will be given on the set-up and definition of common standards, guidelines, protocols and pipelines.
MicrobiomeSupport has integrated international partners form Brazil, Canada, South Africa, China, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, India and USA in order to improve the international cooperation and coordination of common bioeconomy research programmes and set a basis for common microbiome R&I agendas. These countries are also represented within the International Bioeconomy Forum and will be an active part of the IBF ‘Food Systems Microbiome’ working group, which is managed by the MicrobiomeSupport project. The MicrobiomeSupport work plan will lead to the development of joint international research programmes and the coordinated alignment of international research agendas. A further main impact will be to initiate new cooperative research and innovation projects within the topic of microbiome.
Knowledge exchange across the scientific and political community and efficient use of the available resources, while raising awareness of the bioeconomy at an international level
Knowledge exchange between different actors within the bioeconomy community including, among others, science, economy, policy, regulators, industry and agriculture is one of the major aims of the MicrobiomeSupport project. The project will ensure regular and sustainable knowledge exchange within the consortium and between the consortium and its’ Advisory Groups (‘Funding & Policy Advisory Group’, ‘Industry Advisory Group’, and ‘Coordinators’ Platform’). Knowledge exchange will be ensured in a personal way through meetings and workshops but also virtually through moderated telephone conference and discussions, project website and social media. Furthermore, coordination efforts will lead to a more efficient use of European and international large infrastructures. One main impact of MicrobiomeSupport will be to transfer the project results to relevant regional, national, European and international policy makers in order to promote the developed R&I agendas in microbiome and bioeconomy. The successful implementation of the IBF ‘Food Systems Microbiome’ working group will ensure an increased awareness of the bioeconomy at an international level.
Europe needs new business models to warrant economic growth and wealth while limiting the impact on the environment. Action is soon needed to change economies because of climate change threats, growing needs of an expanding global population and pressure on all the earth´s resources. One of these promising business models is the bio-based economy that is part of a global circular economy. Its sectors have a great innovation potential due to the application of a wide range of sciences (life sciences, agronomy, ecology, food science, social sciences, biotechnology, nanotechnology, ICT, engineering) and the application of local knowledge. Microbiomes have a yet unexploited potential to play a significant role in the main goals of the circular and bioeconomy, such as:
- Composting and making use of waste materials
- Improving agricultural yield through alleviation of both biotic and abiotic stresses
- Decontamination/remediation of polluted areas
- Soil improvements – reduced fertilizer use, reduce CO2 production from agriculture, alternative fertilizers
- Biofuel production
- Wastewater treatment
The European bioeconomy is already worth more than € 2 trillion annually and accounts for 22 million jobs. In order to create new, competitive markets for sustainable bio-based products we need to raise awareness and increase coordination of efforts in research and innovation generating added value and sustainability advantages of bio-based products.