OXIPRO’s Athens Summit: Bridging Science and Industry for New Biotech-Solutions

The OXIPRO project team recently convened in Athens, Greece, for their third annual project meeting. Inspired by the city’s rich scientific heritage, the partners kicked off the final year of this ground-breaking initiative and focused on achieving remarkable progress.


OXIPRO focuses on harnessing the power of oxidoreductases—enzymes that facilitate crucial chemical reactions reducing or oxidizing molecules – and applying this in four key areas that are showing promise for significant advancements: textile processing, formulations of liquid detergents, upgrading of nutraceuticals, and novel sunscreen ingredients


This year’s meeting was structured around dynamic, collaborative innovation sessions, showcasing impressive results in each of the four case studies during which cross-disciplinary work was presented.


Moreover, specific policy areas were identified within the innovation cases that will enable OXIPRO to drive more sustainable bio-solutions into the market.


Building on last year’s popular and informative session, eight of our Early Career Researchers (ECRs) delivered polished and engaging 3-minute flash talks, highlighting their most promising findings.

Our Early Career Researchers and the judging panel, with the winner – Lars Santema – standing 5th from the right.


Notable achievements include the conclusion of two generic platforms: one computational and one on various wet lab technologies. The computational platform was publicly launched by Barcelona Supercomputing Centre just before the meeting after being user-tested and optimized by developers across the consortium. The wet lab platform comprises technologies for enzyme screening and immobilization strategies produced by several partners and is now validated for multiple oxidoreductase enzymes. It is clearly evident that the two platforms have been instrumental in advancing OXIPRO’s new enzymes solutions within the innovation cases.


The meeting also featured expert industrial insights. OXIPRO partner and Greek detergent producer Rolco hosted a site-visit to their facilities outside Athens to demonstrate how enzymes can enhance detergents to create more environment-friendly formulations. innovation is a top priority for Rolco.


During the meeting, OXIPRO partner Pietro Rando, CEO of CRB Benelux , gave a talk on enzyme benefits and upcoming trends in the cosmetics sector. Although a handful of enzymes are used in cosmetics and personal care products, most enzymes are used to generate new biobased ingredients that are replacing conventional chemicals. Head of Technology and Development at enzyme manufacturer and OXIPRO partner Biocatalysts, Lilly Amore, then gave insights on how enzymes are produced, taking partners along the route from research and development to large-scale manufacturing.


Training sessions where participants were able to practice approaches undertaken by the multidisciplinary partnership were integral to the meeting and included a workshop on social life cycle assessment, co-organised by OXIPRO partners VTT and REDINN. During ‘World-Café’ type discussions, partners explored potential gender, health, and safety issues in the development of new bio-solutions within each sector.


OXIPRO partners engaged at the World Cafe session, discussion gender-related issues and disparities in the four target industries


“Seeing the collaborative nature of OXIPRO work is truly inspiring. It’s especially great to see how social and industry insight is bridged with technical enzyme competence. I am now seeing that our vision of co-production is becoming a reality”, said OXIPRO Project Coordinator, Gro Bjerga, from NORCE Norwegian Research Centre.


OXIPRO partner Rasmus Moen Ree conducts a street survey with consumers


The partnership also got to see the stimulating results of the Innovation Boot Camp organized for ECRs in April by OXIPRO partner SB Science Management. At the Boot Camp, these young pace setters learned about innovation methodologies like persona modelling and conducted consumer surveys before creating cutting-edge prototype products for cosmetics and detergents to meet societal needs and expectations. After a demonstration of their innovative prototypes at the OXIPRO meeting, the ECRs then transferred their knowledge to the senior researchers, supervising them while they conducted street surveys and market analyses for each of the four sectors in the centre of Athens.


“The most important success factor for OXIPRO is the positive, collaborative and congenial atmosphere at the meeting and the cross-disciplinary engagement where everyone is willing to engage in work which is not their own to support the project and its outcomes”, says Gro Bjerga.


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