The economically, socially and ecologically sustainable use of eastern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s large expanses of land, peatlands and sea harbours a significant potential for economic growth that has yet to be capitalised on. Pulses (leguminosae), such as the blue sweet lupin, are a valuable source of protein for agriculture that can be processed for use in the food industry. Reedbeds and bulrushes from rewetted peatlands provide fibres for new building and insulation materials. High-quality specialist types of sugar from sea algae, which are used in pharmaceuticals or cosmetics, could become an additional source of income for fishermen.
The combination of the scientific location Greifswald, with its research expertise owing to the University of Greifswald, the start-up centres of the WITENO GmbH and highly innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) such as the Enzymicals AG, and the industrial location Anklam with its sugar factory, the Anklam Extrakt GmbH and the Continental AG, is a catalyst for the bioeconomy of tomorrow. ‘By replacing an industry that is based on fossil fuels with the use of bio-based resources and biological processes, our region is at the threshold of a historic opportunity that could see a substantial increase in its own economic growth and a stop to the export of raw materials produced by agriculture, which has long made Vorpommern the extended workbench of other regions,’ says Stefan Seiberling from the University of Greifswald, who coordinated the successful joint proposal, put forward by more than 60 companies, associations, farmers, public authorities, universities and research institutes.
‘The initiative has already managed to develop momentum that I have yet to see in Vorpommen,’ explains Rolf Kammann, General Manager of the Wirtschaftsfördergesellschaft Vorpommern. ‘Our important contribution to structural change in eastern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is characterised by the participative approach, i.e. the inclusion of players at all levels, from fishermen and farmers, who deliver the essential raw materials right through to biotechnological companies, which extract the substances that can then be used in the state’s food industry, building, energy or textiles sectors.’
The open innovation network is based around a central innovation management that uses the support of all of its members to establish the needs of the region, develop project ideas and put them into practise. The innovation management is complemented by the so-called Plant³ Greenhouse, an incubator and catalyst for innovative projects, which is a central element for collaboration and the establishment of innovativeness. ‘We are developing new instruments that allow ideas to flourish and enable the founding of competitive companies, which will in turn fill the future centre of life science and plasma technology with life,’ says Dr. Wolfgang Blank, General Manager of the WITENO GmbH.
A think tank will accompany the development of new value chains from an academic perspective and deliver impulses from scientific findings for further strategic development. ‘Bioeconomy is a huge opportunity, especially for our structurally weak rural region,’ stresses Prof. Daniel Schiller, spokesman of the Plant³ project. ‘We must investigate the success factors and hurdles for innovative products and processes at both business and regional levels and use these findings to improve the innovativeness of the stakeholders in the Plant³ project.’
The project Plant³ - Strategies for the High-Quality Refinement of Plant-Based Raw Materials in North-East Germany is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its WIR! - Wandel durch Innovation in der Region (Innovation and Structural Transformation / WIR!) programme.
Prof. Dr. Daniel Schiller
Economic and Social Geography
Tel.: +49 3834 420 4524
Dr. Wolfgang Blank
Tel.: +49 3834 51511 0
Wirtschaftsfördergesellschaft Vorpommern mbH
Tel.: +49 3834 550604