Hosted by the University of Milan- Bicocca

Towards a Bio-Based economy: Science, Innovation, Economics and Education

The University of Milan- Bicocca hosted the 2nd International summer school on Bio-Based Economy with the main objective of providing a broad over-view of ‘Bioeconomy’ by combining science, innovation and economics. The summer school started off with new faces, smiles and warm greetings.  It was a great opportunity for enthusiastic students from different countries and diverse backgrounds to participate in a workshop focused on developing an economy based on sustainable feedstock and zero carbon emission.

The topics delivered by the professors were diverse, ranging from raw materials involved in bio-based production to the importance of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. Also, a significant number of lectures were given by experts in the fields of market study, Bioeconomy in Europe, environmental life cycle assessment, the importance of RRI, legal issues in waste treatment, psychological perspectives towards environmental resources and public perception. An inspiring presentation titled ‘From the University to the startup world: Opportunities and threats for BioInnoTech’ provided us an insight into the possibilities and challenges related to taking our lab research into the outside world.

SS Bicocca_group

Apart from the plethora of knowledge gained, this summer school was also a perfect platform for students and professors to network, interact and share new ideas with one another, especially during lunch breaks, dinners and the poster session. The visit to Sabiofuels was fascinating as we had the chance to learn and discuss with members of the company about the strategic vision and development plans for a sustainable economy. The tour of their biodiesel plant provided a detailed practical knowledge of various processes involved in converting a sustainable feedstock (mainly waste cooking oil) into a valuable product. The best part of this summer school was the teamwork assignment, which was interesting and mind-boggling. Each team had to come up with an idea to create a value added product from a bio-resource. This was a wonderful opportunity to get to know our fellow team mates. The students were divided on the basis of their diverse backgrounds, so we collaborated with economists, lawyers, scientists and engineers to create a particular bio-based product. The summer school was an excellent learning experience about the fascinating and emerging field of the Bioeconomy.

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