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01 Aug 2011 03:08:34

Lead Market Initiative signals new era for bio-based products

The EU has published its final evaluation of the Lead Markets Initiative (LMI), which it says will lead to a greater emphasis on the "demand-side stimulation of innovation".

The LMI is a far-reaching European policy, designed to stimulate the development of bio-based products. It focuses on six important markets: eHealth, protective textiles, sustainable construction, recycling, bio-based products and renewable energies.

The LMI supports these sectors by introducing actions which lower barriers and bring new products or services onto the market. This primarily involves policy instruments that deal with regulation, public procurement, standardisation and supporting activities.

The NNFCC, together with other leading European organisations, have been working to develop the LMI and support the burgeoning bio-based sector. As Dr Adrian Higson, head of biorefining at the NNFCC, explains "We are delighted that our efforts to develop this novel and world-leading initiative will soon be producing tangible benefits."

"We are particularly pleased that the LMI will see a shift in EU innovation policy focus to a demand-side approach, where LMI tools such as standardisation, public procurement and regulation will be vital tools to create a more innovative Europe."

The final evaluation of the LMI concluded that the major strength of the LMI is "its potential to focus on a relatively restricted number of inter-related policy issues". The report says that the selection of each market was relevant for the EU level but could also be used at national and regional levels. In addition, the choice of instruments was appropriate, and provided justifiable EU-added value in most instances.

While the report indicates that action plans have mostly been delivered, and promising results were evident, the challenge now will be to follow-up these actions so that they can have a lasting impact.

For more information on the LMI and to read the final evaluation report, please visit ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/policy/lead-market-initiative/final-eval_en.htm

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