Brazil is known as a country with great potential for production of bio-products from biomass. The country is very conveniently located in a tropical zone, has a lot of sunlight, abundant rainfall, a great size of rich flora and a large supply of available land. This makes Brazil very suitable for businesses. Agriculture in a sustainable manner, Brazil has 90 million hectares of agricultural land, but also about 210 million hectares of land, more or less is in a degraded state. Which can be used for regeneration after the production of food and crops for bio-industry.
In the Netherlands the Biobased Economy takes an important place in the circular economy and is an important and common goal for government, industry and knowledge institutions. Biobased Economy offers new opportunities for business and has the potential to become one of the priorities of the national economy. Since the Netherlands is strong in chemistry, agro-food and logistics, the Biobased Economy is one of the ways in which the country can achieve “green” growth. The Biobased Economy is broadly accepted in the Netherlands for the past 10 years. The Netherlands has agro-food and chemical industries that can compete with the best of the world. It is also the next-to-largest exporter of agricultural and food products in the world.
Global emerging trends:
1. Internationalization of higher education appears to be moving into a new stage;
2. Shift in international student mobility patterns;
3. The way innovation is currently done requires a new research methodology that enables co-creation based on shared-values and evaluation in real-world settings;
4. Wicked problems (grand challenges) call for diverse types of knowledge, resources, participation and collaboration on a global scale.
Nowadays more and more knowledge institutions, government agencies and enterprises are working together to develop and implement innovations. This is partly due to social and economic changes, globalization, and improved market conditions. New technologies require cooperating and coordinating across geographical distances. Furthermore, the development costs of new products and services are lower, risks are shared and the time-to-market is reduced.
As a major agricultural producer in Brazil, the state of Minas Gerais has a great potential in the development of Biobased Economy, which has become a strategic area for the development of the state. Minas Gerais is the third largest Brazilian economy and the second largest state in exports. In 2013, the state produced a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$ 200 billion and the total exports reached US$33.4billion.
Biobased Battle 2015
Living Labs are bilateral triple helix initiatives in which higher education institutions, government organisations and companies work together in human capital development, applied research and knowledge dissemination & valorisation. It connects enterprises, public organizations and governments with higher education institutions through students, professors and researchers who apply their expertise in a specific sector to real-life research challenges.
The Living Lab Biobased Brazil is targeting an industrial sector that is of strategic importance in both Brazil and the Netherlands. It stimulates innovation by enabling and developing competencies of people through the application of practical assignments by students, lecturers, researchers and professionals.
The purpose of the Living Lab Biobased Brazil is to contribute to the national agendas on Biobased Economy both in Brazil and the Netherlands. Improving the employability of the labor force and bringing innovation to this sector are major activities on the agenda’s. It does so by setting-up the triple helix collaboration and exchanging practices and experiences on practice-oriented education, applied research and labor market relevance within and between the two countries.
The Living Lab Biobased Brazil offers different kind of products and services, like internships and graduation assignments, a developing environment (for prototypes and experiments), trainings, seminars, master classes and (Massive) Open Online Courses (MOOC) to contribute to the human capital agenda and innovative developments within the Biobased Economy sector in both countries.
Within the Living Lab Biobased Brazil a ‘growing by showing by doing’ approach is applied. It starts with internships and/or graduation assignments for Dutch and Brazilians students at company level or at an university. These serve as showcases for practical and applied research solutions while creating understanding and bringing universities and companies from both countries in contact with each other.
The outcomes of these student research assignments serve as starting point for broader applied research projects. Finally, the results of the applied research projects are shared with the wider education and business community in both countries. This approach will create more interest and new companies and public partners are expected to join the Living Lab Biobased Brazil.
The education and research agenda of the Living Lab Biobased Brazil is the result of consultations with various stakeholders consisting of representatives of the triple helix partners originating from both countries. At present four (research) themes are selected: Water Technology, Agro & Food, Green Chemistry and Sustainable Environment.
In the end the Living Lab should develop itself into an incubator creating opportunities for international cooperation between Brazil and The Netherlands targeting the Biobased Economy sector.