Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Bioeconomy Ireland Week - Friday - The Bioeconomy in Ireland so far


To finish off the Bioeconomy Ireland Week Map Series we show (1) a map Irish Enterprises in the Bioeconomy assembled as part of the All Island BIOMAP project led by the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation, and (2) a network map showing linkages between the current players in the Irish bioeconomy.

Producers in the Irish Bioeconomy (click to see map)

The Irish Bioeconomy Foundation (IBF) is Ireland's national bioeconomy association and innovation cluster. It was founded in 2017 to establish collaboration between industry, academia and policy makers that are involved in Ireland's bioeconomy. One of the roles of IBF is to analyse the production processes of companies through the mapping of value chains and to promote mutually beneficial partnerships with those companies that have overlapping chains. To help with this task, the Biomap Project maps organisations relevant to the bioeconomy based on their feedstocks, waste streams and by-products. Hence, this approach will make it possible to identify overlaps and synergies between companies.

Cluster establishment and collaboration are considered beneficial for the business community to increase business potential. Firms that form part of a cluster tend to accomplish many more activities by having access to more resources  compared to single and isolated firms.

The Biomap Project will promote collaboration between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The project is funded by InterTradeIreland which is an all-island funding agency based in Newry, Northern Ireland. InterTradeIreland are involved in helping businesses in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to explore new cross-border markets, develop new products, processes and services. As an initiative to promote cross border collaboration, business development and circular economy between ROI and NI, Intertrade Ireland sponsored the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation to develop the All Island Biomap Project. 

Objectives of The All Island Biomap Project: 

  1. To map organisations relevant to the bioeconomy and gain a better understanding of the landscape of existing resources such as skill, technology and services available.
  2. Promote the development of bio-based products such as bioplastics, waste to energy, biofuels etc, that complement the circular bioeconomy.
  3. Brokerage cross-border industry R&D or co-product development collaboration.

Networks in the Irish Bioeconomy (click to see map)

The final map of the bioeconomy week is a different type of map. Rather than showing locations in space, it represents the composition of the Irish bioeconomy social network, identifying actors and sectors that have acquired central or peripheral positions within the network. From a review of 22 Irish and European policy documents dating from 2012, 75 actors were found to have had at least one connection with another actor in the Irish bioeconomy.

To the forefront of the Irish bioeconomy network has been government departments alongside a number of semi-state bodies ranging from Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc. Academia and research, both in terms of individual universities alongside collaborative efforts (BiOrbic), are centrally positioned within the social network. While private businesses are present within the social network, they are not as highly connected as the other sectors mentioned.

The Biorefinery Glas project, which includes a farmer-owned co-operative (Barryroe Co-operative), reflects the only example of an entity composed of farmers present in the bioeconomy social network map. One interesting aspect of the Irish bioeconomy has been the development of a unique subgroup which can be defined as the Monaghan Cluster. This comprises three businesses in the agri-food sector which are moving into the bioeconomy alongside two novel developments in the form of a research and innovation centre (Bioconnect Innovation Centre) and a marine-based biorefinery (Bio-Marine Ingredients).

Contributors:

  • Filippo Giancarlo Martinelli, Stephen Napier & Kevin Ryan
    Irish Bioeconomy Foundation (IBF)
    National Bioeconomy Campus (former Lisheen Mine)
  • Kieran Harrahill & Dr Áine Macken-Walsh
    Department of Agifood Business and Spatial Analysis
    Teagasc Mellows Campus, Athenry
  • Dr Jesko Zimmermann & Prof Maeve Henchion
    Department of Agifood Business and Spatial Analysis
    Teagasc Ashtown Research Centre