UrBIOfuture: bridging the gap between education and the biobased industry needs
The bio-based sector is in full growth and has a great economic potential. According to the European Commission estimates, it employs over 18 million people and generates a turnover of 2.3 billion euros. The constant growth of this sector requires a high number of experts with a new profile that involves several academic disciplines and business skills. However, one of the challenges for its development is the educational gap between the professional profiles demanded by the sector and the existing educational offer. To bridge this gap is one of the main purposes of UrBIOfuture, which started on May 1st, 2019, with the goal of boosting careers, new educational programmes and research activities in the field of bioeconomy.
Since then, this initiative has identified and mapped the European educational programmes that address curricula related to the bioeconomy. It has researched and appointed the gap between these programmes and the profiles demanded by the industry. And last, but not least, UrBiofuture has involved stakeholders in a co-creation process to deliver the UrBIOfuture experience, a set of events, activities and materials to attract talent and provide professional orientation.
The main target of UrBIOfuture can be divided in five different groups: Highschool students, Vocational and Educational Training students, University students, currently working professionals and unemployed professionals. Sustainable Innovations has implemented, since the very beginning of the project, a strategic communication plan to reach out to each of these target groups and to show them the impact and benefits that the bioeconomy can have for them. We have performed a wide range of activities for communication, dissemination and exploitation, from the design of the project identity, to the elaboration of all the materials that have helped in raising awareness about the importance of the bioeconomy. Moreover, we have leaded different capacity building activities, and we have organized three webinars to share all the knowledge and lessons learned during this project’s execution.