Summer school

International BioBased Economy Student SymbioSUM (IBBESS) 2017 (1 day)

Are you the next-generation innovator?
Discover the Biobased Economy!

Are you interested in:
• Develop creative thinking and new business models.
• Experience new ways of learning in a fun way
• Receive job and internship opportunities
• Get prizes and recognition from your innovation

From the success of the first edition of the IBBESS event, the student board CESH is preparing a new edition. Join our board in Wageningen or participate in the 2nd edition in 2017! Send a mail to

Target group: Bachelors, Masters, PhDs and 4th year students of University of applied Sciences
Costs Conference: 7.00 (including lunch and drinks)
Maximum available spots: 40

Organised by IBBESS

Fri 16 June 2017 09:00 until Sat 17 June 2017 17:00

Duration Kick-off happened on the 20th of May

Young and creative students, like you, have a huge potential to help and solve challenges in the growing industry of a biobased economy. Are you the next innovator and enthusiastic about sustainability, circular and biobased economy? Then show us what you can do and be part of the SymbioSUM – the unique combination of a Conference and a ThinkTank on the BioBased Economy.

Join IBBESS and watch the after-movie here!

BioBased Economy - The Solution to a Global Problem

  • Clothes (polyester) - to wear that beautiful dress in summer
  • Guitar Strings (nylon) - to play those awesome tunes
  • Aspirin (ASA from benzene) - to recover from that harsh hangover
  • Chewing Gums (polyethylene) - to reduce the stress during exams

The oil will end and with it many items we use on a daily basis. We need to change the way we produce: the biobased economy is the way to go as it holds the potential to produce these products from sustainable biomass. A biobased economy can be described similar to IEA Bioenergy’s definition of biorefineries.

“A BioBased Economy is manufacturing all products based on renewable organic materials (i.e. biomass) into a spectrum of marketable products such as: energy, food/ feed, materials and chemicals.”

The video made by the Food and BioBased Research department of Wageningen University illustrates and explains such a biobased economy:

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To realize a biobased economy we need innovation, joint effort and new forms of cooperation. Most of the innovation is currently happening outside the student environment. From experience we know that students are eager to contribute to this transition and are looking for networking opportunities within companies. With the International Biobased Economy Students SymbioSUM (IBBESS) we provide the link between students and companies.

Our mission is to ‘connect you to the biobased economy’, by inviting ambitious students and key players of the biobased economy in a three day event with interactive discussions and real-life challenges provided by our collaborating multinational companies. We envision to ‘catalyze growth of the biobased economy by engaging you to become tomorrow’s experts’.


What is the SymbioSUM?

The International BioBased Economy Student SymbioSUM is a symbiosis of the sum of a Conference and a ThinkTank to achieve a richer experience than the sum of both parts.


By setting up an inspiring pro-active environment for student-expert interaction as well as networking opportunities we will provide you with the tools to become the innovators of a biobased economy of tomorrow. Through the topic of 2017 ‘Rethink Your Oil-Based Day’ you will challenge the status quo to implement biobased solutions in our daily life.

SymbioSUM - What is it all about?

The SymbioSUM features a one-day Conference where you interact with experts from politics/ policy, economy and science discussing current obstacles, developments and possible solutions for a biobased economy.

The second and third day, students from various backgrounds, will join their efforts to create innovative approaches to tackle three current challenges of companies within the biobased economy. This is the BioBased Economy ThinkTank.

In combination with the Conference, an environment is created which addresses challenges and possible solutions of a BioBased Economy. During the conference and ThinkTank you will have the opportunity to talk to and network with numerous companies.

Programme - To be announced

Small Students Groups

Participants of the SymbioSUM are (inter)national bachelor and master students from university or univeristy of applied sciences (HBO). They form teams of multidisciplinary students. To give you the opportunity to easily connect with your fellow students, IBBESS creates small groups with only three people. The organisation will take care of a well balanced mix between various backgrounds from technical, economical and social studies to tackle problems through a holistic approach. Besides all the hard work in the SymbioSUM, there will be room for having relaxed dinners and of course enjoy the IBBESS parties together!


  • Discuss and understand topics of a biobased economy
  • Sharpen your knowledge on the company challenges
  • Network with experts and companies

Confirmed Speakers of 1st edition

During the first day, you will become more familiar with the current status of the biobased economy. International speakers with various expertise will explain challenges and opportunities within the field using hands-on examples. But don’t worry, you will not just sit back and listen to TED-Talk like speeches. During the SymbioSUM you will take part of lively dialogues to question, challenge and confirm issues with students and experts. The conference will make you “Rethink Your Oil-Based Day” and challenge you to break the status quo of dependency on fossil resources by applying biobased solutions in your daily life.

Description of The Conference

The conference day is divided in 3 blocks: Building a Biobased Economy, Biobased Industries and Biobased Society. They day is mixed with interactive discussions and stands to reflect on learning outcomes.

Building a BioBased Economy

Although the transition towards a biobased economy is much more than technological advancements, the first block focuses on the principles that need to be met to be truly biobased. Therefore you get in touch with promising technologies and keywords of the biobased economy.

Biobased Industries

From discussing this theoretical framework the next session will show the real practice. It will give an analysis of the present market and projections for the four pillars of a BioBased Economy: Food, Fuel, Chemicals and Materials. Next you get introduced to innovative small and medium enterprises as well as large multinational companies of the biobased economy.

Biobased Society

The last part is all about accelerating transition. A technical and economic background is not enough to explain radical changes. That is why the influence of politics / policy advice and transition management are elaborated. The biobased economy will be put in perspective to a circular economy and sustainability.


Interested in organising? Mail

Biobased Economy ThinkTank

  • Absorb, Think, Act!
  • A glimpse into real-life company problems
  • Prove companies the value of student input
  • Translate your raw idea into a convincing business case pitch

The BioBased Economy ThinkTank is a 2-day event organized in collaboration with a creativity coaching company, and collaborating (multi)-national companies working in the biobased economy. As we believe in translating ideas into action you will join forces with fellow students from various disciplines to create novel approaches that provide solutions to the company challenges (to be announced). You will work closely together with company representatives and Teach to Fish facilitators that guide you through the creative process. This is your chance to show how your ideas can contribute to their procedures and daily business.

Kick-off day

This is the moment to meet your co-creators, receive an in depth description of the company challenge and we will provide you with the right tools to start the sensing phase and prepare for the event.

Preparatory Period

We have taught you how to explore the problem, that means time for action! In the preparatory period you have time to delve deep into the challenge and ‘sense’ what the core problem of the challenge is. We host virtual update moments to see what your team members are up to and facilitate a company visit with representatives of the company you are collaborating with. All in order to stimulate the innovation process.

How Do You Extract the Information You Need?

During the event we teach you how to efficiently address questions to experts to extract the wanted and valuable information. The Conference part of the SymbioSUM serves as the perfect moment to get insights into expert opinions and test your vision on the challenge.

Evaluation Moments

At the end of the Conference day, a whole day of active sensing, we ask the brainstorm groups to individually evaluate the day shortly and write down their top findings of the day. These will be shared with the group on the walls of the main location, so everyone will be able to keep track of the progress that has been made on their challenge. Maximum interactivity for better results!


At the final day each group will pitch their ideas towards the stakeholders and the winning teams are announced.

Company Challenges (to be announced)

Application Procedure

You like the idea of IBBESS and you would like to join our SymbioSUM? The official application is closed, but you can already show interest by mailing

Apply Now


Most importantly, participants should be interested in the topic of biobased economy. We are looking for creative and innovative thinkers, that can work in an interdisciplinary and English setting. During the event your entrepreneurial mindset and skills as a team player will be stimulated. The event is for bachelor, master and pHD's. Also bachelors of universities of applied sciences are welcome.

Application Opening and Deadline

Registration deadline: 10 May 2017

If you have any further questions, send a mail to

Practical Information for Participants

Check out our brochure

Check out our Terms & Conditions

Sponsors and Partners

Organising IBBESS without the support of our sponsors and partners would not be possible. We are grateful and proud to announce our supporters. In the ´Sponsors and Partners´ you can see the most up-to-date list of organisations we collaborate with.

We are proud to announce our main sponsor: CBBE

The Centre for Biobased Economy (CBBE) aims to educate the experts that are needed for a successful transition from an economy that runs on fossil fuels to an economy that runs on biomass feedstock.
The Centre for Biobased Economy (CBBE) aims to educate the experts that are needed for a successful transition from an economy that runs on fossil fuels to an economy that runs on biomass feedstock.

Collaboration Opportunities


  • Do you have a challenging task that needs to be worked out in your company?
  • How would you like 30 talented international students to brainstorm on a multidisciplinary challenge of your company?

Create a tailor made Challenge in our BioBased Economy ThinkTank with us. For further information please contact:

Company Stands

  • Is your company or start-up currently busy with innovation in the biobased industry?
  • Would you like to share your story with motivated students and potential future employees?

During the conference day, there will be room for pitches of inspiring companies and initiatives. If you are interested, please contact:


  • Would you like to be our sponsor?

For further information contact: Download the Funding Packages Connect with us on LinkedIn!


The initial idea to create an event about raising awareness for a biobased economy was developed by Mario Beck. Together with Bart Emons (co-founder), the two set a course for engaging 30 highly motivated students at Wageningen University who want to facilitate change! We come from various backgrounds ranging from biotechnology to management of both bachelor’s and master's level. Since February 2015 we are establishing IBBESS as the event for student-expert networking within the biobased economy.

Advisory Board

A body of experts from industry, academia and policy advice/ politics is overseeing the development of IBBESS and giving strategic advice. Here is what they have to say:


To stay in touch with the current developments, please sign up for the Newsletter, like us on Facebook or write an email to Don't forget to tell your friends about IBBESS, you have the chance to come together!


Do you have any questions after reading the website? Please, check the link below to see if someone before you had the same question. If you cannot find your question here, feel free to send an email to 


Courses Wageningen Summer School

Platinum Sponsor

The Centre for Biobased Economy (CBBE) aims to educate the experts that are needed for a successful transition from an economy that runs on fossil fuels to an economy that runs on biomass feedstock.