Publish Date: 17.04.2023

Category: News from the University

Based at the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, a new Horizon Europe coordination and support project is underway to develop a working framework for introducing circular small-scale bio-based solutions in rural areas. Assoc. Prof. Dr Luka Juvančič, head of the project at the Biotechnical Faculty in the Chair for Agrarian Economics, Policy Law of the Animal Science Department, explains: “The aim of the BioRural project is to address economic, demographic and climate challenges for the most remote rural communities, through the presentation of circular technological and organisational solutions in various fields of bioeconomy (agricultural and food systems, the forest-wood chain, water systems, bioenergy, biomaterials).” He pointed out that European rural areas should not just succumb to the role of a source of raw materials for the bioeconomy, but should strengthen local value chains that will contribute to increased income and new rural employment. Such an approach, with the local closing of material and energy gaps, also makes sense from the aspect of environmental sustainability and energy sovereignty. The transition to a circular bioeconomy effectively addresses the current challenges for rural people, such as the risk of poverty, limited access to basic services and infrastructure and a lower level of education compared to other areas in the EU, plus a lower financial status. The project involves the cooperation of 19 partners from 14 different countries, with the Slovenian contingent made up of Biotechnical Faculty researchers – in addition to Prof. Dr Luka Juvančič there is Prof. Dr Primož Oven, from the Chair of the Chemistry of Wood and Other Lignocellulosic Materials in the Wood Science and Technology Department, Asst. Prof. Dr Gasan Ilja Osojnik Črnivec, from the Chair of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, Department of Food Science, and Asst. Prof. Dr Sabina Berne from the Chair of Genetics, Biotechnology, Statistics and Plant Breeding in the Agronomy Department – and additionally as an example of good practices the company Algen d.o.o, which is developing technological solutions for treating wastewater, recycling food and obtaining raw materials for products with high value added, such as biostimulants, biopesticides and animal feed.

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