february, 2020

04feb19:0021:00SmartPilots Final Event: Boost European bio-economy innovation deployment by smart interregional cooperation19:00 - 21:00 Event Type:Dinner Debate in cooperation with SmartPilots


(Tuesday) 19:00 - 21:00


Members' Salon, European Parliament, Brussels

Event Details

SmartPilots, an INTERREG Europe project, has brought together the six leading European Shared Pilot Facilities in the field of bio-economy and their regional authorities with the aim to improve (regional) policies in support of shared pilot facilities. Based on the thorough analysis of the different business models of the facilities involved, and the support measures offered (best practices) or not (gaps) by their respective regional authorities,  the consortium will present a number of proposed and implemented policy recommendations to encourage interregional collaboration in support of impactful and more efficient bioeconomy piloting.

The recommendations and improved regional policies focus on:

  • Optimizing support for shared pilot facilities and their users
  • Facilitating interregional cooperation


               Bio-economy is an important global tool that offers significant opportunities for sustainable economic growth in Europe. Shared pilot facilities allow industry to bring bioeconomy innovations from the laboratory into industrial practice. They are open to all companies and research institutes as shared investments in a wide range of innovative, state-of-the-art equipment and expertise. Early stage collaboration with such facilities substantially lowers the financial risk for the innovating company and speeds up the commercialization of their new product or process.

               Typically, large-scale innovation infrastructures have very high initial cost and then require further investment and maintenance costs. Therefore, supporting innovation policies on the regional, as well as the European level, is of utmost importance to safeguard the long-term existence of these innovation accelerators.

Download here the event Agenda.


Dinner Debate in cooperation with SmartPilots, an INTERREG Europe projectBio Base Europe Pilot Plant and the Department for Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flanders Region (Belgium) Bioprocess Pilot Facility and The Province of South-Holland (The Netherlands) VTT Bioruukki (Finland) Innovhub, Lombardy Region (Italy)


Victor Negrescu, MEP

Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP

Speakers for this event

  • Decraemer, Paul

    Decraemer, Paul

    Chief Financial Officer, Inbiose

    Paul joined Inbiose as CFO shortly after the foundation of the company. He is closely involved in the set-up of corporate partnerships and fundraising processes. Paul has a background of more than 20 year in investing in innovative European companies with technology as competitive advantage. He was one of the first European venture capitalists actively investing in green and sustainable technology companies.

    Chief Financial Officer, Inbiose

  • Molders, Katrien

    Molders, Katrien

    Coordinator SmartPilots Project and Communication Manager Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Belgium

    Katrien Molders is Communication Manager at the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (Ghent, Belgium), a pilot facility for process development, scale-up and custom manufacturing of biobased products and processes. She takes care of all communication related issues for BBEPP and is currently also coordinating the Pilots4U and SmartPilots projects. Being convinced that a shift to a sustainable bio-based economy will attract sustainable investments, create sustainable jobs and address the societal challenges Europe is facing, Mrs. Molders actively engages in communicating the role and the impact of pilot facilities in enabling such a transition by i.a. reaching out to regional, national and European policy makers as well as EU citizens. Katrien Molders received a Master of Science degree in BioSciences at Ghent University. After working for a few years as a commercial profile in private companies, she understood her true passion is all about supporting and communicating the implementation of scientific innovations for the creation of a more sustainable society. Prior to her position at BBEPP, she worked for the Institute for Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries (now called International Plant Biotechnology Outreach), The European Plant Science Organisation and the MELISSA project run by the European Space Agency.

    Coordinator SmartPilots Project and Communication Manager Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Belgium

  • Nikolova, Iskra

    Nikolova, Iskra

    Policy Officer, Province of South-Holland, The Netherlands

    The province of Zuid-Holland operates on behalf of the community of Zuid-Holland. In our society there are social challenges which run parallel to cross-border obstacles and chances. Our extensive international networks, expertise of lobby and knowledge of European subsidies contribute to reaching common goals. Within the complex European system, we form alliances between European and Zuid-Holland partners in order to support them in solving mutual challenges. As partner of SmartPilots, PZH implemented a Smart Specialization action to improve the PZH innovation ecosystem towards interregional cooperation around existing pilot infrastructure bundling knowledge for scale up. SmartsPilots provided insight in direct and indirect support mechanisms for sustainable business modelling for infrastructure investment in biobased pilot a demonstration plants and its operationalization, in line with smart specialization strategies of the partner regions, not to duplicate existing infrastructures but to cooperate. Investments and regional innovation subsidies should also be complemented with financial mechanisms (equity,) to de-risk industrial deployment. Pilot plants should provide easier and affordable access to biobased SMEs for their scale up: effective direct and indirect support to pilot facilities are fee-based and grant mechanisms such as clusters, vouchers (for pilot projects), also open for to actors of other regions.

    Policy Officer, Province of South-Holland, The Netherlands

  • Reppel, Katja

    Reppel, Katja

    Deputy Head of Unit ‘Smart and Sustainable Growth’, DG REGIO, European Commission

    Deputy Head of the Unit in charge of the competence centre for smart and sustainable growth of the European Commission's Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy. Senior EU policy expert with over 20 years of experience in different European and national organisations. Main fields of expertise: research, innovation, SME competitiveness, digital economy, education policy, smart specialisation, gender equality, State aid and synergies between different EU funding instruments related to smart growth.

    Deputy Head of Unit ‘Smart and Sustainable Growth’, DG REGIO, European Commission

  • Sederel, Willem

    Sederel, Willem

    Board Member Biobased Delta and Chair Biobased Circular Business Platform

    Willem Sederel is a chemical engineer and polymer scientist from the University of Technology Twente in Enschede (NL). He completed his education cum laude and did a post doc on biomedical materials at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1977 he started his industrial career with Shell in Amsterdam, and then moved to General Electric where he fulfilled global leadership roles in process, product and application development and marketing. His last role before retiring from his 36 year career in Industry was global innovation leader with SABIC. Willem joined the Biobased Delta in 2013 as director and chairman. Since April 2016 he is responsible for the international activities within the Board. Willem is also the founding father of the Green Chemistry Campus in Bergen op Zoom that opened in September 2011 as a Biobased Incubator for SME. From 2015-2017 he was the chairman of the Biorenewables Business Platform in the Netherlands. He is currently member of the Advisory Board of Biorizon (NL) and CLIB (D)

    Board Member Biobased Delta and Chair Biobased Circular Business Platform

  • Siweris, Erwin

    Siweris, Erwin

    Interreg Europe Programme Director

    Erwin is responsible for the overall programme management and relation to the programme governance institutions (the Partner States, the Hauts-de-France Region as Managing Authority, the European Commission etc.). He is also in charge of managing the secretariat's team of 31 members. He has experience in managing finances for the transnational programmes INTERREG IIC and IIIB Baltic Sea Region in Rostock, Germany; and two years with the Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany, advising SMEs about EU funding schemes. Erwin was Deputy Programme Manager in the INTERREG IIIC West and the INTERREG IVC Programme. He holds a diploma in Political Economics and Banking and has worked as a consultant in political economics.

    Interreg Europe Programme Director

  • Soetaert, Wim

    Soetaert, Wim

    CEO Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

    Prof. Wim Soetaert holds a degree in chemical and biochemical engineering and did a PhD in bioengineering at Ghent University. Prof. Wim Soetaert currently heads the Centre of Expertise for Industrial Biotechnology and Biocatalysis (InBio.be) at Ghent University, Faculty of BioScience Engineering. InBio is active in the areas of industrial biotechnology, biocatalysis, fermentation science and engineering and counts about 40 people. www.inbio.be He is the founder and chairman of Ghent Bio-Economy Valley, a public private partnership to promote the development of biobased activities in the Ghent area in Belgium. Since its creation in 2005, Ghent Bio-Energy Valley has quickly grown into one of the main growth centers for the biobased economy in Europe, with over 500 Million euros already invested in the port of Ghent. www.gbev.org Prof. Wim Soetaert is also the director of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, an open innovation Pilot Plant for biobased products and processes based in Ghent. Within the framework of an Interreg project, over 21 Million euros have been invested in Bio Base Europe sofar. www.bbeu.org Prof. Wim Soetaert is the founder and executive chairman of Inbiose, a spin-off company of Ghent University that is producing speciality carbohydrates through industrial biotechnology. www.inbiose.com

    CEO Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

  • Vermeulen, Hilde

    Vermeulen, Hilde

    Policy Officer, Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flanders Region

    Hilde is policy advisor of the department Economy, Science and Innovation, Flemish government since December 2006. She is Belgian delegate in the programme committee responsible for the Horizon2020 work programs ‘Innovation and SMEs’ and ‘Access to Risk Finance’. She has experience as partner of a number of EU projects of the interreg and R&D framework programs in different areas of SME innovation policy. She was Belgian Sherpa for the High Level Group GEAR2030 (EU automotive industry). She holds a master degree and a specialization in Applied Economics at KULeuven, where she was 5 years research assistant in the area of innovation and clusters. She also worked at Idea Consultant and as sector advisor for the Belgian industry federation Agoria.

    Policy Officer, Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flanders Region


Erwin Siweris, Interreg Europe Programme Director

Katrien Molders, Coordinator SmartPilots Project and Communication Manager Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

Paul Decraemer, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Inbiose

Iskra Nikolova, Policy Officer, Province of South-Holland

Ilaria Bonetti,  Senior Project Manager at Innovhub SSI and representing the Lombardy Region, Italy

Willem Sederel, Board Member Biobased Delta and Chair Biobased Circular Business Platform

Katja Reppel, Deputy Head of Unit ‘Smart and Sustainable Growth’, DG REGIO, European Commission

Hilde Vermeulen, Policy Officer, Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flanders Region

Wim Soetaert, CEO Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant