SmartPilots – Interreg Europe

Shared pilot facilities to strengthen industrial biotech and the European bioeconomy

SmartPilots’ objective is to improve regional policies in support of Shared Pilot Facilities to increase their impact within the deployement on the Key Enabling Technology (KET) Industrial Biotech and the bioeconomy.

The bioeconomy adresses societal challenges such as climate change, sustainable economic growth and energy independence. The bioeconomy enables the sustainable production of chemicals, pharmaceutical products, materials, food, feed and energy from renewable raw materials. Shared pilot facilities are open access test sites that bring bioeconomy innovations from the laboratory into industrial practice. They are open to all companies and research institutes, and can thus be seen as shared investments in innovation equipment. They have proven to be successful in helping innovators, especially SMEs, to bridge the so called Valley of Death, i.e. the innovation phase between between laboratory and successful market introduction that comes with a high technological and financial risk. Typically, initial funding from governments is available to build a Shared Pilot Facility, but it is a challenge to safeguard their long-term existence, especially since bioeconomy is relatively new and dedicated policies are currently lacking in many regions.

In SmartPilots, regional policies will be improved to provide support in a cost‑effective and impact oriented manner. This will be done by:

  • optimizing direct support for shared pilot facilities
  • optimizing indirect support i.e. direct support for users of shared pilot facilities
  • by facilitating interregional cooperation regarding Shared Pilot Facilities


Phase 1 (2016 – 2018)

The project partners, regions that locate a SPF or have a high interest and SPFs, make a thorough regional analysis of availability and use of funding mechanisms for SPF and their users (through study visits and questionnaires to relevant stakeholders). During three interregional seminars, the results of these analyses will be discussed and best‑practices will be exchanged. The findings of the seminars will be summarized in Regional Factsheets which will be used to draw up regional action plans.

Phase 2 (2018 – 2020)

Regional implementation of the action plans and monitoring of the results of the implementation.

Project information

Projekt titel

SmartPilots – Interreg Europe


Project duration

April 2016 – March 2020


Project partners

  • Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (Belgium)
  • Department of Economy, Science and Innovation from Flanders (Belgium)
  • Centre for Process Innovation from Tees Valley (UK)
  • VTT from Helsinki Uusimaa (Finland)
  • Bioprocess Pilot Facility (the Netherlands)
  • Provincie Zuid Holland (the Netherlands)
  • Innovhub SSI from Lombardy (Italy)


Case studies

  • Agro-industrie recherches et développements ARD (France)
  • Fraunhofer  Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP (Leuna, Germany)


Project budget

€ 1.479.125


We would like to thank the Interreg Europe for funding the project “SmartPilots“.