The concept of Smart Specialisation (S3) is designed to boost regional growth and prosperity by focusing on regional strengths and investment in research and innovation (European Commission 2014). Baltic Sea Region Smart Specialisation Ecosystem (BSR S3 Ecosystem), a flagship Interreg BSR project, aims to improve the capacity of BSR innovation actors for S3 related interregional collaboration.
On 16 March 2021, an online workshop was organized by BSR S3 Ecosystem to provide a first stage evidence base relating to the BSR’s Circular Bioeconomy (CBE) value chain opportunities based on the study results. The workshop brought together CBE experts from across the BSR to share findings on CBE value chain opportunities and offered grounds for an upgraded approach to S3 for sustainable growth.
BIOREGIO Showcased at the BSR Smart Specialisation Ecosystem Workshop
The Päijät-Häme region and LAB University of Applied Sciences participate in the BSR Platform through BIOREGIO – Regional circular economy models and best available technologies for biological streams. BIOREGIO is an Interreg Europe funded project, which focuses on developing bio-based circular economy in six partner regions in Finland, Spain, Slovakia, Greece, Romania, and France. Based on the Smart Specialisation in the Baltic Sea Region report, Interreg funded projects proved to be a good way to strengthen smart specialisation capacities through international or interregional cooperation and knowledge exchange (Leino & Hunter 2020). That is why BIOREGIO was asked to present the S3 Päijät-Häme model and the BIOREGIO contribution.
Päijät Häme and BIOREGIO Story
Bio-based circular economy or circular bioeconomy represents an intersection of bioeconomy and circular economy. Circular economy is one of the three smart specialization priorities mentioned in the Päijät-Häme Regional Development Strategy and Plan for 2018–2021, which acts as the region’s S3 strategy as well. Besides circular economy, the other priorities are design and sports and experiences (Figure 2). The related roadmaps are available (in Finnish) at the website of the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme.
The Päijät-Häme Roadmap Towards Circular Economy (launched in 2017), in other words, the regional circular economy strategy, defines objectives and actions for circular economy promotion and includes the vision: “Päijät-Häme – the successful resource efficient region in Finland” by 2030. One of the five thematic fields of the roadmap is bio circular economy (Figure 2). Thanks to BIOREGIO, (1) the bio-based circular economy was emphasized in the 2018 roadmap update and (2) concretized in the Päijät-Häme Bio-based Circular Economy Action Plan, approved in May 2019. In 2021, a second update of the Päijät-Häme Roadmap Towards Circular Economy has been done and is available at the Council’s website (in English).
The implementation of the four specific actions of the Action Plan is fulfilled by various projects. The key project, inspired by BIOREGIO, is BIOSYKLI that promotes bio-based circular economy through developing sustainable solutions and new businesses in the region, e.g. separate biowaste collection, biodegradable products from organic waste, bioplastics and promotion of biogenic carbon dioxide (bioCO2). BIOSYKLI is lead by LAB University of Applied Sciences.
Katerina Medkova works as an RDI specialist at LAB University of Applied Sciences and is the BIOREGIO Project and Communication Manager. BIOREGIO is an Interreg Europe funded project, which started in January 2017 and lasts until December 2021. LAB University of Applied Sciences acts as BIOREGIO lead partner.
European Commission. 2014. Smart Specialisation Strategies – Focusing on Regional Strengths in Innovation Activities. [Cited 10 May 2020]. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/content/smart-specialisation-strategies-%E2%80%93-focusing-regional-strengths-innovation-activities_nn
Leino, J & Hunter, A. 2020. Smart Specialisation in the Baltic Sea Region – Learning towards Macro-regional Specialisation. BSR S3 Ecosystem. Tampere. [Cited 10 May 2020]. Available at: http://www.baltic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Smart-specialisation-in-the-BSR-2020_final.pdf
Link 1. LAB University of Applied Sciences. 2021a. Baltic Sea Region Smart Specialisation Ecosystem. [Cited 18 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://lab.fi/fi/projekti/baltic-sea-region-smart-specialisation-ecosystem
Link 2. Interreg Europe. 2021a. Project Summary. BIOREGIO. [Cited 18 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/bioregio/
Link 3. Päijät-Hämeen Liitto. 2021. Päijät-Hämeen tiekartat 2030. [Cited 21 Apr 2021]. Available at: https://paijat-hame.fi/alykas-erikoistuminen/paijat-hameen-tiekartat/
Link 4. Interreg Europe. 2021b. Regional road map towards circular economy. Policy Learning Platform. [Cited 18 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/policylearning/good-practices/item/145/regional-road-map-towards-circular-economy/
Link 5. Interreg Europe. 2021c. Action Plans. BIOREGIO. [Cited 18 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/bioregio/action-plans/
Link 6. Päijät-Häme Roadmap towards Circular Economy. 2021. Päijät-Hämee Liitto. [Cited 21 Apr 2021]. Available at: https://paijat-hame.fi/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Roadmap_CE_eng.pdf
Link 7. LAB University of Applied Sciences. 2021b. BIOSYKLI. [Cited 18 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://lab.fi/en/project/biosykli-paijat-hameen-biokiertotalous
Picture 1. Singkham. 2018. Clear Light Bulb Planter on Gray Rock. Pexels. [Cited 18 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/clear-light-bulb-planter-on-gray-rock-1108572/
Picture 2. Rouhiainen, O. 2018. The link between the Päijät-Häme regional strategy, the roadmap towards a circular economy and the BIOREGIO action plan. BIOREGIO. [Cited 18 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/tx_tevprojects/library/file_1543827383.pdf
Video 1. LAMK Green. 2019. The Päijät-Häme Roadmap towards Circular Economy presented by BIOREGIO. BIOREGIO. Video. (YouTube). [Cited 18 Mar 2021]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8qQUgk1Mxk&list=PLar9YWNRDiueENvBIPGpgXPOphOXnT3Nq&index=4&t=1s