Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) and Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) Team up for synergy of actions

BBI JU and SPIRE are demonstrating the added-value of the two initiatives at three levels

In 2012, the two public-private partnerships (in the developing phase), prepared a ‘joint narrative and docking points’1 document to identify docking points between the two PPPs for ensuring mutual support for synergy and complementarity.

Since 2012, both PPPs have been formed and are implementing their respective programmes in the framework of Horizon 2020. Synergies and complementarities between the two PPPs have been developed and added-value of cooperation between the initiatives is being demonstrated.

This document serves as a follow-up of the ‘joint narrative and docking points’ and has the objective to assess the added-value generated by having the two initiatives working in parallel and to specify the main achievements of the cooperation.

I. Added-value of cooperation between BBI JU and SPIRE

Topics and projects of BBI JU and SPIRE have distinct characteristics. Nonetheless, there are some areas of communality where the two PPPs meet. With a concerted coordination effort and setting boundaries to avoid overlap, BBI JU and SPIRE are demonstrating the added-value of the two initiatives at three levels:

  1. at the strategic level: by incorporating synergy and complementarity in each other’s topics for the respective calls, where possible and subject to the agreement of the European Commission;
  2. at the implementation level: by connecting related funded projects in the separate calls with each other, across the boundaries of the PPPs;
  3. at the communication and networking level: by developing common and complementary messages to maximise the impacts, benefitting the whole industrial community.

II. The strategic level: topics

Main achievement: strategic alignment in work plans, adding complementarity and striving for synergy between topics. This is the case in all strategic orientations, being feedstock, processing, products and creating the ‘environment’ for successful industries, both existing and emerging. Where relevant, BBI JU refers topics in its annual work plan to topics in the SPIRE multi-annual work programme. Double funding will be avoided.

  • In ‘feedstock’, BBI JU focuses on biomass in all sorts of form and SPIRE addresses any feedstock. The two programmes pay particular attention to CO2 so that they complement each other:- BBI JU focusses on CO2 from bio-based origin; and when addressing CO2 from any other source, it aims at converting the latter by applying only biotech processes;- SPIRE addresses CO2 from all sources to develop resource- and energy-efficient conversion processes and products using any adequate technology.
  • In ‘processing’, there are identical focus areas between the two PPPs: pre-treatment, conversion, downstream processing and system modelling. Among SPIRE’s broad aims is improving or creating novel processing technologies, part of them can be applied within BBI JU’s aim to improve or create new novel bio-based value chains.
  • In ‘products’, BBI JU’s and SPIRE ́s focus on high added-value products could lead to mutual benefit in maximising impact from bio-resources.
  • In ‘creating a coherent and stimulating environment’ for existing and emerging industries in Europe, both PPPs include topics for ‘coordination and support actions’ (CSAs) to achieve this goal. These actions present an enormous opportunity for complementarity and synergy because they aim at at supporting value chains through knowledge development and networking.

III. The implementation level: granted projects

With regard to SPIRE, BBI JU can categorise its granted projects in two types:

  1. they are ‘purily’ Bio-based industries focused;
  2. they offer opportunities for complementarity and synergy with SPIRE granted projects.

SPIRE can make a similar classification of its granted projects:

  1. SPIRE specific projects
  2. SPIRE, but of complementarity and synergy with BBI JU granted projects.

Granted projects in either programme that do complement projects in the other, need to be linked in the implementation phase to realise the potential synergy during the implementation and beyond (when the grant is finished). How to achieve this, depends on the specific projects.

The monitoring and guiding the progress of granted projects towards the specified impacts, offer also areas for complementarity. Among others, sharing definition and tracking of ‘key performance indicators’ can help achieve this goal, where possible and subject to the definition of the European Commission.

IV. The communication and networking level: support and share

The two PPPs develop common key messages for specific audiences focusing on the added-value of complementing projects and topics, demonstrating that the coordination between the two initiatives has impacts.

In addition, they identify opportunities to participate in each other’s networking opportunities for common stakeholders.

This generates several benefits such as: applicants to the two initiatives are better informed about opportunities offered by these funding instruments and their differences and complementarities; information exchange, cooperation and networking among BBI JU and SPIRE communities (in particular between chemical sector and sectors developing bio-based processes). Definitively, the commitment and responsibility of BBI JU and SPIRE to promote synergies has been demonstrated to the public and other stakeholders.

V. Coordination

Seeking complementarity and synergy between the two PPPs as described above, is coordinated by a Joint Working Group, in operation since 2016.

Complementarities and synergies between SPIRE and BBI JU, some examples:

1. Strategic level:

BBI JU topics referring to SPIRE topics, such as topics BBI 2016.D1, BBI 2016.D5 and BBI 2016.D6 which refer to the topic SPIRE 03-2016 and set out the need to seek complementarities.

Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) topics represent a clear example of complementarity and synergy of the two initatives at strategic level, for example:

  • Regulatory barriers topics

BBI-2015-S1 Standards and Regulations: topic dedicated to boost the use of instruments, in particular common standards, reducing barriers to trade in bio-based products among value chains and across the EU. This relates to SPIRE-12-2017 topic: Assessment of standardisation needs and ways to overcome regulatory bottlenecks in the process industry covering the needs of the different industrial sectors representing big and small companies within the process industry, by identifying and proposing solutions along the value chain.

  • Dissemination and communication topics

BBI-2015-S2 Communication and awareness: topic dedicated to enhancing the awareness of the broad public on bio-based products and applications and their benefits for the public acceptance and the success of a bioeconomy. This relates to the SPIRE-11-2017 topic: Support for the enhancement of the impact of SPIRE PPP projects focused on new ways of engaging with the broader process community, and encouraging engagement with other networks in the process industry (e.g. regional networks).

Topics complementarity: The BBI JU annual work plans 2017, 2018, mention in their introduction: ‘Complementarities with other parts of Horizon 2020 such as Societal Challenge 2, the biotechnology area of the Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT) and SPIRE are to be encouraged’. This is also expected in forthcoming annual work plans.

2. Implementation level:

BBI JU and SPIRE granted projects offer ample opportunities for linking implementation steps and results by sharing information on the projects’ results (e.g. progress and impact information of funded projects in related areas, projects developing toolkits and ICT opportunities for sustainability assessment when feasible).

3. Communication and networking level:

Exchange invitations for the respective events to promote projects, such as:

  • the BBI JU and SPIRE Info Days and brokerage events in 2016, 2017 and 2018;
  • the BBI JU Stakeholder Forum in 2017;
  • SPIRE Impact workshop in 2017;
  • SPIRE stakeholders workshop – SPIRE 2050 Vision, 2018;
  • Access their respective communication channels for promotional purposes.


1 SPIRE PPP & BIO PPP: Joint Narrative & Docking Points, 2012-06-01


BBI JU, press release, 2018-10-02.


Bio-based Industries (BBI) Joint Undertaking
Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC)
SPIRE Sustainable Process Industry through Resources and Energy Efficiency