BRANCHES Project Final Conference, Rome, 13-14 November 2023

The EU BRANCHES Project final conference was hosted on 13-14 November at FAO Headquarters in Rome

The Boosting RurAl Bioeconomy Networks following multi-actor approACHES (BRANCHES) Project has selected and described innovative practices of a circular bioeconomy in rural areas that demonstrate a marked ability to be resilient to the climatic and economic challenges of our times and show the path for bioeconomy deployment.

This initiative has been funded by the European Union under the Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) of the Horizon 2020 Program. A total of 12 partners representing 5 European countries: Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain-have been involved in this three-year project (2021-2023). In addition, 5 other associated countries-Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia-were also selected for specific knowledge transfer activities and sharing of achievements.

The project covers many green economy issues: from rural space management to the biobased industry, including bioenergy. BRANCHES supports the implementation of new cost-effective technologies and promotes innovative business opportunities in rural areas.

The main achievements were: the selection and dissemination of more than 60 successful and concrete examples of bioeconomy (enterprises, governance, new products, technology, experimentation, etc.). All were summarized in fact sheets specially designed to be practical, clear, comprehensive and easy to understand.

In addition, each of the partner countries established a National Thematic Network by actively involving relevant stakeholders such as: primary producers, businesses, research organizations, professional associations, and public administrations. Overall, about 660 stakeholders were directly involved, which in turn broadcasted the information to a larger audience.

The project’s impact on the development of the circular bioeconomy can be measured through the materials produced and the dissemination activities undertaken, namely 40 thematic workshops attended by more than 1,600 people; 10 technical visits with about 2,500 participants; 25 audiovisuals; the project outputs have been viewed and shared 70,000 times on social media.

Besides, the project yielded the “Bioenergy in a time of crisis” factsheet based on a series of interviews with stakeholders, about how bioenergy business helped coping with the impact of COVID and the Ukrainian crisis. The BRANCHES Final Conference, in addition to taking stock of the results obtained, which for the next three years will still continue to be available for consultation and downloading from the project website (, also aims to ensure continuity for all the work done. To this purpose, synergies have been established with other similar European Projects for the transfer of the great experience developed in BRANCHES to new working groups, this can be considered as a legacy of the project.