Shared research facilities, a proven method to enhance innovation

Published on
September 26, 2022

Sharing research facilities is a proven method to promote innovation and make facilities available and cost-effective for both users and providers. A good example is the AlgaePARC, a shared facility, located on Wageningen Campus, for the development of microalgae production and biorefinery technologies. This Dutch pilot facility collaborates with SMEs, in order to develop new technologies that can accelerate progress towards a green, circular economy.

Acknowledging the importance of microalgae in the transition to a green and circular economy, the EU recently granted financial support to AlgaePARC under its REACT-EU programme, allowing SMEs to further develop their innovative technologies in this joint facility. Two companies - FUMI and Algreen - have been established based on research conducted at AlgaePARC. Three other SMEs are currently using AlgaePARC's facilities.

Maria Barbosa, director AlgaePARC explains: AlgaePARC 2.0 will be able to provide access to new screening systems that can select algae strains faster, and the facility will also develop a biorefinery unit capable of isolating functional ingredients, as well as biomass. Production and testing capacity will also be expanded at laboratory, pilot and demonstration scale, and innovative sensors will be introduced to improve product quality."

The funding application was supported by the Bioprocess Engineering chair group and the Shared Research Facilities team at Wageningen University & Research in collaboration with FoodValley NL.

Petra Roubos, Manager Shared Research Facilities at Wageningen University & Research says: ‘Demand for these facilities is growing, so AlgaePARC needs to make new investments and has to increase its capacity to accommodate SMEs and start-ups’. Roubos emphasises: that ‘these organisations are able to accelerate the roll-out of their innovations thanks to the additional space to test and develop new technologies for microalgae production, biorefinery and product development'.

Roubos continues: 'Investments in the development phase are sometimes of high- risk. It is difficult for individual companies to secure that kind of funding. By sharing facilities, companies can spread these financial risks’.

Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University & Research are working closely together to encourage the shared use of research facilities by companies and institutions. Through the Shared Facility Finder, an online platform with live support, the best research equipment, scale-up and production, development and testing facilities are brought together making it easy for companies and institutions to find these facilities. Advice is also offered on funding opportunities to help with the purchase of a new facility.

We are happy to help you to

  • find the best facility for your needs;
  • include your facility in our range of shared facilities;
  • explore funding opportunities and/or find potential partners to co-invest in a new facility.

Please contact us at shared research facilities.