- Written by Anna Strom
grew to include 171 researchers—48 women and 123 men—who published 95 peer-reviewed publications and made 14 applications in view of patenting innovations, some of which clear-cut research breakthroughs.
B4E also stepped out its outreach activities, giving a public conference together with external partners, as well as provided 18 more popular science events or publications directed at stakeholders in industry, policy makers, presumptive students, academia and others interested in biorefinery and bioenergy research and development. However, B4E communications suggested that greater focus be placed on outreach to industry in the years ahead.
These results have been gleaned from an annual evaluation of Bio4Energy for 2012 which, as a research environment with support from the Swedish government, each year submits a Strategic Research Environment Questionnaire to Swedish authorities backed up by attachments listing most things from members and publications, to finances and “public impact”.
Research goals to be attained
"Looking at the total financing we also see that the environment has increased the part of co-funding. The authorities get good returns on their investment”, he added, with the latter reference to a range of external funding registered in the 2012 survey, such as individual grants for academic excellence or contributions by new partners.
When it came to the “hard” goals to do with delivering new methods and tools for conducting sustainable and efficient biorefinery, such as making bio-based chemicals or biofuels from enzymatic processes or via the biomass gasification route, the evaluation showed that B4E was making good progress and “well on the way” to achieving its aims, according to Öhman, who is a professor at the Luleå University of Technology.
Similarly, the Bio4Energy Catalysis and Separation and Feedstock Platforms were delivering tools and infrastructure for separating out undesirable substances in various industrial processes and improving trees’ resilience and growth, respectively.
“When it comes to the ‘hard’ goals I think we will be reaching them. We are greatly appreciative of the access to funds for basic research that Bio4Energy gives us, but we also need to explain the connection to innovation” to our stakeholders, Öhman said, adding that the B4E Board was currently conducting a process designed to check whether B4E was fulfilling its aims and ways that the board could be further involved in this work.
The Bio4Energy Board members as of late 2012:
Marianne Sommarin, Umeå University (UmU) - Chair
Johan Sterte, Luleå University of Technology (LTU)
Ann-Britt Edfast, Sveaskog
Elg-Christoffersson Kristina, Domsjö Fabriker
Kajsa Hedberg, Skellefteå Kraft
Torgny Näsholm, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
Marcus Öhman, LTU
Stellan Marklund, UmU
The Bio4Energy Steering Group members as of late 2012:
Stellan Marklund, UmU – Chair
Marcus Öhman, LTU
Björn Sundberg, SLU
Liselotte Uhlir, Processum Biorefinery Initiative
Magnus Marklund, Energy Technology Centre at Piteå
Jyri-Pekka Mikkola, UmU/Åbo Akademi University
Jonas Hedlund, LTU
Rikard Gebart, LTU – co-opted member
Ulrika Rova, LTU – co-opted member