Monday, October 18, 2021

Turning Challenges into Opportunities with Mark Pollock

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Session Kindly Sponsored by


Welcome Address to Summit

Percy Foster, National Bioeconomy Summit Founder


Turning Challenges into Opportunities – The Resilience Cycle with Mark Pollock

It is tough dealing with uncertainty and change. It doesn’t happen by chance, but with a high-impact catalyst we can start to make it happen. Mark Pollock is that catalyst and that’s why leaders worldwide have asked him to support their teams to remain resilient, adapt to change and collaborate with others for over 20 years.


For us, Mark will host a one-hour masterclass, with his colleague Paula Cunniffe, to share his insights in a session called “Turning Challenges into Opportunities – The Resilience Cycle”.


During this masterclass, Mark will explore how to:

  • build resilience and maintain motivation
  • adapt to change and unexpected challenges
  • chart a path through uncertainty.


Members of this masterclass will participate in a live, interactive session with Mark Pollock and his co-host, Paula Cunniffe. Participants will also receive a follow-up email with key takeaways and suggested further reading, and bi-monthly inspirational emails from Mark.




This is a virtual networking event allowing you to mix and mingle with others as you please, just like in real life. Using virtual conference room technology, you can move from table to table to meet people. If you wish to have a private conversation with someone, you can choose to move to a virtual sofa.


This event will provide an opportunity to catch up with old colleagues and meet new people.



About Mark

Over the last 20 years, Mark has studied how to build resilience and collaborate with others. Some of what he has discovered is showcased in a selection of talks, documentaries, media appearances and articles which are available on his website at:

Unbroken by blindness in 1998, Mark became an adventure athlete competing in ultra-endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps including being the first blind person to race to the South Pole. He also won silver and bronze medals for rowing at the Commonwealth Games and set up a motivational speaking business.

In 2010, a fall from a second story window nearly killed him. Mark broke his back and the damage to his spinal cord left him paralysed. Now he is on a new expedition, this time to cure paralysis in our lifetime by exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide.

Co-Founder of the global running series called Run in the Dark (, Mark has been selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and is a former member of the Global Futures Council on Human Enhancement. He is a UBS Global Visionary, is on the Board of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (USA) and is a Wings for Life Ambassador (Europe).

Mark is the subject of the acclaimed documentaries ‘Blind Man Walking’ and ‘Unbreakable – The Mark Pollock Story’, and has been awarded honorary doctorates by The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and also from Queens University Belfast. He holds a diploma in Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century from Harvard University, degrees from Trinity College Dublin and UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, described Mark as one of “the most inspiring people I met” after they discussed the ways in which technology is changing how people learn.

“Mark’s ability to link his personal story to people’s everyday life and work challenges was excellent. The session was not just about listening to an incredible story, it was a chance for everyone to really think about themselves. There is something in this talk for everyone.”

Senior Director EMEA, Twitter

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Policies Driving the Bioeconomy

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Session Kindly Sponsored by


Ministerial Address

Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine


Economic Impact Analysis of the US Biobased Products Industry

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released a report, Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry, on the 10th anniversary of the creation of the USDA’s Certified Biobased Product Label. The report demonstrates that the biobased industry is a substantial generator of economic activity and jobs, and that it has a significant positive impact on the environment. According to the report, in 2017, the biobased products industry:

  • supported 4.6 million American jobs through direct, indirect and induced contributions
  • contributed $470 billion to the US economy
  • generated 2.79 jobs for every biobased job in other sectors of the economy.

Dr Jay Golden, Pontarelli Professor of Environmental Sustainability and Finance, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, NY, USA


EU Biorefinery Outlook to 2030

This European Commission study presents scenarios on how demand and supply for biobased chemicals and materials could grow in the years to 2030. It provides roadmaps with the actions required to increase the deployment of chemical- and material-driven biorefineries in the EU.

Richard Platt, Managing Consultant, E4tech, England

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Virtual Tours of Bioeconomy Sites

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Session Kindly Sponsored by

OGT’s Seaweed Processing Plant in Kilcar, Donegal

Oilean Glas Teoranta (OGT) was established in 2004. The company harvests seaweed in Donegal and Mayo, which is then processed into specialty products for the global crop nutrition and animal feed markets. Today, OGT is a consolidated company with a team of professionals operating in Europe and North America. In 2014, the company was acquired by Tradecorp in Spain. The presentation will outline the company with a virtual tour of the operations in Donegal.

David Murrin, Factory Manager, Tradecorp International – Rovensa, Ireland



Manufacturing Compostable Resins

This virtual tour will show the process used to biorefine products, which are then used as the building blocks for compostable resins.

Tony Breton, Novamont, Italy


Pannonia Bio – Biorefinery in Hungary

The refinery, from its beginnings as a bioethanol producer in 2012, has almost tripled in size and developed into a multiproduct facility. Today, nutrition, health, biochemical and fuel bioproducts are manufactured as alternatives to fossil fuel-derived materials. The biorefinery is the largest single site bioethanol plant in Europe.

James Cogan, Industry Analyst, Clonbio Group Ltd, Ireland


Pilot Project to Generate Hydrogen from Energia’s Wind Farm in Antrim to Supply Buses in Belfast

Energia is powering the first ever hydrogen-powered double-decker buses in Northern Ireland. Energia, Translink and Wrightbus, with support from the Department for Infrastructure and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), have developed a pilot project to supply renewably sourced hydrogen fuel from an onshore North Antrim wind farm. The pilot project will also deliver the first hydrogen refuelling station of its kind in Ireland. This presentation will provide an overview of the project.

Peter Baillie, Managing Director, Energia Renewables, Northern Ireland


Composting Food and Garden Waste at Natural World Product’s Glenside In Vessel Composting Plant
This tour looks at the industrial composting process of food and garden waste.
In addition to being a critical part of NI’s recycling infrastructure, the recycled product – organic, peat-free compost – is used in high value horticultural markets and is a critical component of restoring long-term soil health to heavily farmed soils in the region.
Colm Warren, CEO, Natural World Products, Northern Ireland

Thursday, October 21, 2021

SME Businesses Developing Biobased Products

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Session Kindly Sponsored 


Commercialising a Natural Material – Sheep’s Wool

Woolcool, based in the UK, remains the only packaging company using a range of sheep’s wool-insulated packaging available on a commercial scale. This presentation will outline how the idea came about for the company and the company’s journey to where it is now.

Josie Morris MBE, Managing Director, Woolcool, England


Surf’s Up! Ride the Wave of New Biomaterials from Seaweed

Lalitha will talk about the potential of seaweed in the Irish bioeconomy and how seaweed-derived materials can be superior to the existing fossil fuel-derived materials that are currently used in personal care products, textiles, paints, coatings and biomedical applications. The focus of the presentation will be on the work on fractionation of seaweed at Celignis.

Dr Lalitha Gottumukkala, Chief Innovation Officer, Celignis, Ireland


Experiences in Developing a New Biobased Company in Ireland

Hexafly farms the black soldier fly using industrial food waste to make a range of high-quality protein derivatives for the animal, plant and cosmetic industries. This presentation will outline how a biobased Small Enterprise  develops in Ireland and provides advice to new biobased start-up companies.

Alvan Hunt, Co-founder and CEO, Hexafly, Ireland


Diversifying from Potato Growing to a Potato Starch Plant for Higher Value Uses

Meade Farm Group is a family business traditionally growing potatoes, carrots and onions. The company recently diversified into using the waste potatoes to produce starch, which can be used in many different areas. Cliona and Eleanor will outline how the idea for diversifying their business came about and what advice they have for other business looking to diversify into the biobased arena.

Cliona Costello and Eleanor Meade, Meade Farm Group, Ireland






Friday, October 22, 2021

Financing the Bioeconomy

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Session Kindly Sponsored by


MPowerBIO Empowers Clusters to Bring SMEs Across the Financial Valley of Death

The experience of many SMEs is that although they have a good idea or a good product, they cannot get an investor. They need to be able to pitch their idea perfectly and have a strong business plan, a clear strategy, a well-defined customer base, etc., to attract investors. In this presentation, Filippo will show how the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation and MPowerBIO can assist in navigating the pathway across the difficult valley from “Innovation to Business”.

Dr Filippo Giancarlo Martinelli, European Ambassador, Irish Bioeconomy Foundation



Funding Perspectives for Scale-up in the European Bioeconomy

The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) is the first venture fund exclusively focused on the bioeconomy and the circular bioeconomy in Europe. With a target size of €250 million, to which the European Investment Bank (EIB) has committed €100 million, the ECBF will be an important financial instrument in achieving the European Green Deal goals of making Europe climate neutral by 2050.

Dr Michael Brandkamp, European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, Germany



Cross-border Funding Opportunities in a Critical Sector for the Island 

InterTradeIreland sees huge opportunities for business growth in Northern Ireland and Ireland through an island-wide approach to the bioeconomy. Its passion is to see sectoral growth in the bioeconomy fuelled by cross-border trade and collaboration. In this talk, David will share some of the success stories that InterTradeIreland has helped to facilitate in its efforts to help grow the bioeconomy across the island.

Dr David Burns, Science, Technology and Innovation Manager, InterTradeIreland, Northern Ireland & Ireland


Bank Finance for the Bioeconomy

Sustainability is a core tenet of the Allied Irish Bank (AIB) strategy. AIB’s Head of Manufacturing, John McGeown, will present an overview of the options available to businesses at different stages of their life cycle and offer some insights from the AIB sector team.

John McGeown, Head of Manufacturing, Allied Irish Bank, Ireland










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