A Bioeconomy Model Region in the Rhenish Mining District


The BMBF is to fund the research activities with 72 million euros. RWTH will also take on some managerial responsibilities.


As part of the structural change towards a more sustainable economy, the Rhenish mining district is to be a hub for innovative value chains and business models that foster the creation of new and future-oriented jobs. To that end, the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will be funding the research association “Bioeconomy Model Region in the Rhenish Mining District” with 72 million euros in an initial funding phase. Over the next five years, the “Understand.Connect.Support the Bioeconomy” project will be researching the essential factors for the transformation process to succeed. Two flagship projects have been launched: the “Bio4MatPro” Competence Center and the “BioeconomyREVIER Innovation Cluster.”

Understand.Connect.Support the Bioeconomy

In the project “Understand.Connect.Support the Bioeconomy “, findings and experiences are systematized in order to understand regional innovation ecosystems with all of their challenges and success factors. Professor David Antons from the RWTH Institute for Technology and Innovation Management leads the consortium. Institutes at RWTH Aachen University, Forschungszentrum Jülich, and TU Dortmund University are involved in the accompanying research, which is supported with funds of 6.8 million euros.


In the “Bio4MatPro” competence center, headed by Professor Ulrich Schwaneberg of the RWTH Chair of Biotechnology, the focus is on possible applications and examples of the biological transformation of industries. Fifty partners from science and industry are working on 23 collaborative projects, for which the BMBF is providing 26.3 million euros.

BioeconomyREVIER innovation cluster

The “BioeconomyREVIER Innovation Cluster” combines bioeconomic research approaches with excellent conditions for successful implementation with industry and society. This consortium, headed by Prof. Ulrich Schurr, Institute of Plant Sciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich, pools the expertise of several universities, research institutions, and companies. The cluster will receive 38.5 million euros from the BMBF for its work.

The kick-off event of the BMBF funding program “Bioeconomy Model Region in the Rhenish Mining District” took place at the Indemann, an observation tower that overlooks an open-cast lignite mine in the district of Düren.