The transition to a sustainable circular biobased economy depends on both, new technological solutions and experts to implement it in industrial practice. Therefore, education plays an important role in turning the bioeconomy into reality. In the BIG-Cluster region of Flanders, the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia, various and diverse technical, academic and post-academic training activities are running on a regional level. The region covered by BIG-Cluster has an excellent academic track record in all underlying fields needed for bioeconomy development, including biotechnology, fermentation technology, microbiology, bio-process engineering, biocatalysts, sustainable design, etc. The specific combinations of these disciplines, coupled with entrepreneurship are required to implement a sustainable bioeconomy. In order to foster this research field, joint efforts of various experts are strongly needed, both for education as well as for stimulating entrepreneurship. Therefore, BIG-Cluster aims at building a coordinated education and training initiative with focus on academic education in a cross-border approach with partners from the BIG-Cluster region – the Cross-border BioEconomy Education CROSSBEE.

To achieve a cross-border bioeconomy education, the BIG-Cluster Education working group initiated two tools within the scoping phase of this project:
  • Global Biobased Businessplan Competition (G-BiB) and
  • Joint Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
  • The G-BiB competition will focus on the development of business plans for biorenewable chemicals, materials and fuels. It will train master and doctoral/PhD students in transferring learning content into practical application, in entrepreneurship and working in interdisciplinary teams. The students will experience entrepreneurship and will have the opportunity to create a start-up in bioeconomy in an early stage of their career.

    MOOCs provide an online teaching platform on different aspects of bioeconomy available to an almost unlimited number of students in a flexible way. The BioBased Products MOOC of CROSSBEE will target on higher education levels with focus on biobased products and processes. The MOOC adds value to academic education by providing educational content beyond a university’s specific competence profile, thus gaining high visibility, and by reaching a larger number of students, both nationally and internationally.
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