Developing the bioeconomy model region

Developing the bioeconomy model region

The further development of the "Bioeconomy Model Region in the Rhineland" is to be supported by comprehensive accompanying research. The experience is also intended to benefit other regions.

Absetzer im Tagebau Hambach im Rheinischen Braunkohlerevier
Model regions of the bioeconomy are to be created where lignite was once mined. (in picture: Hambach open pit mine)

The decision to phase out coal has been taken. Coal regions such as Lusatia and the Rhineland must realign their economies. With the "Structural Strengthening Act for Coal Regions", the German government is therefore supporting areas that are particularly affected by the coal phase-out. It is not only alternative energy sources that are being promoted here. Support is also provided for the development of new, particularly climate-efficient industries aimed at sustainable production methods and the creation of future-oriented jobs.

Precisely with the help of the bioeconomy, the overarching goals of the Coal Phase-out Act and the Coal Regions Structural Strengthening Act can be achieved. The Rhenish Mining District fulfils important preconditions for establishing a model region with a focus on the bioeconomy. These include a network of relevant research institutions that have joined forces in the Bioeconomy Science Center, industrial players in various bioeconomic value chains, and the availability of biogenic resources in a traditional agricultural landscape. Therefore, in August 2019, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched the „Modellregion BioökonomieREVIER Rheinland“ ("BioeconomyREVIER Rhineland Model Region") as one of the first measures. This initiative is intended to help turn the former coal-mining region into a model region that favors closed material cycles and circular economy and that establishes new value creation in the field of bioeconomy.


Pushing ahead with research

The new funding guideline is primarily intended to drive forward accompanying research. The aim is to continuously monitor and analyze the development of the bioeconomy model region as a whole and, in particular, the interaction and hurdles in the application of new knowledge, and to make the experience gained available to other regions and application contexts.

Impulses for structural change and the bioeconomy

The guideline for "Funding of accompanying research for the model region bioeconomy in the Rhenish Revier" aims at bringing together the different innovations and actors in the model region. For this reason, a network of public and private institutions is being funded to accompany the model region and address important questions and aspects that are of particular importance for the success of the bioeconomy model region. The network is to take up results from the RDI projects in the bioeconomy model region and investigate their effect on structural change.The results from the accompanying research are to provide impulses for other regions affected by structural change as well as for the entire field of the bioeconomy, while at the same time collecting and analyzing empirically measurable progress with regard to key economic indicators, sustainability and climate protection.  The tasks of the network also include the establishment of an administrative office as well as the organization and implementation of annual status conferences, the development of measures for national and international networking with other actors as well as dialogue and participation initiatives.   

Funding period of up to five years

The funding period is initially up to five years, but can be extended. Eligible applicants are universities and non-university research and science institutes, federal and state institutions with research responsibilities, technology transfer institutions based in Germany and German public corporations, as well as commercial enterprises, including in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The BMBF has commissioned the project management organization Jülich to handle the funding measure. Contact persons are Immanuel Zitzmann ( and David Fischer ( The application procedure has a single stage. Applications for funding must be submitted via the electronic application system „easy-Online“ by May 31, 2021.