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Introductory Workshop of the Newly Acquired BioTech2Agri Project

On Wednesday, June 19, 2024, the kick-off meeting of the newly acquired BioTech2Agri project took place in Ajdovščina. The project is co-financed by the European Union within the Interreg VI-A Italy-Slovenia Program and is implemented by six partners from the Slovenian and Italian sides. On the Slovenian side, in addition to the Regional Development Agency ROD Ajdovščina, which is the leading partner, Primorski tehnološki park d.o.o. and Scientific Research Center Koper, and in Italian Venetian Cluster, Agrifood & bioeconomy FVG foundation and Informest.

The goal of the EUR 886,560.89 project, which began on April 15, 2024, is to contribute to strengthening European competitiveness by raising the level of the agri-food sector. We want to achieve this by increasing the added value of supply chains to Slovenian companies through the transfer of biotechnology, which is already established in Italy and especially in Veneto.

Partners coming from both the public and private sectors will work together to determine the content of the analysis of plant species and define the business model, offer assistance to interested small and medium-sized enterprises and ensure the transferability of project results. The project will define plant species that are key to the economy in the project area, such as olives, grapevines and marigolds. The focus will be on new products enriched with bioactive compounds obtained from these plant species. The partners decided to focus primarily on antioxidants and active ingredients with the greatest impact on the environment and people, as they can counteract free radicals, slow down cell aging and be usefully used for innovative products in the food, feed, nutritional and cosmetic sectors.

The technology that will be introduced enables the extraction and reproduction of the active components of plants without cultivation, which saves land, water and reduces waste. It also enables the laboratory multiplication of active ingredients, which enables the production of larger quantities of products, the creation of new businesses, the creation of jobs and the strengthening of the economy. Using part of the revenue from biotech production will improve flora and habitats on a win-win basis.

Based on the analysis and definition of the business model, conditions will be created for the transfer of innovative biotechnology between the Friuli-Julian Region, Veneto and the Northern Primorska (Goriška) statistical region. This approach will enable the growth and strengthening of the economy in the project area and will facilitate replicability in other areas.

The project will introduce new biotechnology into the economy through a public call for the so-called “innovation coin mechanism” for the introduction of innovations, which will be aimed at small and medium-sized companies from the agri-food sector that would like to use the business model and benefits of the project. The “innovation coin” will be the basis for the use of services by selected companies. There will be free analysis, testing, help with the use of technology, conceptual design, a guide to financial resources and the opportunity to attend an international networking event.

Introductory remarks at the opening of the event were given by M.Sc. Anton Lavrenčič, mayor of the municipality of Vipava, who emphasized the importance of such projects for the local and wider environment. Mr. Furlan, head of the Department of Economy and Development of the Municipality of Ajdovščina, expressed his support for the project and praised the strength of the project partnership. Mr. Janez Capuder from the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development presented the project from the point of view of the Interreg VI-A Italy-Slovenia 2021-2027 program. The conference program continued with a partner meeting, where the partners agreed on further steps for the successful implementation of the project. The BioTech2Agri project will end on April 14, 2026.