Why using a shared facility can be good for your business?
Take for example Dutch pilot run facility AlgaePARC. This facility works with SMEs to develop new technologies that can accelerate progress towards a green, circular economy. For the past ten years AlgaePARC located at Wageningen Campus has served as a shared facility of technology development for microalgae production and biorefinery. Two companies – FUMI and Algreen – have so far been founded based on research carried out at AlgaePARC. Three other SMEs are currently using AlgaePARC’s facilities.
The EU recognises the importance of microalgae in achieving a transition to a green and circular economy, and its REACT-EU programme recently awarded AlgaePARC funding which will enable SMEs to further develop their innovative technologies at this shared facility.
Maria Barbosa, director AlgaePARC explains: ‘AlgaePARC 2.0 will be able to offer access to new screening systems that can select algae strains more quickly, and the facility will also develop a biorefinery unit capable of isolating functional ingredients as well as biomass. Production and testing capacity will also be expanded at the laboratory, pilot and demonstration levels, and innovative sensors will be introduced to enhance product quality’.
The funding application process was supported by the Bioprocess Engineering chair group and Shared Facility Finder.
Sharing facilities, just look at AlgaePARC and the businesses that benefit from its use, is a proven method to make innovation facilities available and cost-effective for both users and facility providers.
Petra Roubos, Manager of Shared Research Facilities at Wageningen and Research and Lead Shared Facilities at Foodvalley NL says: ‘Demand for these facilities is growing, so AlgaePARC needs to make new investments and increase its capacity to host SMEs and start-ups. Roubos emphasises that these organisations are able to accelerate the roll-out of their innovations due to the additional space to test and develop new technologies for microalgae production, biorefinery and product development’.
Roubos continues: ‘Investing large sums into the development phase is a high-risk activity and it is difficult for individual businesses to secure that kind of funding, by sharing facilities businesses get support they need’.
Shared Facility Finder helps businesses and institutes to find the best research equipment, scale up and production, development and testing facilities. When it comes to a new facility Shared Facility Finder advises funding options to help purchase a new facility. Shared Facility Finder is an initiative by Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University and Research. Together we encourage businesses and institutes to use or share facilities.
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