About the Region

  • The bioeconomy in Estonia is rather traditional and Estonia hasn’t exploited the full potential of biomass to create maximum added value from it, so a great potential is left to contribute more to sustainable economic development and the Green Transition. The main domains where Bioeconomy is involved are: Agriculture and Food sectors, Forestry, Energy and Marine resources.
  • Also, the country has developed the Climate Change Adaption Development Plan. In the Education domain, there is a dedicated governmental strategy, comprising several action plans and having a solid structure and governance.
  • To mention the Action Plan for Environmental Education and Awareness, the Education Policy Development Plan, the Welfare Development Plan, and the Development Plan for Research and Development, innovation and Entrepreneurship (TAIE), all operate at multiple educational levels.
About the Region Image

Thematic Orientation

  • Existing Sub-Sectors
    • Energy Sector
    • Agriculture and food sector
    • Forestry
    • Marine resources
  • Key Trends Influencing Innovation
    • The most optimal way to maintain the competitiveness, and increase the added value and innovation potential of the Estonian Bioeconomy is additional specialization and increasing the added value in new emerging and fast-growing areas of the Bioeconomy (e.g. the digital and green revolution of agriculture, applications and business models of synthetic biology, and biotechnological breakthroughs in the food system and exploitation of resources) 
    • Another possibility is the niche development
    • The common nominator for most Bioeconomy sectors is the need for higher valorization of resources and products 
    • The use of bioresources is increasingly moving from traditional chains to rather horizontal ones
    • Estonian bioresource potential, it is estimated that, compared to the present, Estonia’s wood resources will decrease significantly by 2050 due to the dynamics of harvesting maturity. At the same time, plant biomass and meat and milk production have the potential to grow
    • The blue economy is a great development engine opportunity for Estonia, especially for Saaremaa. The sustainable blue economy contains very big ambitions and on the other hand, it offers opportunities to create new business models
  • Expected Sub-Sectors / Value Chains
    • Areas of priority in the Development Plan of Agriculture and Fisheries 2030 are:
      • The use of residues and by-products as a valuable resource
      • Aquaculture and marine farming also have great development potential
      • Setting up biorefineries suitable for primary producer
    • Development Plan „Estonia 2035“has priorities
      • Making Estonia a recognized centre for the development of the Bioeconomy in Europe
      • Support innovation cooperation between companies and R&D institutions
      • Technologies and innovation of marine resources
  • Opportunities for advancement (Growth, Career, Social etc.)
    • Exploitation of the applied research results (projects implemented by the BIOEAST HUB members)
    • Education possibilities
    • Paid Jobs are another. (The income in the region is historically below average and paid jobs are a good opportunity)
    • Own enterprise (start-up, spin-off) established with the support of the regional university
    • Employment in an existing company focused on the production/processing of renewable biological resources.

Governance, Education levels & Skills

  • Governance structure in adult education on Bioeconomy, or on the wider topic of sustainability (Higher Education, Vocational Training etc.)
    • Existing Policies – Strategies 
      • Action plan for environmental education and awareness 2023–2025
      • Education Policy Development Plan 2035
      • The strategy “Estonia 2035”
      • Welfare Development Plan 2016-2023
  • Development plan for research and development, innovation and entrepreneurship (TAIE) 2021–2035
  • Governance Model – Regulation – Legislation 
    • Ministry of Education in Cooperation with Ministries of Environment, Ministry of Finance (the national Maritime Spatial Planning authority), Ministry of Rural Affairs, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
    • Adult Education on Bioeconomy comprises
      • General Secondary Education
      • Vocational Education
      • Higher Education
      • Refresher Training
  • Organization of Adult and Lifelong Learning
    • RITA project ADDVAL-BIOEC has stressed the importance of education regarding the bioeconomy. Stating that Estonian science and higher education must follow what is happening at the forefront of biosciences and technologies and develop capabilities that allow for the rapid adoption, testing and further development of technologies created elsewhere.
    • Fisheries information centre has been created and a unit that organizes the provision of advisory services all over the country in the field of agriculture has also been created
    • Museums and their educational programs are closely related to national curricula and contribute to raising awareness in society
    • Supporting lifelong learning is important to improve employees’ knowledge, which would support innovation capacity
  • Available Research on Bioeconomy Education
    • There are some trainings offered by different trainers. For instance, Teeme Ära SA has offered training, which gives a broader overview of what environmental issues and green skills mean in today’s world and how they are related to other issues. On the practical side, the focus is on how to develop green skills, e.g. recognizing greenwashing, asking critical questions, making greener choices in various areas
  • Main Training, Retraining or Lifelong Learning on Sustainability
    • Estonian University of Life Sciences 
      • Bioeconomy Development Centre (BioMAK)
      • European Master in Biological and Chemical Engineering for a Sustainable Bioeconomy
    • Tallinn University of Technology
      • Business and Innovation Center (Mektory) 
    • University of Tartu
    • Estonian Academy of Arts
    • Järvamaa Vocational Education Centre
    • Estonian Environmental Education Association
  • Available Research on Bioeconomy skills needed
    • Risk management skills – To encourage the implementation of risk management measures. Very important to increase awareness of the necessity of risk management and develop the corresponding skills.
    • Product development skills – Demand-adaptive production requires a high-level skill, like the application of creativity, knowledge of new production processes and techniques, and market and consumption trends.
    • Quality management
    • Data analysis
    • Design thinking

Linking Art & Bioeconomy Education

  • Bioeconomy education in which Art concepts are applied
    • Art to simulate the Bioeconomy needed skills:
      • Estonian Academy of Arts is the only public University in Estonia providing higher education in art, design, architecture, media, art history and conservation-restoration. Research activities focus on, for example, on the sustainability of the historical environment, as well as material and technology research. 
      • Sustainable Design and Materials Lab (DiMa) connects research and teaching activities with sustainable product development and design practices and brings together two research
      • Designers collective Studio Aine, which is a materials design and development
    • Art to address differenti learning style and facilitate inclusioni of marginalized people:
      • Bioeconomy, biotechnology and biomedicine hackathon – Bioinnovation hackathon
      • BioHackaton as a side event of sTARTUp Day
      • Marinehack- for the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions in maritime
      • The art contest “Useful art?! Sustainable work” organized by the Estonian Academy of Arts for high school students
      • Estonian Academy of Arts started with the series of discussion evenings Design Thought 2022
    • Inspirational case studies and formats from art and design to educate in the Bioeconomy:
      • Sustainable building art: exhibition “ELEMENTary”
      • The exhibition “Ceremony on Algae” held by Estonian Academy of Arts
      • TAB 2017 was the architectural event of the Tallinn Architecture Biennale
      • Exhibition of recycling “Give a new life”
      • Traveling exhibition which introduced Bioeconomy “Bio-Age – Wooden Future”
      • The exhibition “Effective material. Design and new technologies”
      • Tallinn Design Festival
    • Injection the Bioeconomy in design, art, architetture, etc.
      • Art exhibition “Effective material. Design and new technologies”
      • In Estonia it is also possible to study arts embedded with the sustainability, circularity and Bioeconomy.
      • Companies and designers, using biomaterials or recycled materials in the production:
        • Gelatex
        • Myceen

Marginal Groups

  • Working with which marginalised, disadvantaged, minority groups is prioritised?
    • The following groups can be considered as a priority
    • Young adults and NEET youth. They face great risks in the labour market. In the case of insufficient professional training or lack of previous work experience, young people are at greater risk of being permanently employed in low-paid, casual or precarious jobs, leading to a weaker sense of social security
    • Rural communities – especially Ida-Viru County and island communities, which are related to blue Bioeconomy (e.g., Saaremaa)
    • Ukraine war refugees
  • Relevant Jobs and/or Opportunities for Inclusion of Marginal Groups
    • New value chains, such as clean energy, Bioeconomy, circular economy, eco-tourism, are the key areas that, with skilful implementation (including more skilful use of the region’s resources and specificities, innovative production methods and business models, export of valued products) and promotion, can ensure good economic growth in rural areas and maintain and create jobs also outside agriculture. 
    • Both sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry are strategic sectors in the development of this potential. Combining sectors and increasing resource efficiency is increasingly important in the field of Bioeconomy, where Estonia’s great potential is currently underutilized.
  • Main needs of individuals of marginalised groups integrating them into Bioeconomy
    • In order for the population of rural areas to be active and viable in 2030, and for the rural area to have diverse businesses with growing added value supporting the population, the comprehensive development of the living and business environment of rural areas must be ensured. 
    • Active people are motivated to live and work in the countryside with a living and business environment that enables self-fulfilment, the presence of jobs offering higher added value.  
    • More than ever, attention must be paid to the possibilities of the living environment and their promotion, as well as to the development of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activity
  • Existing educational/development activities for marginalized groups for Integration to Bioeconomy activities
    • Ida-Viru just transition fund has a priority to develop employees’ (green) skills. Ida-Viru green plan brings together 34 activities for the development of the county, including the development of renewable energy, energy efficiency, circular, bio and blue economy

SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS

  • Wide spectrum of sectors involved
  • Competitiveness based on Innovation
  • Increasing transition to horizontal value chains
  • Blue Economy
  • Increase of employment / available job positions
  • Existing Educational Strategies – Defined policies and a well-structured Governance
  • Existing of lateral opportunities, Life-Long learning, Vocational training, mass information etc.
  • Substantial overlapping between the Bioeconomy Education Institutions and Art related institutions

WEAKNESSES

  • Not fully valorized resources and products
  • Bioeconomy not fully aligned with the socioeconomic priorities of the country
  • Lack of a National Strategy on Bioeconomy
  • Fragmentation of activities and priorities. Lack of an organizational umbrella
  • Not an advanced research on Bioeconomy Education

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Expansion in many ways, considering also the geopolitical situation
  • Further exploitation of the developed digital background
  • Making Estonia a recognized centre of Bioeconomy development in Europe
  • Benefitting from the existing Educational background
  • Estonia can become a pioneer in European scale in matters of Bioeconomy and/for Art thanks to the existing affinity and interaction among the related insttutions

THREATS

  • Potential decrease of resources by 2050 due to dynamic harvesting
  • A potential brain-drain due to the lack of motivation
  • Young people lacking a specialized education and some rural communities are reported as marginalized groups. As a matter of fact, these are not truly marginal groups, and their integration should be a societal priority in order to avoid an eventual “marginalization”

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