BioDirect Industry Roundtable Tour

The BioDirect All-Island Initiative, supported by Intertrade Ireland, kickstarted engagement with stakeholders from key sectors, Textiles, Construction, Packaging and Agriculture, with four targeted roundtables hosted over March and May this year.

Our goal was to identify the common challenges and opportunities faced by industries in realising new bio-based product innovations, within their specific value chains, on all Island basis.

We heard from over 75 companies (from start-up to corporate) and 30 public sector organisations (including research institutions). Our partners, Ulster University, atim Cluster, AgriTech Ireland and Queens University were instrumental in helping us to identify the appropriate invitees.

At the roundtables, we discovered appetite for cross border and cross sectoral collaboration is high. Attendees were interested to know about expertise, infrastructure and learn best practices in the bioeconomy scale-up.

We gathered a lot of feedback about specific areas where products and technologies can solve significant common challenges. We will be launching these challenges later in June to stimulate innovation and connections across the sectors, fast-tracking the spread of knowledge and creating a pipeline of collaborative projects.

However, at the roundtables, we also heard about broader challenges that require systems thinking to unlock circular and bioeconomy solutions, for example policy coherence across Government Departments and jurisdictions to realise cross sectoral opportunities, guidance and education on the latest standards to support acceptance of solutions and financing appropriate for family firms and early-stage companies to scale value add solutions in sectors like agri-food. Interestingly, we found that circular economy knowledge is new and that product design for circularity is a new concept to some of the industries.

We will unpack these findings a lot more in a report that we plan to launch at our BioDirect Summit event on September 4th in Belfast. Stay tuned for updates!