NOI Techpark Südtirol/Alto Adige is one of the Italian project partners of AlpBioEco. The acronym NOI stands for Nature of Innovation. As the growing innovation district in Bolzano, South Tyrol, it supports young innovative companies and contributes to regional economic development. It specializes in the following four technology sectors: Green, Food, Digital and Automotive & Automation.
Know you better as a project partner
- How many people in your organization work on the AlpBioEco project and what are their roles?
Tech Transfer Food Technologies: We have two people working on the project: Ben Schneider is head of the Unit Food Technologies (project owner). Alexandra Windegger works as project manager within the same Unit and within the project.
- Walnuts, apples or herbs? Which team do you belong to and why?
Tech Transfer Food Technologies: Our work on the AlpBioEco project centers mostly around the value chain of apples. South Tyrol cultivates around 18,400 hectares of apples, making it Europe’s largest contiguous apple-growing area. Apple cultivation thus plays an important role here.
- What are you currently doing as work for the project?
Tech Transfer Food Technologies: Together with our project partners as well as South Tyrol’s IDM business-location agency and two companies from within our Ecosystem, we are supporting the development of a business model called “Kräuterschnuller” (“Herbal Pacifier”). In preparation for WP T4, we’re also currently working on a rough-draft overview of regional funding opportunities, legal terms and conditions, and researching potential members of a regional Bioeconomy Advisory Board.
- Why did you choose to work for AlpBioEco?
Tech Transfer Food Technologies: In 2018 we entered as Unit Ecosystem Food of the IDM Südtirol business-location agency. As such, our mandate was to advance strategic programs for South Tyrol’s economic development. Therefore, our goal was (and is) to evince and support business-model development around topics such as sustainability and circular economy.
Ever since our company was reorganized in early 2019, we’ve continued to work as NOI’s Food Technology Transfer Unit. Due to our new role, and in consultation with our lead partner, our interest now lies increasingly in bioeconomic research and development within the project. As part of our function as a sort of broker for food technology within NOI Techpark, we integrate our renowned research partners’ bioeconomy know-how into the project to the extent possible – as well as those of the companies and research projects that we support in this area.
You and the bioeconomy
- In your opinion, how can AlpBioEco help to develop bioeconomy?
Tech Transfer Food Technologies: With particular focus given to the Alpine region and because of the similar circumstances in the participating countries, we believe that the project is particularly helpful as regards networking: between the companies, research institutions and, of course, the project partners who are addressing the topic of bioeconomy. In our experience, thematic networks are indispensable when it comes to developing these types of business models.
At the same time, the project helps us to increase awareness around the bioeconomy in general and creates more business opportunities, especially for SMEs. In a moderated process and with the help of action budgets, companies and research institutions can learn how business modeling works not only in theory but also in practice.
- Why do you think the bioeconomy is so important for the Alps?
Tech Transfer Food Technologies: The Alpine region is currently undergoing a structural change that strongly affects its many traditional small-scale food producers. On one hand, we see great potential within the bioeconomy for business models along the value chains that we address.
On the other hand, given the structure (economy), the standing (products) and the landscape (nature) of the Alpine region, we see it as the ideal model region for business models that are committed to sustainability. It all just fits together well; it is authentic and easy to market. In other words, wherever nature plays a particularly important and multifaceted role, it should be seen as an example or source of inspiration for innovation. By the way, this is exactly what the acronym NOI stands for: Nature of Innovation.
- If you just had to choose a symbolic word or expression representing the AlpBioEco project, which one would it be?
Tech-Transfer Food Technologies: Responsibility.
You can follow NOI Techpark’s activity on the internet and on social networks: