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Exploring the BIOBEC Project: An Interview with Katri Rusanen from the University of Eastern Finland

By November 14, 2023News

“We hope that the BIObec project, in addition to 6 new Centres, also can bring about more cross-border cooperation, enhancing the exchange of students and ideas for strengthening EU cooperation and inspiration to bring new jobs and prosperity”.

  • What are your expectations from the BIOBEC project?

In the BIOBEC project, we in the University of Eastern Finland wanted to increase collaboration between education, industry and research within our region in the field of forest-based bioeconomy. Also, we thought that we could enhance collaboration and create new connections within our BIOBEC partner network. Overall, BIOBEC project would be an interesting journey to delve into the educational aspects of bio-based economy within Europe.

  • What is the main role of the University of Eastern Finland in BIOBEC?

Our main role in the University of Eastern Finland as a project partner was to develop the Finnish BBEC. In addition, another important role for us was to be the task leader in work package two and especially plan and organise the business model related tasks and deliverables. In the project we also have been taking part in the other work packages and tasks and developed our BBEC forward accordingly.

  • Can you talk a bit more about the Finnish BBEC?

The Finnish BBEC operates as an online platform and brings together educational, research and industrial actors within the field of forest-based bioeconomy in the North Karelia region. Our goal has been to increase collaboration between these organisations so that each actor benefits from it. This means for instance that students gain thesis topics and training opportunities from local companies and international students become more involved in the local area and companies, researchers gain new research topics and companies gain networking possibilities and develop their business. Altogether in the planning phase we have had eight key actors involved in the BBEC including three research organisations, one university, one university of applied sciences, one vocational school, one business incubator and one governmental organisation. Also, regional actors and companies have been involved in the project activities in planning the BBEC. So far University of Eastern Finland has been coordinating the BBEC but in the future it should operate as an individual entity.

  • Why do you think such a project as BIOBEC is necessary and how do you think it could benefit society as a whole?

In the Finnish BBEC we have seen that actors tend to cooperate with others case by case and there is no systematic collaboration between various actors. Our key actors share same vision that we should tackle global challenges together and only together we have synergy to do that. In terms of education, BIOBEC project makes the needs and demands for bio-based education visible within European countries and also the actors who are providing it. Such projects like BIOBEC increase knowledge about bioeconomy to various stakeholders and enhance collaboration. Overall, collaboration is key in today’s world and in BIOBEC we have been able to bring people together and create new knowledge networks.

  • What do you think will be the main outcomes of the BIOBEC project?

One of the main outcomes of the BIOBEC project is the creation of the six regional BBECs. Hopefully in the future, more BBECs will emerge, and the ones developed in the project are flourishing. Thus, another important outcome of the project has been the establishment of the BIOBEC network. We have had such a talented bunch of actors involved in the project who share the same interest towards developing sustainable bioeconomy.  

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