Bioeconomy in Poland is receiving significant attention both from state and local governments as well as society. This issue is however still perceived differently by these stakeholders to the expected understanding by European Union. In the scope of the BioBIGG project the team from Gdansk University of Technology (GUT) has carried out activities in the form of direct discussions with state and local governments on the issues related to implementation of bioeconomy in the state as well as at the regional level. Both partners seemed to be very open for discussions related to that issue, nevertheless there were found significant gaps in communication between the national and local representatives of the government. The state government was taking the position that legal and administrative aspects were not the most important issues when considering bioeconomy. In their opinion there are several challenges outside of the legislative area that need a special attention before starting legal and administrative work, such as increasing the eco-awareness of customers, putting more pressure towards producers to realize the benefits of using the “eco” raw materials instead of the classic ones, and to overcome the economic issues of using initially more expensive raw materials. Hence, the whole life cycle of a product should be taken into account (for example, the type of raw material from which the product is made, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere during its production), not just its production related costs. Finally, the new university courses should be established to increase the competence and awareness of both customers and producers in the field of bioeconomy.

Contrary to that approach the local government of the Pomeranian region stated during discussions that in Poland, the problem is mainly related to administrative and legislative issues – an example of this are the procedures to be followed in order to be able to use waste as raw materials in subsequent processes. In other European Union countries, the loss of waste status is obtained on the basis of relevant regulations, while in Poland, according to the provisions of the Waste Act, it is the case pursuant to individual decisions. The condition for receiving such a decision is, among others, proving on the basis of scientific research that the given object or substance meets the technical requirements for specific purposes and the requirements set out in the relevant regulations and standards, and that there is a demand for the product and that it is safe for the environment. These procedures are time-consuming, and it is also necessary to take into account securing claims (as well as, for example, fire-fighting operations), which increase the costs associated with introducing a given product to the market and, at the same time, discourage entrepreneurs from investing in innovative biotechnologies. Legal and administrative procedures are too complex and national laws and regulations would need to be changed – these are basic steps without which no further action can be taken.

Another problem reported by the local authorities is the low awareness of entrepreneurs and the lack of information flow – no group has been established in the region that could create a platform for the exchange of knowledge on the bioeconomy. Such a platform would facilitate exchange of information between institutions, which could cooperate in order to effectively develop / implement the bioeconomy. Local authorities also see a certain role of Pomeranian universities in promoting issues related to the bioeconomy. The transformation towards bioeconomy should go hand in hand with financial resources allocated for this purpose – financial outlays are needed to implement innovative solutions and change the awareness of entrepreneurs. Certain financial resources for this purpose will be provided in the nearest financial perspective under regional operational programs.

Fortunately at the termination of the BioBIGG project there started regional discussions related to the establishment of the recommendations and responsibilities of the region in spending yet another round of finances acquired from the EU from two programmes, namely for EFS and EFRR. Bearing in mind the EU objectives for promotion of bioeconomy as well as expectations related to that issue, as well as the barriers in Poland, the BioBIGG partners from GUT got actively involved into the definition of the objectives for the regional programme (2021-2027) for the development of the Pomeranian Region. In the former period the issue of bioeconomy was not at all present in the agenda. That made the task of putting most of the beforehand presented aspects a little easier to incorporate into the financial perspective. In the document which has already been accepted at the local parliament level the bioeconomy is embedded into the more general theme, namely to the topic of circular economy but with clear highlighting of bioeconomy. There are resources planned to be assigned to increasing of the public awareness as well as entrepreneurial investments into that topic. Obviously that success is not only due to the mere action of BioBIGG activities, there were other lobbying parties involved in the theme of circular economy, but in our opinion GUT has presented a very clear statement on this topic and can be regarded as a part of success.