"BIO Centre: Bioindustries, Biorefineries, and Bioproducts" project consists in the creation of a new technological facility coming from an internationally emergent area: Biorefineries, Bioindustries and Bioproducts. It is a unique infrastructure for the development of "Smart Economy and Regions" and Circular Economy.

A new technological area for Portugal with potential for implementation, since lignocellulosic resources and hydrocarbons are widely available and can be transformed in new valuable products, thus promoting the development of new industries and companies in this area.

The main purpose of this project was to recover the abandoned facilities and transform it into several infrastructural units, functionally different but all essential for management, operation and promotion of the overall infrastructure in terms of research, support to the economic fabric and idea/project development (pre-incubation/incubation and enterprise acceleration).

This project was co-funded by NSRF in the "Mais Centro" Programme through the European Regional Development Fund, in a total of 2,685,150.00 €.

The BioREFINA-TER is a multidisciplinary R&D+i project within a network of entities, designed to implement advanced technologies in the conversion of wastes and residues from the agroforest value chains and marginal land, into advanced biofuels and bioproducts in order to replace fossil fuels.

The present project has managed to bring together an international knowledge network of 55 R&D organizations from 9 European countries. It started in 2011 with a Portuguese State fund, through IFAP, of 0.5 million euros. The first stage, allowed progression of the scientific and technical knowledge regarding the conversion of heathland biomass and forest residues to 2nd generation advanced biofuels (direct replacements for gasoline and diesel).

The BioREFINA-TER project aims to construct an industrial demonstration biorefinery unit, with a capacity of 25 million litters per year of 2nd generation biofuels, which do not compete with the food sector or the wood processing industry. The pilot territory will cover the cities of Arganil, Góis, Oliveira do Hospital and Tábua with an investment of 125 million euros for 4 municipalities. The industrial demonstration unit will be used as an example to be replicated throughout Portugal. This project also aims to create the first international region with full fossil energy autonomy, meaning that the natural resources existent will allow the generation of enough energy for the current economic activity.

This innovation project, which aims to rejuvenate and revitalize the socio-economic fabric of the region, has already been considered by the Portuguese State as a project of national interest and currently is the largest Portuguese ongoing project in the area of biorefineries/biodindustries. It is considered an alternative to the fight of large-scale forest fires and the mitigation of the environmental, economic and social impacts caused by this paradigm.

According to a recent survey made by BLC3, forest fires may represent a national economic loss of 800 million to 1 billion euros. Also, an annual saving of 4.500 to 6.000 million euros in petroleum import will allow Portugal to tackle two of the major problems currently facing - forest fires and petroleum dependency.

EU 2020 Strategy, announced in 2010, includes Bioeconomy as an important component with three major strategic priorities:

  • Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation;
  • Sustainable growth: promoting a more efficient, greener and more competitive economy; and
  • Inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.

Bioeconomy refers to the sustainable production and transformation of organic natural resources in a variety of bioproducts, food, biomolecules, other industrial products and energy. Includes all industries, sectors, management operations and any other way to use natural resources, including organic wastes.

Modern Bioeconomy is based on knowledge and innovation from life sciences and other technologies such as engineering, chemistry, computer science and nanotechnology. The development of bioeconomy allows the territory "re-industrialization" through its own resources and the primary sector revitalization.

At the enterprise-level, the Inner Region economic fabric needs technical and structural support, and also the introduction of innovative ideas, new technologies for resources transformation and valorisation: "value the Land". It also requires the settlement of young critical mass to counterattack the increasing desertification. The "Bioeconomy and Smart regions" project has been developed within these concepts, being nowadays working towards the development of "Bioeconomy and Smart Regions" in territories with specific economic development needs, low population density and in menace.

Lab-i-DUCA is a R&D project that appeared as a response to the "Agenda 21 Escolar" and follows the UE strategy for the promotion of smart growth. This project is being developed by BLC3 Association in consortium with the schools from the region "Beira Serra", since 2012.

BLC3, in association with several national and international institutions, has been developing work strategies and taking great efforts in the educational field for a sustainable juvenile development, in which this project is integrated, having the support of "CiênciaViva" to carry out to scientific literacy activities promotion for a year.

Thus, this project aims to promote/contribute to a sustainable development in its main areas (Economic, Social and Environmental), advocating: (1) the promotion of self-worth by stimulating physical/mental skills and well-being, as well as the stimulation and personal development of students, taking into account the local values; (2) the economic valorisation of endogenous resources, through human capital qualification; (3) promotion of an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit in young people, by encouraging creativity and other mechanisms; (4) the utilisation of information technologies and informatics in order to monitor/track the development of the aforementioned skills and assist in the development of tools and methods to evaluate them and stimulate the students.

Cheese factories effluents are a problem and an existing obstacle concerning all direct and indirect economic agents. The difficulties in treating and minimizing the environmental impacts of these effluents and, on the other hand, the significant importance of this activity for the region and the primary sector, are major reasons that makes these effluents a real issue.

After two years of extensive research performed by BLC3 staff, the project concerning the alternative use and valorisation of cheese factory effluents is currently in patent process. The environmental impact reduction and the production of new products will valorise the region. Besides, an improvement in the quality of life, in water and soil resources of the affected population will be a reality.

BLC3 managed to gather cheese producers from Oliveira do Hospital. The characterization performed to this sector allowed to conclude that the effluents volume from cheese factories in the region is high, approximately 18 million litters per year. At this stage, several cities and entities showed interest in these project developed by BLC3, being that Oliveira do Hospital is highlighted, for having supported and encouraged this project from the beginning.

This project results from the Young Farmers Club, created by the Centre for Technology and Innovation. Currently, it represents an investment of around 1.7 million euros and a cultivated area of approximately 60 ha of apples and S. Bartolomeu pears. This is the first professional structure of young farmers created in the region of Arganil, Oliveira do Hospital, Tábua and Seia.

Dried fruits have been highly valued in international markets as the search for this type of food has grown bigger and bigger worldwide. Following this trend, Fruit ECO-Drying Line project aims at innovating and valuing one of the richest fruits of the region: S. Bartolomeu pear, also known as Dried Pear, which almost disappeared from the market due to the lack of technological investment.

The R&TD project, co-financed by NSRF, with a global investment of € 603,623.10, foresees the creation of a pilot unit that automatically peels, dehydrates, presses and packs pears, in an entire circuit that extends from production to its entry in the marketing chain, in order to make this eco-efficient line a competitive process. Experiments performed in the pilot unit will later lead to the industrialization of this great regional wealth and to its reappearance in national and international markets. The main area of S. Bartolomeu pear production is located in the cities of Oliveira Hospital, Tábua, Seia, Viseu, Nelas, Gouveia, Mangualde and Santa Comba Dão.

The main goal of this R&TD project, financed by QREN/MaisCentro with a global investment of € 338,647.93 is the valorisation of a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese, through applied research for the construction of a prototype to manufacture single units of this soft cheese.

This project has two partners besides BLC3, University of Minho and Paulo Rogério’s company. Serra da Estrela PDO cheese is considered one of the best in the world. Nevertheless, it is at risk of extinction given the existent large market indiscipline and the inability to value this product to the consumer. In order to enhance the value chain for both milk producers and cheese factories that produce this protected cheese delicacy from the milk of "Bordaleira Serra da Estrela" sheep's, the project will include the following stages: (a) Creation of an analytical "kit" that distinguishes the cheese made with milk from "Bordaleira Serra da Estrela" sheep from those who use milk from Spain or other geographical regions; (b) Elimination of mould, that hinders the cheese conservation after 35 to 40 days of maturation; (c) Slicing the product into individual doses to respond to new consumption patterns, packing it at the peak of its quality, using a packaging that keeps the slice texture and allows its conservation, without moulds.

Mushrooms have a key role in ecosystems. Changes in natural resources and habitats relating to land use, pollution, fires, invasive species and climate, have potential to influence the structure and composition of mushrooms communities. In this way, the value of diversity and the mushrooms characteristics in their natural habitat are critical research topics in order to address the health, productivity and sustainability of ecosystems. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate the significance of native mushrooms diversity at a local, national and international scale to increase the mushroom reserves in Europe. Similarly, mushrooms with high-added value have a major representation in the emerging support of Bioindustries (e.g. biotechnology, biomedicine, bioenergy), while providing an attractive economic return and services to the ecosystem. Some of the high-added value mushrooms species gain importance not only because of its value to ecosystem functions, but also for their organoleptic and nutritional properties or due to the presence of bioactive compounds. In addition, some mushroom establish a symbiotic relationship with plant roots, called mycorrhizae, recognized as critical mediators in biological and ecological processes, which include nutrient cycling, plant health, soil protection and control of roots biological diseases.

The Centre of Applied Mycology (CAM) mission is to provide basic applied research regarding the diversity and characteristics of value-added mushrooms functional reserves, focusing on the decline of biodiversity, environmental threats and socio-economic problems that Mediterranean forests face nowadays. Besides, it seeks to obtain opportunities for sustainable and innovative business initiatives and support for decision-making policies. The CAM | BLC3 seeks also a new national and international research platform in order to understand and improve the identity of value-added mushrooms reserves to restore and protect native biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as to determine solutions of productive efficiency, thus ensuring environmental safety. The main objectives of CAM | BLC3 are: (1) report the diversity of value-added mushrooms in the natural territory throughout Europe; (2) develop biotechnological knowledge; (3) build the valorisation capacity of the characteristics and bio-diversity of native mushrooms species to support a sustainable planning management and industrial innovation; (4) build the capacity to support agroforestry and bioindustrial management at European level (e.g. products, production systems, and development of a set of quality and sustainability criteria indicators); (5) develop and promote networks of knowledge and awareness regarding the value of native biodiversity in Europe, in addition to actions related to conservation and sustainability.

Currently the CAM | BLC3 already cooperates with Portuguese, Spanish and Italian research centres.

The goal of this BLC3 biotech project is to explore the economic potential of valuables and co-products of forest ecosystems. The project has a partnership with the Centre for Functional Ecology of the University of Coimbra and Voz da Natureza - an incubated company and "spin-off" of BLC3, whose area of operation is scientific and technological research for the development of innovative products.

The project aims to develop in the central Inner Region of the country the production of native wild mushrooms and search the necessary conditions for truffles production. This project was co-financed by NSRF, with a global investment of € 465,554.18. The Value MicotecTruf contributes not only to the health of plant ecosystems, but also to the development of a high-added value economic activity.

The textile sector of Beira Serra region is an important employer and economic activity sector. Therefore, BLC3 is promoting a textile cluster for the valorisation of this sector, to develop new products and a connection with the Scientific and Technological System. This cluster consists of nine companies in the Central Region.

This union allows an increase in the capacity to generate added-value products with the existent production lines.

The S-MOBIL is an electric mobility project based on 5 cornerstones: "Smart", "Small", "Self", "Security" and "Sustainable". This project is in the pilot stage of development and the main objective it to create a new business model based in a low cost electric mobility, able to meet the challenges inherent to mobility systems.

The main aim of this project is to evaluate, demonstrate and disseminate the sustainable use of ash (from forest biomass residues combustion) combined with organic waste materials (sludge from the pulp and paper industry or compost) to regenerate degraded soils from mining areas in compliance with the EU "Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection". The project will reduce the impact of wastes from the pulp and paper industry on the environment while making better use of valuable resources according to the End-of-Waste criteria and contribute to mitigate greenhouse gases emission.
To show the potential of organic waste in combination with ash to regenerate soils the project will focus on in-situ application of soil amendments using a combination of two types of materials which present alkaline pH and high contents of Ca, Mg, Na, K and P (biomass ash) and high organic matter content (sludge or compost) on a pilot scale at three mining areas located at the Iberian Pyrite belt and to develop a decision support system for the sustainable management and large-scale use of biomass ash.

Coordinating Beneficiary: Universidade de Aveiro
Associated Beneficiares: Association BLC3 - Campus of Tecnology and Innovation, EDM - Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro, S.A., Instituto Politécnico de Beja, Portucel, S.A. and RAIZ - Instituto de Investigação da Floresta e Papel

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Truffles and their derived products are high-valued products with increasing highlight in the gourmet sector. Through the project Truflavours, the consortium Voz da Natureza, Associação BLC3 and Escola Superior Agrária aims at the development and application of new technologies that will further benefit the agroforest, catering and food industry sectors. Aiming at the creation of groundbreaking high-valued products, differentiated from the currently existent on the market, the Truflavours project aims at exploiting several business opportunities related to its two main products: ( i ) plants mycorrhized with Terfezia and Tuber; and ( ii ) truffle aroma for application by the food industry. This will be achieved by pursuing different research activities, namely at the truficulture and biotechnology level, the latter accomplished by production of natural truffle aroma in a bioreactor.

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Nowadays, increasing shelf life through the organic market, by significantly reducing preservatives in the context of the clean label market, as well as the growing demand for healthier foods, constitutes a major challenge for the food industry. Edible films and coatings have great potential to help achieve longer shelf times, while ensuring food safety and quality attributes. Market demands have led to the need for alternative compounds for application in coatings, which prevent food spoilage and ensure quality, as expected by the consumer. Compounds that make up coatings must meet certain requirements, such as having a natural origin, be renewable and edible, and should, if possible, endow coatings with bioactive and preservative properties.
The search for new compounds has opened up new opportunities for the incorporation of natural preservatives derived from plants, animals, bacteria, algae and fungi that act as antioxidant and antimicrobial agents. Mushrooms are a type of fungi which is used not only as a source of food, but also as a potential source of antimicrobials and antioxidants. Thus, wild mushrooms (forest co-products, without food value) and production mushrooms (using agroforestry substrates) present a major opportunity for the production of valued-added products.
Considering the latest developments, the main objective of this enterprise is to apply bioactive compounds of natural origin, through mushrooms that produce functional compounds, in edible coatings for the food market, in order to increase shelf life, assigning new properties, such as antioxidant, antimicrobial and enzymatic activity.

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The aim of this initiative is to use phytoestrogens to improve the interaction between the fungus and the plant, in order to create more favorable conditions for the establishment of symbiotic association between the two organisms. This will create added value in order to make sustainable areas of indigenous species exploited at long rotations, creating a short-term economic return through the production of edible mushrooms, enhancing and innovating their production. Portugal and its forest have the optimal conditions for the biological production of wild mushrooms, influenced by two types of climate: the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. There are, however, factors other than climate, which increase the complexity and diversity of the Portuguese forest, such as soil nature, proximity to the sea and altitude, contributing for the unique conditions of the proliferation and development of intense flavor.

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In response to consumer demands, products with natural herbal ingredients and their extracts are becoming more abundant in the market, especially in the form of snacks and beverages, which has led to increasing research and innovation in the field of plant ingredients. However, herbal ingredients and their extracts are mainly obtained from non-endogenous species (eg ginseng and hibiscus), neglecting Portuguese endogenous plant resources, such as traditional fruits (eg saplings or apple-sized, cherry-sized and quince-sized fruit) and herbs (rosemary and mint).
Scientific research has proved that Portuguese endogenous plant species are, indeed, rich in bioactive compounds, although its true value is still unappreciated.

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Innovation and an increasing knowledge about an important resource of the Portuguese forest supports its differentiated exploitation when compared to foreign producers, improving efficiency and competitiveness in forest management.
Portuguese resin stands out from the rest due to its superior quality and potential application in the fine chemistry industry. It is, however, an unexplored resource, as its influence and variability on resin gum quality is still largely underappreciated. The process involves the bio-transformation of its compounds (acids), mainly through isomerization, into abietic acid, and into dehydroabietic, through dehydrogenation: creation of new products with potential application in the fine chemical industry.

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Serra da Estrela cheese is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product, famous for its creamy consistency and unique sensory characteristics (one of the best mountain cheeses in the world and one of the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy). However, due to market pressures and lack of market adaptability, its value has fallen by 30% since 2000.
As a PDO product, Serra da Estrela cheese is limited to a specific geographical area, origin of raw materials and manufacture and marketing conditions, in order to keep its PDO status (promoting its unique attributes and boosting brand credibility). ). Guaranteeing the origin of raw materials is one of the greatest challenges involved in the production of Serra da Estrela cheese.
Despite the requirement for exclusive use of milk from Serra da Estrela and Churra Mondegueira sheep, its quality must still be ensured.
The ProDop project aims to develop rapid and cost-effective techniques and methodologies for the validation and assessment of milk quality.

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SuperPi intends to carry out the technological demonstration of a lignocellulosic biomass pyrolysis process, in a biorefinery context, based on a system of “multi-input” of simultaneous raw materials from bushes and agroforestry residues, for the production of “Bio-oil” for future cascade enhancement (advanced biofuels and other bioproducts with high value-added products) through technological optimization of an existing process in place at BLC3. It offers great potential for the development of economic activity in territories abandoned by the valorization of bushes, providing positive externalities in the mitigation of large rural / forest fires by reducing fuel loads.
The SuperPi project is co-financed by Fundo de Apoio à Inovação in the amount of 199.848,00 Euros.

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This project aims to provide a platform for the valorization of by-products from the agricultural, agri-food and forestry sector through the following approach methodology:

  1. Create an observatory of results of national and international projects, with the aim of finding new applications for by-products of the sectors (subsectors) mentioned above;
  2. Conduct a survey among the members of the National Rural Network (RRN) to identify and characterize the by-products, with residual or even negative economic value, resulting from their activities. This survey should also verify the existence of members that can add value to other members' by-products;
  3. Streamline periodic technology transfer sessions, that alert to new ways of valuing by-products. These sessions should transmit handling and care of the materials (by-products) in question, so that they do not lose their characteristics and recovery potential (volatile molecules, biochemical transformations, changes in humidity levels, etc.);
  4. Create a platform in a web environment that enables a meeting exchange between producers of by-products and its users. Thus, those who produce can refer to location, quantities and qualities, allowing the "new user" to easily find his "supplier";
  5. Assess the socio-economic impact of the project.

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The 3i Bioeconomia project aims to boost a network of skills for knowledge transfer and technological intensification in Bioeconomy established by its copromoters for the business sector, valorising the results of R&I according to the market. Furthermore, it focuses on promoting the transfer of technology and knowledge to the market in its various sectors and with a territorial coverage extended to the North, Centre and Alentejo regions, as well as the positive externalities resulting from its implementation, in particular with the creation of new companies, and consequently with the generation of more employment.

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The project "BioVino: Desarrollo de una Estrategia Transfronteriza para la valorización ecosostenible de biomasas residuales del sector vinícola y vitivinícola en Biorrefinerías Integrales para la producción de Biocombustibles y Bioproductos", is supported by the Spanish-Portuguese Interreg V A Cooperation Programme (POCTEP) with a total investment of 626,641.93 euros.
This project involves the participation of the Instituto Tecnológico Agrario de Castilla y León (ITACyL), Universidad de León (ULE), Centro Tecnológico de Investigación Multisectorial (CETIM), Association BLC3- Technology and Innovation Camopus (BLC3), the Centre for Biological Engineering (CEB) from the University of Minho and the Associate Laboratory CICECO from the University of Aveiro (UA).
The main objective of the project is to develop a biorefinery platform in the regions of Castilla y León, Galicia, Northern and Central Portugal from solid viticultural and wine industry waste.

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The project "Biological Resources: from Molecular Biology to Waste" intends to develop activities at the research and innovation level, based on 2 strategic blocks: (1) molecular biology and plant biotechnology and (2) waste generated by the Agroforestry and Agro-Food sectors. Technical and scientific activities will be developed, as well as the transfer and valorisation of knowledge, which will promote the development and exploitation of plant and mycological biological resources that are strategic in socio-economic terms and adapted to the edaphic-climatic conditions of the Northern region. In order to respond to the high competitiveness needs of the local agro-food and agro-forestry sector, the knowledge developed in the operation will be applied to the development of new technologies, products and services of interest to the market. In this way, the project also contributes to the promotion of entrepreneurship among the local population, supporting the creation or modernization of companies interested in commercializing the technologies or solutions developed.

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The project "Biological Resources: from Molecular Biology to Waste" intends to develop activities at the research and innovation level, based on 2 strategic blocks: (1) molecular biology and plant biotechnology and (2) waste generated by the Agroforestry and Agro-Food sectors. Technical and scientific activities will be developed, as well as the transfer and valorisation of knowledge, which will promote the development and exploitation of plant and mycological biological resources that are strategic in socio-economic terms and adapted to the edaphic-climatic conditions of the Northern region. In order to respond to the high competitiveness needs of the local agro-food and agro-forestry sector, the knowledge developed in the operation will be applied to the development of new technologies, products and services of interest to the market. In this way, the project also contributes to the promotion of entrepreneurship among the local population, supporting the creation or modernization of companies interested in commercializing the technologies or solutions developed.

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The project aims to create a Circular Economy Innovation Hub, an innovation ecosystem with a strong European reference in the area of Circular Economy that will focus on the development and transfer of knowledge and technology to the market. It's creation comes as a direct response to the Circular Economy challenges, and will utilize the expertise, knowledge, resources and capabilities that exist on the BLC3 Technology and Innovation Campus.

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The I-CERES operation aims to contribute to the strengthening of R&D&I, technological development and innovation capacities of Trás-os-Montes through a Structured R&D&I Project. I-CERES looks to develop advanced and innovative systems (Biotechnology and Digitalization) for the production of strategic plants and fungi in the region, contributing to leverage the agroforestry sector in low-density territories such as the Trás-os-Montes region.

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StartUp Zero is an innovation and entrepreneurship project focused on the transition towards circular economy. The project combines the acceleration of circular business models in order to create market value with the empowerment of consumers, starting with young people frequenting lower secondary education.

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This project aims to develop an innovative and sustainable solution for the transformation of fresh figs into compotes and jam. This solution is based on the extraction and incorporation of bioactive compounds from the fig row's own biowaste, contributing to the functionality of the food, and reducing the sugar content, while also conserving the nutritional quality and sensory aspects of figs. Thus, this project aims to enhance the enjoyment of the health benefits of figs, by the consumers, while contributing to the Circular Economy.

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BeirInov aims to ensure sustainability in the value chain of smoked and cooked sausage products from the Serra da Estrela Region. This combines two aspects of sustainability: in the product (elimination of chemical preservatives) and in the packaging (100% recyclable film).

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The solution presented by the FLUI project aims at successfully obtaining innovative and disruptive equipment with the solutions present in the market (TRL6), for the production of biofunctional flexible films with flexibility, mono and multilayer, intended for the production of food packaging. The equipment will allow the extrusion of the biodegradable polymer of biological origin in parallel for the production of multilayer films and simultaneous integration of bioactive extracts. The matrix of the obtained film will be composed of a biodegradable bioplastic (PLA) obtained from waste, with biofunctionality achieved by the incorporation of bioactive extracts from agro-industrial waste.

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The Biomass4Synthons project aims to achieve scientific excellence at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon (Portugal), Institute of Organic Chemistry with Phytochemistry Centre Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Bulgaria), Spartax Chemicals (Portugal) and Association BLC3 - Technology and Innovation Campus (Portugal), based on 4 objectives:

  1. To contribute to the access to new research avenues and to accelerate the discovery of new scaffolds for specific diseases;
  2. To motivate, stimulate and inspire younger researchers from FFUL and IOCCP-BAS through training and mentoring actions that further influence non-academic partners and the research community. The project relies on the skills and knowledge of the partner organisations in the fields of entrepreneurship, advanced organic synthetic methodologies, green chemistry, photoactivation, electron transfer processes, design of flow reactor devices and automation.
  3. To involve the non-academic partners SPARTAX CHEM (start-up company) and the BLC3 Association in the dissemination of scientific achievements and training expertise in various regions of Portugal and Bulgaria. Furthermore, a scientific and innovative improvement at regional and national level through the dissemination and communication of results in meetings, involving the regional and national R&D communities, taking advantage of the extensive experience of the partner institutions during public engagements. It is intended to strengthen public confidence through involvement activities and dissemination of real, clear and simple information on the subject of the project.
  4. An increased participation in international collaborative projects in the design of Biomass4Synthons through the integration of new and innovative tools of organic synthetic methodologies. This action is expected to contribute to the strategic objective of increasing the participation of FFUL and IOCCP-BAS researchers in European projects by 2023, with a 2.5-fold gain in the number of project proposals funded by 2023. Supported by the experience and connections of our partner institutions, networking events will be organised with the participation of project members, the scientific community and invited industry delegates. These actions are expected to promote a 30% increase in the total number of R&D and/or collaboration contracts between FFUL and IOCCP-BAS and industrial companies and SME start-ups.

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The MicoBioExtract consortium aims to develop research and development activities within the circular economy and biotechnology, through the valorisation of by-products and waste from mushroom production in a closed system for the production of new food ingredients and coatings.

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The BENEFIT-Med project (Boosting technologies of orphan legumes towards resilient farming systems in the Greater Mediterranean Region: from bench to open field) has the overall objective of developing new technologies and farming practices to promote sustainable agricultural production in the Mediterranean region in a context of climate change. The area of action of this project will be in Seed Technology, where the focus is on developing new protocols for "biopriming" (bacterial inoculants) applied to underutilized and neglected legumes (also known as "orphan legumes") to increase seed vigor and crop productivity resulting from this practice.

The European P2P finBio project will help improve access to finance for European SMEs in the bioeconomy sector.
The consortium is composed of five European innovation support organisations working across the bioeconomy value chain, which recognise the need for cooperation, to improve the process of assisting SMEs, start-ups and spin-outs with access to finance. This consortium will work closely together to develop a best practice guide and national and European funding instruments.
The project will enable institutions supporting innovation and clusters in regions across Europe to improve mechanisms and methodologies to help SMEs obtain finance as a means of increasing competitiveness, growth and employment in Europe.

Inspiration guide in financing of innovation in agrifood & bioeconomy

The project aims to produce edible mushrooms, highly appreciated, in an ex-situ-controlled environment, which is extremely challenging and has only been achieved for a very small number of species, along with mycotourism and mycological education actions. Additionally, recycling of forest/land clearing material for the production of mushroom growth substrates will be applied as a sustainable approach to mimic the original biomass while avoiding devastating fires that can decimate biodiversity. In order to conserve this unique heritage, the creation of a mushroom germplasm bank of the Montesinho Natural Park is also proposed. An extensive nutritional/chemical/biological characterization will be carried out to guarantee the quality of the species produced and the preservation of their original characteristics. The development of a quality and safety seal, "Safe2Taste", which guarantees the traceability of the entire production chain, will promote consumer confidence/loyalty in these products. To this end, a restaurant chain will include the mushrooms produced in its menu and display the seal as a guarantee of their origin, quality and safety. As an additional dissemination channel, this will be linked to a digital platform of easy access to the consumer.

The project F4F - Forest For Future aims the valorisation of the forest sector in central region and has as main objective the demonstration and transfer of technologies and solutions that improve the added value in the forest sector in central region, with particular emphasis in the pine chain. It covers the various stages of the chain, from the plants to the final products, based on four fundamental pillars: "Plants and Nurseries", "Forest Management", "Industry" and "Multi-purpose Forest".

Special Strategic Pilot Programme that aims at the implementation and consolidation of a Regional Ecosystem for Intelligent Innovation that, in a networking context, enhances the valorisation and transfer of knowledge and R&D+I results to the regional economy, duly aligned with the RIS 3 Centro, with a view to transforming innovative ideas into business initiatives, thus including activities of diverse spectrum.

The WinBio project aims to enhance the economic valorisation of R&D results and strengthen the transfer of scientific and technological knowledge to the business sector of the Interior Region for the promotion of a Circular and Sustainable Bioeconomy. Its main goal is to disseminate and implement the concept of Bioeconomy among the business sector of the Interior Region, characterized by low population density, reducing the level of investment and, simultaneously, creating a network of skills that will enhance the development of innovative solutions to leverage the development of sustainable circular bioeconomy industries, with high technological value and attracting highly qualified human resources. WinBio will focus on the economic valorisation of ongoing Bioeconomy-based projects and initiatives within the consortium entities in 4 major technological areas: endogenous biological resources and the agri-food, forestry and aquatic sectors.

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The "Jump over to Business Startup (JOBS)" project developed by RIERC aims to empower start-ups and entrepreneurs with the skills and contacts needed to accelerate their market entry, building on the resources and networks accessible through its members.

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