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Project of Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology and Agrolaguna chosen for the finals in RegioStars Award by European Commission

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A joint project of Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology in Zagreb (PBF) and Agrolaguna was chosen to enter the finals of the European commission’s RegioStars Award. The project was researching the possibilities of converting grape husk, a byproduct in wine production, into a quality raw material for food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.

A project named “The use of innovative technologies for isolation of bioactive compounds from organic waste in wine production” researched the additional financial potential and the possibility of isolating bioactive compounds from husk that remains as a byproduct of wine production, as well as positive effect to the ecological aspects of wine production process.

Conducted research and other activities were recognized by independent reviewers who nominated the project as a finalist in RegioStars Awards for 2016. in the category: Sustainable growth – circular economy.

The Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology was leading the project and Agrolaguna contributed as an industrial partner to the scientific institution. This cooperation enabled the development of new ecologically friendly solutions that allowed for the use of biological potential in organic waste in order to reduce, or even remove their effect on the environment.

“Agrolaguna, a member of Agrokor Group, was the industrial partner to PBF in this project and has again, confirmed the interest to cooperate with the scientific community, its dedication to advancing knowledge and defining of new solutions that benefit to business development and the reduction of negative effects that the byproducts have on the environment. In the potential next phase of this project we expect to work on the commercial application of research results.” announced Marta Bogdanić, executive director in Investment department of Agrokor Group.

Finding the technological solution to isolate bioactive compounds from grape husk and processing of organic waste of wine production with the end goal to reduce negative effects to the environment, were the key aims of this project. Considering the fact, that most countries in the region have a developed wine industry and have problems with grape and wine waste management, the results of this research, through the development and application of new technologies and knowledge, can potentially have a positive influence on productivity of companies and the economy of the entire region. This project contributed to strengthening of the scientific and research capacities of Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology through the obtaining new equipment, as well as to a more efficient transfer of knowledge from the scientific-research sector to economy.

“Scientists with various expertise and colleagues from Agrolaguna were involved in this project in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the biological potential of grape husk. By obtaining new equipment Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology strengthened its scientific and research capacities, all with the aim to further increase the bond between scientific-research and economy sectors with transfer of technology and commercial application of research results.” said Verica Dragović Uzelac, professor from the Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology.

The goal of European commission RegioStars Award program is to identify good practices in regional development and to highlight the original and innovative projects that are also attractive and can be used as inspiration to other regions. The five categories in which the projects could participate in RegioStars Award program this year are: Smart Growth: Emerging opportunities in the global economy, Sustainable Growth: Circular Economy, Inclusive Growth: Integrated living – building inclusive and non-segregated communities, Citystar: Innovative solutions for sustainable urban development and Effective Management: Making a difference by managing differently.

The winners will be announced in October 11th 2016 in Bruxelles at the RegioStars Award ceremony that will be held during the European week of regions and cities. Overall in 2016, 104 applications in 5 categories were received and the project conducted by Agrolaguna and PBF is one of the 23 projects in 14 EU member countries that have entered the competition finals based on the criteria of innovation, influence, sustainability and partnership.  The winners in each category will receive a RegioStars trophy and a certificate presented by European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and they will also be included in European commission’s brochure and in online database as an example of good practices.