Leena Paavilainen, abstract

Paavilainen, Leena

Natural Resources Research Institute Finland (Luke)

Bioeconomy – research knowledge facilitates switch from fossils to bio-based economy

Competition of resources – natural resources, water and energy – will increase globally due to the economic growth and growing population. This development promotes the transition from fossil economy to bioeconomy, being the new wave of economic development. Bioeconomy includes the use of renewable bio-based natural resources, environmentally friendly clean technologies, efficient recycling of materials and new operating models.
We in Finland have built a strong knowledge and competence base in sustainable and resource efficient utilization of renewable raw materials, especially forest resources, for optimal and innovative end-uses. Our forests are vital and productive. Over 70% of our bioeconomy output and added value and over 90% of the exports comes today from forest-based bio-economy.  Finland and the whole Europe are looking for economic growth and new jobs from bioeconomy. The bioeconomy growth is boosted by the OECD bio-economy agenda and the EU´s bio-economy strategy. The Action Plan covers policy actions and stakeholder engagement, enhancement of markets and investment in knowledge, innovation and skills. The objective of the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy, adopted last year, is to increase the bio-economy output from 60 to 100 billion and to create 100 000 new jobs. Its realization calls for systematic change, crossing of sectorial boundaries in research, demonstration platforms for commercialation of innovations and securing the availability of raw materials.
To aggregate the development of a bio-based society the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), MTT Agrifood Research Finland, the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (RKTL) and the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Tike) joined forces 2015, to form the Natural Resources Research Institute Finland (Luke). Luke promotes the development of innovative solutions along the entire value chain from customer to renewable raw material resources. It is a strong center of excellence with multidisciplinary competences – strong expertise on policy support, multiple skills in ecology, economics and social sciences. It also has unique research infrastructure with long-term series of research materials, data resources, and functional field trial and laboratory services. The customer is at the focus of Luke´s activities. The strategic impact areas – biomass-based products and energy, food system and food security, health and well-being, economy and policy actions on natural resources – are based on renewable natural resources. Examples are given, how Luke through its RTI programmes boost bioeconomy in wood construction, high-value added products and chemicals, bioenergy and biofuels and health and well-being.