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ValueBioMat reseach project studies the whole life cycle of plastics: bio-based and recycled plastic, novel 100 percent renewable materials, resource efficient production, digital technologies and on-site production, new business models, and policies supporting the sustainable change.
ValueBioMat reseach project studies the whole life cycle of plastics: bio-based and recycled plastic, novel 100 percent renewable materials, resource efficient production, digital technologies and on-site production, new business models, and policies supporting the sustainable change.

Strategic Research Council's continued funding to study sustainable change in plastic production and use

21.6.2022

Multidisciplinary ValueBioMat research project has been granted continued funding from the Strategic Research Council, established within the Academy of Finland. It studies how the whole value chain of plastic production and use could be made more sustainable. The Faculty of Law at the University of Lapland is one of the project partners, together with Aalto University, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.

The Strategic Research Council (SRC), established within the Academy of Finland, has granted continued funding to the consortia selected to the 2019 SRC programmes. One of the consortia is multidisciplinary ValueBioMat (Bio-oils based polymeric composites; value chain from synthesis to additive manufacturing), carried out by Aalto University, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), University of Lapland, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. It received funding of 2,000,810 euros for another three years' period during 2022–2025. The funding for the University of Lapland's project package, led by Professor Rosa Maria Ballardini, is 283,334 euros.

Currently plastics are produced mainly from fossil based raw materials and are not recycled to the full extent. The ValueBioMat project studies how we could make the whole value chain of plastic production and use more sustainable. How could the modern world make a comprehensive shift from fossil petrochemistry based polymeric materials to sustainable, renewable and carbon-binding ones, in order to enable resource efficient production and to foster re- and up-cycling of plastics?

In the ValueBioMat project, experts in fields ranging from chemistry to industrial engineering to law are seeking answers to this question. The project offers solutions based on the utilization of novel bio-based raw materials, especially plant oil derived materials. In addition of inventing novel materials, the research examines the merge of novel biopolymers with digital additive manufacturing technology. This new concept of using sustainable and renewable materials will have great socio-economic impacts; therefore, life cycle analysis, legal-ethical-policy issues and viable business models are co-created in collaboration with stakeholders, to speed up the application of bio-based and recycled plastics.

The Faculty of Law's research team focuses on the legislative and policy actions fostering resource wisdom. One of the main questions is: could we direct consumers and stakeholders toward the right path with policies such as incentives and regulations?

"We pay attention to private law, as environmental sustainability and related ethical values are not currently adequately reflected in this regime in Europe. Yet, private law plays a crucial role in fostering sustainable innovations and business models, especially in a market economy", says Rosa Maria Ballardini, Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Lapland.

"We identify missing or ill-defined regulatory frameworks and will propose more workable solutions for promoting the development and diffusion of sustainable innovations", Professor Ballardini continues.

In addition to Professor Rosa Maria Ballardini, the research team studying the legislative and policy actions includes Postdoctoral Researchers Anette Alén-Savikko, Jenna Päläs and Juha Vesala, and Researchers Emmanuel Salami, Corinna Casi and Mikko Kaunisvaara.

Further information:

Rosa Maria Ballardini, Professor of Intellectual Property Law and Vice-Dean (research), Faculty of Law, rosa.ballardini (at) ulapland.fi, Ballardini's research profile
ValueBioMat research project: valuebiomat.fi
Short introduction on ValueBioMat research on YouTube
News article of the continued funding (Academy of Finland)