12th November 2021: BiOrbic Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre, headquartered at University College Dublin (UCD), today launched their €2.3m Talent4BBI Marie Curie PhD COFUND programme. This is the first industry-led PhD/MSCA programme in Ireland and offers a unique opportunity for graduates to thrive in both industrial and academic research settings. The primary aim of Talent4BBI is to train a cohort of 11 highly skilled industry-ready Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) and equip them to lead the future of the European bio-based industry sector.

Bio-based industries are a key driver of innovation in the European Bioeconomy. The transformation of bio-based resources to everyday items such as packaging, paints, glues, cosmetics, and health promoting products are all important factors in driving our sustainable future. The sector has great potential to create new employment opportunities for European citizens. Leading edge PhD training in bio-based industries is therefore a critical necessity to help support the bio-based industries to produce the next generation of industry ready workers that can address the challenges and opportunities of the rapidly evolving European bioeconomy.

Talent4BBI provides a unique opportunity to train ESRs in developing these key skills, competencies and experience needed to support the growth of these bio-based industries. During the 60-month programme duration, 11 ESRs will undertake PhDs of 48 months co-hosted by industry and academia. The ESRs will be recruited and co-hosted by a consortium of 18 partners across 8 Member States and 1 Associated Country (8 universities and 10 leading bio-based industries) with a wealth of collective experience in training talented mobile researchers. 3 additional industry partners will contribute their expertise to the PhD training programme through summer and winter schools. The programme structure will enable graduates to thrive in an industrial and academic research setting and enhance ESR career opportunities in line with the MSCA COFUND work programme objectives. Talent4BBI’s selection process will be guided by principles of openness, transparency, merit, impartiality, and equality for the ESRs. Talent4BBI will impact the European Research Area through developing a uniquely qualified and career-driven talent pool, driving effective cooperation between industry and academia, and boosting the development of bio-based industries.

In launching the programme today, Director Professor Kevin O’Connor commented that “This PhD training network provides a great opportunity for students to perform leading edge research with industry. We are delighted with the leadership demonstrated by Industry in funding early-stage researchers and the support of the European commission to make the vision of Industry ready PhD graduates a reality.”

John Bell, Director Healthy Planet, DG Research & Innovation at European Commission speaking at today’s launch also noted the key importance that bioeconomy education has in making the transition to a more sustainable future a reality.

Positions for ESRs in this prestigious Industry-European Commission co-funded PhD training network based across Europe will open on November 30th . All details can be found on the programme website.