Circular Bioeconomy Research Group

The Bioeconomy encompasses the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and waste streams into value added products, such as food, feed, biobased products as well as bioenergy. Bioeconomy value chains integrate the latest breakthroughs in clean technology, biotechnology and genetic engineering to extract and produce high value products from agricultural, forestry, marine and waste biomass.


In Ireland, the Bioeconomy has experienced significant growth in activity in recent years as companies of all sizes look to diversify and become more resource efficient and sustainable. Shannon ABC is well-positioned to contribute to Ireland’s fast growing bioeconomy by supporting SME’s and large industries to identify and scale opportunities to valorise primary and residual process streams.

Over the last decade we have supported companies in prospecting and extracting high value ingredients and products from a variety of bioeconomy feedstocks including seaweed, grass and hemp as well as industrial residue streams from the milling, pulp and dairy sectors, and many more. New natural products developed include high value ingredients and products for food, nutraceutical and cosmetic applications. Building on this experience, Shannon ABC is available to provide tailored solutions for organisations wishing to maximize and diversify existing value chains.

Circular Bioeconomy Research Group

The Circular Bioeconomy Research Group (CIRCBIO) was established in 2019 as a research group within Shannon ABC, recognising the high level of participation in Bioeconomy and Circular Economy research, engagement and education at National and EU level. The CIRCBIO Group are also member of the SFI Beacon Bioeconomy Research Centre.

CIRCBIO brings together a diverse and dynamic research team with multidisciplinary expertise across all areas of the bioeconomy including bioresource modelling, value chain development, bioprocessing and extraction technologies, new product development, business model development and innovation management.

The CIRBIO group participates across a range of high impact initiatives including research, policy development and educational activities. The group also lead Ireland’s Circular Bioeconomy Cluster for the South West Region and are Co-Director of Ireland’s first postgraduate programme in Bioeconomy. The group are also active in high impact bioeconomy projects at national and EU level including Biorefinery Glas, INGREEN, BioWill and ICT-BIOCHAIN.

Circular Economy South-West Cluster

The CIRCBIO Group leads the Circular Bioeconomy Cluster for the South West Ireland region funded under the Enterprise Ireland Regional Technology Clustering Fund. The Circular Bioeconomy Cluster is focused on strengthening collaboration between researchers, technology providers, and industry – from SMEs to Multinationals – to develop, scale and internationalise next generation bio-based products, services and value chains, whilst in tandem driving forward to transition to a low carbon economy.

The CIRCBIO Group have co-developed Ireland’s first level 9 Post Graduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business in collaboration with University College Dublin and Teagasc. The programme helps to address skills shortages in the emerging area of bioeconomy and respond to the challenge to deliver on talent for the transition to a low carbon economy. The programme is designed to enable graduates to develop the skills and competencies in the emerging area of the bioeconomy through a part time, blended programme, delivered primarily online. The programme will provide students with access to state-of-the-art knowledge and skills in sustainable agriculture and climate, key enabling technologies, biobased products and value chain development, markets, business and industrial organisational models.

The group are active in a number of high impact projects funded through national and EU funding initiatives. These include:

AgriForValor: funded through Horizon 2020, the AgriForValor project was focused on bringing added value to agriculture and forest sectors by closing the research and innovation divide. The project developed a biomass innovation hub in Ireland, Spain and Hungary which worked with primary producers in each region to support new opportunities for primary producers to diversify within the bioeconomy. Within AgriForValor, CIRCBIO, leading the Irish hub, worked to identify new opportunities and business model and to develop multi-actor networks to realise their potential.

BioWill: Interreg NWE funded project focusing on Integrated “Zero Waste” Biorefinery utilising all fractions of Willow feedstock for the production of high to medium based Bio-Chemicals/Materials, Renewable Energy in the form of Bio Methane production and Natural Fertilisers.

Biorefinery Glas: funded by Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Biorefinery Glas is coordinated by CIRCBIO at IT Tralee and represents, Europe’s first on-farm small-scale grass biorefinery demonstration project. Within Biorefinery Glas the CIRCBIO group is developing processes for extraction and evaluation of novel products from grass biorefinery residues. CIRCBIO are also evaluating the business case and new business models for farmer-led biorefineries.

INGREEN: funded by the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking, INGREEN focuses on production of functional innovative ingredients from paper and agro-food side-streams through sustainable and efficient tailor-made biotechnological processes for food, feed, pharma and cosmetics. Within the INGREEN project, CIRCBIO focus on the screening and test and valuable ingredients from industrial sidestreams

ICT-BIOCHAIN: funded by the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking ICT-BIOCHAIN evaluating ways in which ICT can improve supply chain effiency. Through ICT-BIOCHAIN, CIRCBIO is carrying out a comprehensive modelling of regionally available bioresources for bioeconomy applications in Ireland. A recently commenced post-graduate project is examining how these bioresources can be evaluated to develop new local bioeconomy value chains in regions across Ireland. Companies and other stakeholders can contact the CIRCBIO group for more information on locally available bioresources

Fanbest: Fanbest is an Inter-reg project which focused on developing a blue economy network for the transfer of technologies to stimulate the development of the circular bioeconomy within the marine sector. 

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