IBERS project wins prestigious European Commission award

aberystwyth university gogerddan campusA WELSH  research partnership, the BEACON Biorefining Center of Excellence, has won a 2014 RegioStars Award. The awards are organised by the European commission with the objective of identifying good practices in regional development and highlighting innovative projects which could be inspiring to other regions.

The jury of the RegioStars Awards singled out 19 finalists from 80 projects supported by European Union Cohesion Policy funds.  The finalists originate from 17 member states and were selected on the basis of innovation, impact, sustainability and partnership.

The winners headed over to Brussels to receive the award as part of a glittering ceremony on May 31st.

BEACON is a Welsh Government and EU funded collaboration between Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea universities, led by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) which is based in Aberystwyth.

The program was one of four projects from IBERS to be shortlisted in the “Sustainable Growth: Green Growth and Jobs through Bioeconomy” category, demonstrating the institute’s recent success in developing original environmental programs.

The Biorefining project is focused on the development of industrial products from plants to reduce reliance on fossil-based resources such as coal and gas. Researchers work with small and medium sized enterprises to develop renewable materials, fuels and chemicals. They also create and modify environmental and economically sustainable processes.

Professor Iain Donnison, Director of BEACON, remarked “Low carbon technologies including biorefining and industrial biotechnology are seen as important growth sectors and will need sustainable supply chains that will generate economic activity and jobs, and it is these that provide the focus for the work being done at BEACON.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor April McMahon, added “Winning this important European award is tribute to the hard work and commitment of the BEACON team. With our partners in Bangor and Swansea we are working with industry and pooling scientific expertise and cutting edge technology to make a significant contribution to developing the green economy in Wales.”