ICA Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education in Europe

ICA Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education in Europe (ICA CoP Bio-Edu)


The bioeconomy covers all sectors and systems that rely on biological resources (animals, plants, micro-organisms and derived biomass, including organic waste), their functions and principles. It includes and interlinks: land and marine ecosystems and the services they provide; all primary production sectors that use and produce biological resources (agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture); and all economic and industrial sectors that use biological resources and processes to produce food, feed, bio-based products, energy and services. To be successful, the European bioeconomy needs to have sustainability and circularity at its heart. This will drive the renewal of our industries, the modernisation of our primary production systems, the protection of the environment and will enhance biodiversity .

In order to efficiently support the expansion of the circular bioeconomy educational and vocational training programmes that fit the quickly evolving skill demands are required. In addition to technical skills, strong interdisciplinary competences, systems thinking and the ability to understand the subject matter of all stakeholders in the value chains are of increasing importance. Both the professionals in the working field themselves as and the future professionals should be educated to understand and develop these new and challenging domains. Several universities have been actively developing innovative programmes during the last years. However, trans sectoral collaboration on the topic of Bioeconomy education as well as the collaboration of actors from different European regions will be needed to develop a European Bioeconomy Education Ecosystem. This needs to include university degree programs, perspectives for up-skilling and life long learning as well as vocational education and entrepreneurship. Moreover, the regional differences and priorities regarding their Bioeconomy strategy and educational systems must be considered.


The goal of the ICA Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education (CoP Bio-Edu) is to enhance the quality, offer and diversity of education for the sustainable circular Bioeconomy in Europe, by bringing together educational actors to engage with each other, both virtually and face to face. Together, we form a professional network, to:

  1. share experiences and good practices among educational actors coming from different educational sectors and regional perspectives
  2. consult with industry and stakeholders about skills demands and educational outcomes can be organized.A combined effort of professionals working on related goals will enhance the outcomes of education and training for the circular bioeconomy.
  3. develop educational projects to develop and evaluate new educational materials, strategies and innovative training concepts

A combined effort of professionals working on related goals will enhance the outcomes of education and training for the circular bioeconomy. The CoP Bio-Edu addresses experience exchange, up-skilling and training among faculty and teachers, which is a first and necessary step to promote the education of an adequately skilled workforce for the Bioeconomy.

Communication and sharing information within the CoP Bio-Edu and with other stakeholders

Dedicated trans- and interdisciplinary events, cross-sectoral, on Bioeconomy education will be organized to facilitate networking and training among faculty and teachers. Besides its substantial contribution to the specific domain of Bioeconomy, the established network shall contribute to the New Skills Agenda for Europe and improving the job market in Europe. Towards this goal we will establish a digital platform, where educational resources and materials can be stored and exchanged.

The CoP Bio-Edu will also provide a means for academia of interacting with industry partners and policy makers to identify skills demands early and to enhance the quality of Bioeconomy education. The educational perspective will be aligned with European priorities for growth, offering a good potential for improvement in all levels (technological, economic social and regulatory).

How to participate

Individuals that act as educators in the bioeconomy world of CoP Bio-Edu. The criterium to join is that the member can show educational practice in relation to the Bioeconomy or in related fields that it is anticipated will be expanded towards the bioeconomy. There is no membership fee.

The CoP Bio-Edu initiative is currently organized as a network managed by a Core Working Group. Working groups and projects dedicated to specific themes will be established. The aim is to raise funds for specific projects and for the overall management and marketing of the initiative.

There are two categories of participant:
Full members
Individuals: Educators are invited to join the CoP Bio-Edu on a personal basis. They should be really involved and have a certain background in the bioeconomy. They should show their involvement by entering their names and expertise in the database which will be the link between all the members.
Associate members
Existing networks and consortia: Networks and consortia are necessary partners to spread the word and to reach out to as much as possible people. We kindly ask the network partners as well as consortia in the world of bioeconomy to help us in reaching out to the individual educators and stimulate them to be part of our CoP Bio-Edu.

Institutions related to Bioeconomy Education (Higher Education Institutions, Universities, Research Centres, Public and/or Regional Administration Private Entities). In the long term we expect membership of the CoP Bio-Edu to develop on the basis of educational institutional membership.

The initiators of the Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education, who form the Core Working Group, are:

Josef Glössl BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria & Association for European Life Science Universities (ICA)
Simon Heath Association for European Life Science Universities (ICA)
Ingar Janzik Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH and Bioeconomy Science Center, Germany
Han van Osch Avans University of Applied Sciences/HZ University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands & Dutch Biobased Knowledge Network
Mona-Anitta Riihimäki Häme University of Applied Sciences, Finland
George Sakellaris Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague & BioEast
Constantinos Vorgias University of Athens, Greece

Han van Osch
Avans University of Applied Sciences/HZ University of Applied Sciences
Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy
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ICA Board Committees

The ICA Board has two Committees

The ICA Board Committees support focused activities relating to the aims of ICA which are to enhance our members’ success in the international market place, in Europe and globally, by providing a supportive environment to share experience, to cooperate in new ventures, and to benefit from the resulting synergy.

The Chair of each Board Committee is ex-officio a member of the ICA Board.  Each ICA Member is invited to nominate a person to represent them on both Committees.  These representatives are invited to encourage staff in their institution to participate in the activities of the Board Committees. The Executive Committee of each Board Committee is elected by these representatives.

ICA Network for Innovation in Life Sciences Higher Education (ICA-Edu)

This Network was previously the European Conference of Higher Agricultural Education (ECAHE).  ECHAE established a successful series of biennial conferences, which were initiated by Wageningen Agricultural University in 1992.  ECHAE became a standing committee of ICA in 2001.  ICA-Edu was formally launched at the ICA Week of Conferences 2012 in Bozen-Bolzano. See more

ICA Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education (ICA CoP Bio-Edu)

 The ICA Board at its meeting on 21 October 2020 approved the proposal of the recently established Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education (CoP Bio-Edu) to become a Committee of the ICA Board


ICA-Edu Executive Committee

The following were elected at the ICA-Edu General Assembly held online on 28 May 2021.  The Chair and Vice Chair were elected by the elected members of the Executive Committee.

Julian Park, Chair ICA-Edu Executive Committee & Former Pro-Vice Chancellor Education and Student Experience, Professor of Agriculrural Systems, University of Reading

Teodor Ioan Trasca, Vice Chair ICA-Edu Executive Committee & Head of the Department of Food Technologies, Banat’s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine ‘’King Michael I of Romania’’ from Timisoara

Stefano Cesco - Former Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bolzano

Kristina Kljak – Vice Dean for for International and Interinstitutional Cooperation, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb

Marta Mendel – Vice Rector for International Co-operation, Warsaw University of Life Sciences

Janna Pietikäinen, Vice-Dean for Academic Affairs, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Helsinki

Lisa Ploum, Chair of the ICA-Edu Special Interest Group (SIG) for Sustainable Entrepreneurship Education & Academic Coordinator Entrepreneurship, Wageningen University and Research 

Mieke Uyttendaele – Faculty Director of Education & Internationalisation, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, University of Ghent

ICA Standing Committee Representatives:

Rui Costa, Secretary General IFA & Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra (IPC)

Demetres Briassoulis, Chair ERABEE & Agricultural University of Athens

Wim Heijman, AGRIMBA & Wageningen University and Reserach Centre

Lukáš Pospíšil, Secretary General CASEE & Czech University of Life Sciences (CZU)

Corinne Stewart, Chair I.S.L.E

Norbert Weber, President SILVA & Technische Universität Dresden

In attendance

Dr Simon B Heath, ICA Secretary General:

Dr Andreas Zitek, Centre for Education, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) and Team Leader INTRINSIC Project





ICA Bioeconomy Committee Members

Gloessl website Professor Josef Glössl
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Austria
  Professor Gianluca Brunori
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa
Simon Heath2 Dr Simon B Heath
Secretary General
Association for European Life Science Universities (ICA)
Hole-website Professor Reid Hole
Lostak website Professor Michal Lostak
Vice Rector for International Relations
(Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague CULS, Czech Republic
  Professor Ulrich Schurr
Head of the Bioeconomy Science Centre
Institute for Bio- and Geosciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich
  Professor Cristina L.M. Silva
Faculty of Biotechnology, Catholic University of Portugal
  Professor Carmen Socaciu
Director of the Institute of Life Sciences
University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Cluj
Vice President of the Bioeconomy Commision at the Minstry of Research in Romania
DeWind website Professor Han de Winde
Vice Dean Faculty of Science
Universiteit Leiden
The Netherlands