Building bioeconomy cluster and innovation ecosystem in the Vidzeme region

To support development of bioeconomy in Latvia, the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) in cooperation with the Vidzeme Planning region and partners from Finland, Norway, Poland and Estonia has started to build smart and sustainable bioeconomy innovation system in Vidzeme and other rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR).


Bioeconomy includes economic activities that utilize the biological natural resources and turn them into food, energy, and other products and services. It is founded on the use of clean technologies, renewable natural resources and recycled materials. The concept of bioeconomy brings together the agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture sectors. According to the Europe 2020 strategy on smart and sustainable growth, the bioeconomy is a key element for smart and green growth of Europe. It can maintain and create economic growth and jobs in rural, coastal and industrial areas, reduce fossil fuel dependence and improve the economic and environmental sustainability of primary production and processing industries.

Vidzeme and other rural areas of BSR have a great potential for bioeconomy as they have abundant natural resources. However, they struggle to reach full bioeconomy potential due to limited human capital and lack of agglomeration economies. To increase the knowledge and develop smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of bioeconomy in the rural areas of BSR, IES in cooperation with partners from Central Finland, Hedmark (Norway), Switokryzkie Vaivodeship (Poland), Vidzeme (Latvia) and Estonia, has started the project “Rural RDI milieus in transition towards smart bioeconomy clusters and innovation ecosystems “(RDI2CluB). The project has received the flagship status by coordinators of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), which means that the project demonstrates the policy progress of EUSBSR and serve as pilot example for desired action in the policy area. According to EUSBSR, bioeconomy offers an abundance of opportunities to grow primarily industries and opens new development prospects in the rural areas.

The project unites innovation actors in BSR regions to build a shared vision on regional bioeconomy performances and potentials, increase innovation capacity, and promote cross-country learning for enhancing smart bioeconomy businesses. To increase the knowledge of all innovation actors – authorities, research institutions, business development bodies, and SMEs, as well as support inclusion, networking and transnational cooperation, the project team will develop Open Virtual BSR Biobusiness Hub (OBVH). It will ensure exchange of knowledge, skills and tools that can help to develop new business ideas for bioeconomy.

As a part of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region 2014 – 2020 programme, the project “Rural RDI milieus in transition towards smart bioeconomy clusters and innovation ecosystems” (RDI2CluB) is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and co-funded by the Norway Grants.

More about the project