Living Lab and the Biobased Economy

By:DeputyRepresentative Belo Horizonte
Business Opportunities | News


mar 2015

The state of Minas Gerais prominence in agrarian studies is a result of decades of investments in its Universities and Technical Institutes that have contributed to the better usage of the soil and new practises in its vast countryside. On the other side, The Netherlands, a country that has learned from its natural demands, has proven to be a leading source of applied sciences and technologies for agrarian best practises. The combination of both efforts has evolved in the Living Lab initiative.

Living Lab Biobased Brazil is an initative by Nuffic and the Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy (CoE BBE). It is a triple helix cooperation between Minas Gerais and the South-West of The Netherlands (the Biobased Delta, Vlissingen – Breda – Den Bosch). It’s focused on biobased education and applied research, mostly on (open) innovation in biobased chemistry, economy and society. The Living Lab is an education and applied research platform for (undergraduate) students, lecturers, researchers and professors from several Brazilian and Dutch universities (of applied sciences).

The students work in Brazilian-Dutch couples on biobased student projects. These can be a 20 week internship or research assignments for a university, enterprise or NGO in Minas Gerais or Noord-Brabant/Zeeland. But these can also be group projects within a minor or MOOC. Together with professors and (senior) researchers the students are also involved in applied research programs with enterprises and NGO’s. These applied research programs are based on a future ‘jointed’ research agenda.


All education projects and applied research are in the field of the biobased economy. The focus areas are: water technology, agro & food, green chemistry and sustainable environment. The focus areas can be extended by triple-helix partners.


Another view on the biobased economy is the so called ‘value pyramid’. This biobased economy’s value pyramid indicates that biomass value is determined by its application. In a proper functioning market, the value and price of biomass will be reflected by its application value.

Value pyramid

“After refinery, each individual component will have its own application and economic value. As a result, biomass can obtain a higher economic value than without such separation options. Bio-refinery focussed on optimal value utilization means that you first isolate those substances or materials that can be used in high quality products and that have higher values.

Residues can be used for application in products with a (presumably) lower value than, such as feedstock or production of second-generation biofuels for road-transport, marine or aviation. Remaining residues than can be converted into energy, in particular electricity. The sum of the highest possible economic values of all the various components of biomass, make that biomass as a product can have a higher value for the producers than if the entire product is used only for production of electricity or heat”.


Living Lab Biobased Brazil gives enterprises the possibility to improve their human capital agenda. Living Lab Biobased Brazil can offer enterprises:

  1. Supply for cheap labour by young professionals by internships;
  2. Professional support in the areas of (new) knowledge from universities;
  3. Applied research projects that is funded by Brazilian, Dutch or European funds;
  4. International network regards the Biobased Economy from both sides of the world.


A (graduating) internship for  Brazilian and Dutch undergraduate students has a duration of 20 weeks. Within these 20 weeks the student works in a duo on an assignment that is driven by an enterprise. With this graduating assignment, the enterprise is not mandatory to pay a fee. It is desirable that the enterprise takes care of housing and a work area.  Students get practical experiences by working for a public or private enterprise that facilitates the last steps for a student before graduating.  The graduating assignment is in the context of the Biobased Economy or Bio-economy. Students contribute to this transition by doing applied research in the form of a graduating assignments.


One of the signees of this innovative triple helix cooperation is the Federation of Industry of the State of Minas Gerais – FIEMG. FIEMG is actively supporting the Living Lab in Belo Horizonte, by giving access to its members and detailed information. Dutch companies that are interested to make use of the services of the Living Lab Biobased in Brazil or in the Netherlands or to get more information on how they can join in with the benefits of this triple helix network can contact the Living Lab Biobased through the contact-form at the referred website or contact NBSO Brazil.

Source and more info at:


Sergipe Street nº1167 – Room 1502 Funcionários – BH/MG CEP: 30130-171

(31) 3504-3381