The first EU Bioremediation Projects Cluster Workshop was successfully convened on 28 June 2023 as a satellite event of the BioRemid2023 Conference. This workshop was organized by 7 ongoing and recently completed EU-funded projects working on bioremediation with the aim of sharing knowledge and experiences about innovative bioremediation techniques for cleaning up the environment in Europe, as well as creating the synergies needed for future work.
First bioremediation cluster workshop at BioRemid23
More than 100 participants were present both online and in person at the FHNW Campus in Muttenz, Switzerland, to listen to the project coordinators from 7 projects: SYMBIOREM, MIBIREM, BIOSYSMO, Nymphe, ELECTRA, EiCLaR and GREENER. Thomas Reichenauer of the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), as the scientific project Coordinator of MIBIREM, opened the workshop and introduced the MIBIREM project partners and the idea behind the innovative toolbox for microbiome-based bioremediation. The workshop was also addressed by a representative of the European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation in the context of the bioremediation policy.
The main questions and topics of the workshop included effective bioremediation technologies for different pollutants and the need for further testing and improvements. As suggested in the BIOSYSMO, NYMPHE, and MIBIREM projects, the employment of microbiomes in bioremediation processes offer good nature-based alternatives to conventional bioremediation techniques that are often too costly and time-consuming and not environmentally friendly. Finally, it was brought to the attention of the participants that a combination of bio-remediation technologies may be needed in specific cases. The use of optimisation tools, like artificial intelligence, to select them was therefore also introduced.
Call for more synergies and better data sharing
After the individual project presentations were completed, a lively debate was chaired by the BioRemid23 organiser, prof. Philippe Corivini, Lecturer of Environmental Biotechnology at the School of Life Sciences FHNW Institute for Ecopreneurship. The technical roundtable with coordinators stressed that a large amount of important bioremediation-related data has been produced over the past few years but there is no centralized platform. A common database would be very useful; however, the issue of data management is a complex one that requires additional funding and effort related to data collection, sharing, and alignment.
The presenters also discussed the need for harmonization of policies within the European Union (EU) to ensure consistency and facilitate cross-border activities. There was a common understanding that achieving full harmonization across policy areas is time-consuming and challenging, but that progress is being made through ongoing discussions, negotiations, and the adoption of common frameworks. Last but not least, participants mentioned the need for an initiative to carefully assess the results of the different EU projects over the last 10 years, in order to foster cooperation and knowledge transfer, and to ensure the work is not duplicated.
The EU Bioremediation Projects Cluster Workshop was successfully concluded by announcing the next workshop will take place as a side event of the 7th International Symposium on Biosorption and Biodegradation/Bioremediation – BioBio2024 taking place in Prague, from 16-20 June 2024.
The recording of the workshop is available here on Youtube.