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Biopolymer Workshop to set up a bio-based industry in Mauritius


After a successful workshop at JKUAT, Kenya, the second Biopolymer Workshop was held in Mauritius on May 8-10, 2013, with the objective to elaborate on the development and uses of biopolymers and nanotechnology in various key sectors of the Mauritian economy, in assisting in the development of a bio-based industry in Mauritius as a new pillar of its economy. The workshop was organized by the ANDI Center of Excellence for Biomedial and Biomaterials Research (CBBR, Mauritius), CE PoliMaT, COMESA, and with experts and lecturers from VDI/VDE-IT (Germany), Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS, USA), Polymer Competence Center Leoben (PCCL, Austria), Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA, USA), all connected through the Global Biopolymer Network. The workshop was opened by Dr. the Hon. Rajeshwar Jeetah, Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology. Biopolymer Workshops are coordinated by CE PoliMaT and are an initiative of the Global Biopolymer Network.

93 participants from Mauritius, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Slovenia, Austria, and Germany discussed innovation policy issues, identified several R&D collaboration opportunities in biopolymer applications in health and the environment, industrial applications in value-added bioresource use, and education&capacity needs.  

The VIP and Policy Workshops on new trends in innovation policy and management, led by Gerd Meier zu Koecker from VDI/VDE-IT, attracted influential policy makers and industrial stakeholders. Scientific trends in biopolymers and related technologies were presented by Andrej Kržan (National Institute of Chemistry, Slovenia), Sujata Bhatia (SEAS), Majda Žigon and Zorica Crnjak Orel (CE PoliMaT), and Gernot Oreski (PCCL). Frank Douglas from ABIA gave a videolecture on value-driven engineering, and Martin Payer (PCCL) and Mateja Dermastia (CE PoliMaT) presented business models of centers of excellence.  

New partnerships were formed and intensive follow-up activities undertaken, aiming at  international and multidisciplinary cooperation in biopolymer science and technology, supported by a stimulating innovation framework.

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