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CBE JU boosts the bioeconomy again with 213 million euros

Third CBE JU call

As the European Union looks for ways to build a more sustainable and environmentally friendly production system, the bioeconomy is emerging as an alternative to respond to some of the current challenges in food, energy, agriculture, materials (textiles, construction, adhesives, etc.) and environmental protection using innovative bio-based solutions. In this context, the Circular Bio-Based Economy Joint Undertaking (CBE JU), a public-private initiative in the form of a European institutional partnership, launches this month its third call for proposals with a budget of 213 million euros. From 24 April to 18 September 2024, the most innovative projects in this field will be able to apply for the 18 topics in which the call is structured.

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“The CBE JU 2024 call represents a unique opportunity to boost the circularity of the European bioeconomy and promote a more sustainable and equitable development across the region in different strategic sectors,” highlights Damián Muruzábal, leader of the Food and Bioeconomy knowledge area at Zabala Innovation. “With a significant budget and a comprehensive approach, this initiative has the potential to generate lasting positive impacts on society and the environment, laying the foundations for a more prosperous and sustainable future for all people,” he adds.

Type of actions

The CBE JU funds three types of actions.

Innovation Actions (IA). They scale activities from prototyping to product validation and market replication. They typically have a duration of three to four years and a budget of between seven and 10 million euros per project. Innovation actions include Flagships, which deploy a unique innovation on an industrial scale in the European market, helping to shape pioneering production or transformation plants in Europe. Flagships are typically implemented in projects lasting four to five years and have the largest budgets, i.e. between 15 and 20 million each.

Research and Innovation Actions (RIA). They establish new knowledge or explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service, or solution. These may include basic and applied research, technology development and integration, testing, demonstration and validation in a small-scale prototype, laboratory, or simulated environment. Typically, these are projects with a duration of two to three years, with budgets of between three and five million euros each.

Coordination and Support Actions (CSA). They structure stakeholder communities, support technology visions and dissemination, and disseminate and exploit research results, among other things. These projects are more cross-cutting in nature than the previous ones, with a shorter duration (one or two years) and project budgets typically ranging from one to three million euros.

The 18 topics of the third CBE JU call

The CBE JU 2024 call addresses a wide range of strategic challenges in the field of the bioeconomy. From the valorisation of agricultural and forestry residues to the development of new bio-based materials and products, these actions are designed to address our society’s most pressing challenges and promote more sustainable and equitable development. The 18 topics of the call are divided into IA Flagships, IA, RIA, and CSA.


The results of the call are expected to be communicated in early February 2025 and successful applicants are expected to sign grant agreements in mid-May, according to the timetable published by the CBE JU.

Context and role of Zabala Innovation

Born in 2020 as the successor to the Bio-based Industries JU, the CBE JU is a two billion euros institutionalised partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC), in which Zabala Innovation participates as an associate member.

“Our consultancy is a leading player in the agri-food and bioeconomy sector, with more than 75 clients who trust us to manage their R&D projects from start to finish,” stresses Muruzábal, who points out that Zabala Innovation’s success rate in the CBE JU calls for proposals held to date has been 66%. In the entire Agri-Food and Bioeconomy area, the consultancy is also a partner in 10 projects.

“Our team of experts accompanies organisations of different types (technology centres, universities, SMEs or large industries) from different sectors in the preparation of the proposal (or, in certain cases, in a revision of the proposal specially adapted to the client’s needs), the management and support activities and their positioning as strategic European partners in their field,” he says.

One day before the launch of the call for proposals, the CBE JU will hold its infoday. On 23 April, both in person, at the Charlemagne building in Brussels (Belgium), and online, CBE JU experts will address the priorities and themes of the call, its rules and conditions, its specific requirements, and the submission and evaluation process.