The initiative run by ECOSTAR and co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, aims to promote entrepreneurship and innovation skills in the forestry sector and, more specifically, in Markets and Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (MEEB) by creating university-business links and opportunities among research institutes and companies at European level.
This ECOSTAR project will specifically target Italy, Spain, England and Romania.
The project aims to fulfill the following objectives:
- Creating a strong university-business partnership at EU level in order to make the knowledge triangle work and facilitate the exchange among front runner researchers and business in the field of MEEB.
- Fostering innovation capacity and entrepreneurship skills in the field of MEEB among Forest and Environmental Policy and Economics (FEPE) university departments in Europe.
- Increasing the capacity of higher education institutions (researchers), start-ups (PhD) and businesses (entrepreneurs) to exploit the potential for marketable process, methods and services, to promote sustainable businesses in the field of MEEB.
Preferred by Nature leads the Working Package 6 of the project: ECOSTAR research-enterprise alliance and fundraising, in which the main goal is to launch the ECOSTAR Impact Hub, a research-enterprise network at EU level acting as an incubator and accelerator for innovative ideas on business models that market biodiversity and ecosystem services. The WP6 also involves the coordination of dissemination and fundraising activities. Preferred by Nature is, among other things, part of the project activities because of our expertise within ecosystem services, with a special focus on our experience with Forest and Carbon certification.
Ecosystem Services Thematic Areas
The project focuses on four main thematic areas:
- Natural Capital Accounting: The main focus is on understanding business models that add value to the natural capital and the ecosystem services as a competitive market strategy.
- Wild Forest Products Marketing: This thematic area deals with improving the marketing of Wild Forest Products to increase the value of forests and their services.
- Forest and Carbon certification: The focus of this area is on marketing and labelling forest products and climate services through independent responsible certification systems.
- Ecotourism: This area deals with investing in natural ecosystems to improve and market their landscape beauty, cultural values and recreational services.
Project Approach and Outcome
ECOSTAR will achieve its goals through the following main actions:
- Delivery of a series of specialised entrepreneurship and innovation trainings targeted at MEEB through multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning
- Facilitate the co-creation of knowledge, through staff and learner’s mobility, an EU Business Plan Award, lobbying and fundraising
- Create an EU wide research and enterprise alliance to make a knowledge triangle a reality in the field of MEEB
The long-term outcome of the project activities will be:
- Improved knowledge triangle work in the field of MEEB through the ECOSTAR alliance
- Improved governance and funding systems for the knowledge triangle maintenance
- Entrepreneurship and innovation is introduced in FEPE university departments
- Improved attitude and skill toward innovation and entrepreneurship among young researchers (PhD and MSc) in the field of MEEB
Most innovative businesses base their success on creating value through better use of intangible assets. Ecosystem Services constitute the most valuable intangible assets on Earth, and forests are the most precious Natural Capital in Europe. Most well-known Forest and Environmental Policy and Economics (FEPE) university departments have developed several methodologies and tools connected with MEEB and with nature-based economy in general. However, universities' curricula lack knowledge of transfer initiatives that allow real commercialisation of new processes, methods and services for the development of market-based mechanisms for ecosystem services conservation. Therefore, the project aims to make the knowledge triangle a reality in the field of MEEB, providing sustainable business opportunities and real benefits for the environment.
The initiative seeks to provide sustainable business opportunities and real benefits for the environment through the following main actions:
JOIN - Create a wide research-enterprise network at EU level, linking together entrepreneurs, scientific and business mentors, and investors, wanting to create value for nature through new business ideas.
LEARN - Deliver a series of specialised entrepreneurship and innovation training targeted at MEEB through multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning.
GROW - Facilitate the co-creation of knowledge and getting advice from experts through staff and learner mobility grants, and start up and accelerate business ideas through EU Business Plan Award, lobby and fundraising activities.