In the BLOOM project we have created a rich basis of concepts, definitions, explanation of biobased valorization routes, bioeconomy key messages, and insights in regional approaches and practices. Based on this content, in the Bloom project we have finalized the following outreach materials, which have been used at a variety of outreach activities:
We have created a presentation of basic bioeconomy concepts on six panels, which show definitions and key messages about the bioeconomy, including three valorization routes of biomass, starting with sugar, wood and fibers, and a description of the regional approach. Additionally, we have created specific regional panels, one for Emmen and one for Wageningen, to show the specific characteristics of both regions and to explain to the visitors the appearance of the bioeconomy in their own regions. The gallery walks have been shown in Wageningen City Centre, in a vacant shop in the main shopping street. In Emmen region, the gallery walk was supposed to be shown at a public side event of the Bioplastic Expo in Emmen. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 this event has gone virtual and has attracted only professionals. Nevertheless, the panels are now available for the region to show during upcoming regional events.
We organised three webinars, two international and one regional webinar. The international webinars have been prepared in collaboration with our the Bloom Nordic bioeconomy hub. One webinar was about bioplastics in your daily life, which touched upon the smart specialization of our regional Hub in Emmen region. Wageningen Research introduced the concepts and the biobased plastic products. Roel Folkersma, from NHL Stenden University of Applied Science presented the Emmen regional hub, the approach, innovations, companies and the bioplastic products which are produced in the Emmen Cluster.
We hosted various science espressos to inform divers groups of people about bioeconomy concepts, perspectives and products. An important setting for these activities was the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. In 2019 it was visited by thousands of visitors, who also came to the Bloom exhibition. We hosted the stand during nine days and many national and international groups visited us, both professionals and the general public, all interested in new sustainable materials for consumer products.
In 2020 the Dutch Design Week went 100% virtual. Again, Wageningen research contributed with a presentation of the Bloom project and with the participation from Bloom perspective in a panel with designers and experts interested in circular bioeconomy. This year the event did not attract that many participants from the general public, as they are not used to visit digital exhibitions yet. But the professionals were very interested in the opportunities which have been shared by the Bloom project, and were open to explore the use of biobased materials in future activities.
The BLOOM materials, storyline and activities have attracted a lot of interest. Many Dutch regions have in the past invested in bringing together the triple helix partners (academia, business and public institutions), in exploring the potential of biomass valorization in their regions, and defining their strategic opportunities for value added activities and regional growth. It was not common to involve civil society, as the BLOOM project has done, but the region of Emmen has recognized the importance of reaching out to the general public. The importance of explaining the policies and the current developments in educational institutes and industrial sites in an understandable way was recognized. There is now an increased awareness of the fact that Emmen is able to innovate very successfully towards new sustainable biobased alternatives for fossil based plastic products. Emmen has created a cluster of activities and of organizations, supported by intermediate organizations and a well aligned educational and innovation infrastructure. For further development Emmen relies on sufficient capacities and investments.
When working with a quadruple helix approach (with academia, business, public institutions and civil society), the internal cohesion is very important, as well as the common strengthening of the external profile in order to attract investments, students and new work force. The BLOOM outreach materials have been used in Emmen region and the importance of the interaction with the general public has arrived in the reginal agenda. All the materials produced by the Bloom project are now available for further dissemination and can be used to further spread the importance of the circulare bioeconomy for the future of our region.