Since 2009, Bio4Energy has gone from being a vision by five partners of collaboration across university boundaries, to being an integrated research environment. In this, researchers in academia, at institutes and commercial companies work together to make biorefinery based on woody feedstock an alternative for the pulp and paper industry, as well as a key plank of the European bioeconomy.
To turn its vision to reality, Bio4Energy has been receiving funding from the Swedish government. This latter has ordered a final evaluation of the first five years of the so-called Strategic Research Environment, a concept created by the previous Swedish right-wing government. However, since this year,Sweden has a new government led by the Social Democrats in cooperation with the Greens. Subsequently, it is in charge of the evaluation.
Whereas scientific excellence will be one measure of Bio4Energy’s performance, tangible proof of its researchers' efforts to collaborate across partner institutions and outreach to industry will be others. Bio4Energy itself is in an intense period of introspection, taking stock of the research and development carried out to date, and laying down operational plans for a possible second mandate. This would span the years 2015 to 2020 and build on the lines of research which have proven the most successful during 2010-2015.
As one leg of this exercise, Bio4Energy at its latest biannual workshop for its researchers, 20-21 November at Skellefteå, Sweden, asked its research platform leaders to outline the Best of 'Bio4Energy 1'—their greatest achievements to date. A slightly different set of research and development platforms have been proposed for 2015-2020. Their presumptive members met on the second day of the workshop to outline specific research goals for 'Bio4Energy 2'. To the extent that presentations have been forwarded to Bio4Energy Communications, the result of both exercises are attached to this article.