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From 2007 to 2010, Lithuania had a national programme for industrial biotechnology which was allocated €8.7 million. The 2010 proposal for continuing the programme included support for piloting and demonstration steps. However, the plan was dropped because of the economic crisis. From 2011 to 2013, the industrial biotechnology research development programme only amounted to €0.7 million. In Lithuania, support policies for industrial biotechnology are mainly targeted towards:
- Creating new biomass resources and developing technologies for the efficient use of local biomass;
- Creating value added materials and products from renewable raw materials using biotechnological methods;
- Producing bioplastics and bio-materials from renewable raw materials using biotechnological methods;
- Creating new biocatalysts and developing their applications;
- Creating pharmaceutical and veterinary products.
Currently, the strategic imperative of industrial biotechnology is covered as a priority area by Lithuania’s smart specialization programme under “Agricultural innovation and food technologies – Innovative development, improvement and processing of biological raw materials” and suggests that the development of industrial biotechnology is considered as part of the much wider bioeconomy.
In Lithuania, there are no market pull or push measures dedicated solely to industrial biotechnology. However, innovative SMEs may benefit from support schemes such as:
- The Green Industry Innovation programme sponsored by Innovation Norway – the €9.4 million programme seeks to strengthen bilateral cooperation between both countries by funding the implementation of projects related to innovative environmental technologies and green products in Lithuania
- Innovation vouchers – Put up by the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy, these vouchers entitle innovative SMEs to buy R&D expertise or knowledge from research and educational institutions for activities related to applied research, technological development and feasibility studies. Since their launch in 2010, 6 calls have been announced and more than 1000 vouchers of a maximum value of ~€5800 have been distributed to innovative Lithuanian SMEs.
Who is there?
- Lithuanian Biotechnology Association
- Vilnius University Institute of Biotechnology and Institute of Biochemistry
- Sunrise Valley
- Lithuanian Biomass Energy Association LITBIOMA
- Amilina, working in close cooperation with French partners on starch production, modification and other products from wheat grain
- Biocentras, involved in numerous projects related to environmental problems with partners, for example from Spain, Latvia, etc
- Other compânies : Biok laboratorija, Probiosanus, Naujoji Ringuva, Nomads, etc.
Examples to watch
- Start-up ProBioSanus – new cleaning products with microorganisms.
- Start-up IMD technologies – enzymatic biopolyol production from vegetable oils.
- The company Amilina owns a piloting facility for wheat grain processing
- Integrated Science, Studies and Business centres (Valleys)
It is the Lithuanian Government who funded the national industrial biotechnology program from 2007-2010. The following program for the 2011-2013 period was taken in charge by the Ministry of Education and Science. The implementation of the funding programmes was managed by the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) in both cases. To date, Lithuania has mostly funded application-oriented research projects of technological readiness levels of 4-5.
With industrial biotechnology one of Lithuania’s priorities in the 2014-2020 timeframe within its smart specialisation programme, the main funding streams will come from European structural funds. The allocation of the funds is managed by the Lithuanian Ministry for the Economy.
In Lithuania, the potential for industrial biotech development lies in its rather large volumes of biomass available – about 8 million m3 of woody biomass and 1.2 million tons of straw can be used annually for the production of value added biobased products. On the other hand, Lithuania seems to be too small as a country to be able to host large scale competitive industries.
- Lithuanian Biotechnology Association
- Chairman prof. Gervydas Dienys (dienys[at]ibt[dot]lt)
- Vice-Chaiman dr. Inga Matijošytė (minga[at]ibt[dot]lt)
- Agency of Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)
- Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania
- Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania