The first meeting of the BRANCHES project was held on 02nd & 03rd of February as an online meeting. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Johanna Routa of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) as the coordinator of the BRANCHES project. The purpose of this kick-off meeting meeting was to officially start up the project, get to know the partners and also establish a common understanding of the project´s aims and tasks.
The first day of the kick-off meeting started with a welcome and introductory words by Antti Asikainen, Executive Vice President, Research at Luke. The project partners were also welcomed by Michael Wolf, Policy officer at the DG Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Commission.
BRANCHES coordinator Johanna Routa (Luke) provided an introduction of BRANCHES and the project management team. The project partners had then a chance to meet the Project Officer of the project, Agata Pieniadz from the Research Executive Agency at the European Commission. Agata Pieniadz have an overview to the project management, contractual obligations and REA expectations. Partners used the opportunity to ask questions from the policy & project officers.
An important part of this first meeting was the introduction of partners, facilitated by Miitta Eronen, Luke. Once the partners got to hear from each other, each work package (WP) was briefly introduced by a presentation of the respective WP leaders:
- WP1 ‐ Establishing and exploiting the BRANCHES knowledge exchange network and sub‐networks‐ Maider Gómez, CIRCE
- WP2 ‐ Cost‐ and resource‐efficient supply chains for sustainable biomass supply‐ Robert Prinz, Luke
- WP3 ‐ Cost‐Effective Bioeconomy Technologies integrated with Bioenergy Production‐ Elina Mäki, VTT
- WP4 ‐ Regional development models that support bioeconomy innovations‐ Laura Garcia, DBFZ
- WP5‐ Dissemination, Exploitation and Communication – Alberto Del Lungo, ITABIA
During the second day of the meeting, the partners focussed on concrete and practical management issues presented by Luke´s experts: Hanna Lindqvist provided insights to Contracts, Virpi Rämö presented Administration issues, Raili Keronen showed important parts of Financial issues and Ethics were introduced by Sari Torkko.
A key part of this session was a discussion between project partners followed by a summary & next steps concluded by the coordinator and WP leaders. After constructive and fruitful discussions, the work will continue in within the working packages.