Mario Beck and Bart Emons are the initiators of the IBBESS concept. From their Master program Biotechnology they experienced that there is a gap between youngsters and professionals in the biobased economoy. Conferences are too expensive, experts don’t have time to talk about current challenges and the younger generation isn’t aware enough for the biobased transition. In 2015-2016 they gathered support from CBBE and 15 students to organise the first SymbioSUM


The Problem setting

This morning you woke up, hit the alarm clock of your phone (fossil oil-based plastics), stood up, got dressed (fossil oil-based polyester) and poured your coffee in your glossy mug (fossil oil-based paint). Fossil resources are omnipresent! But there is a solution: a biobased economy where all organically based materials are derived from renewable resources in a sustainable way!

The iconic year 2050 is set as a benchmark year at which various climate-related emission- and resource extraction practices are set to be reduced to sustainable levels. That is 35 years from now, approximately a full lifetime of work. At that time the people who set this ‘deadline’ will be long retired. If you think about who is going to solve the unknowns along this path or make things worse, it is us, the next working generation: the future consumer, the future discoverer, the future polluter. How do we get these fresh minds steered towards a biobased economy, as part of the circular economy?

The solution

The minds of students or our generation are triggered by mental challenges and cool new technologies. This is how we get the next generation on board of the biobased economy. Show them how biobased products in your daily life can be sustainable, improve the quality of life, but also outperform their oil-based counterpart. Let them think about matters they can identify themselves with. And most importantly, let them experience the doing instead of just thinking.

The International BioBased Economy Student SymbioSUM (IBBESS) was established with these aspects in mind and inspires students for a career in the biobased economy. Our SymbioSUM is the sum of a ThinkTank and a Conference to achieve a richer experience than the sum of both parts.

How does this work? At our Kick-Off event we give students from various disciplines one out of three challenges, which are formulated by our industry partners. We teach our students how to explore the problem and ask the proper questions. During the one-day Conference we provide inspiring talks on social, economic, and technical aspects of the BioBased Economy featuring bottlenecks, solutions, and outlooks. Next, to that we add a more personal touch by facilitating the dialogue between professionals and participants. Students do no just absorb but actively use the Conference for solving the challenge. After the Conference, our participants join forces and translate their impressions into a concrete idea that will be pitched towards the stakeholders in the 2 days ThinkTank.

Let us be the Sustainable Generation and make the Bioeconomy a reality!
Join us: http://www.ibbess.org


We believe in a society that is not dependent on fossil resources, one where we deploy natures potential. Our first step is to raise awareness and inspire students in the Netherlands. We show them what opportunities lay ahead of them and how they could kickstart their career in the biobased economy. In a further stage we aim to engage students on a European level, host (active) job and networking events for companies operating in the biobased economy. Let the voice of the next generation be heard. Both students (easier access to professionals) and professionals (fresh minds, facilitated recruitment) benefit from our setup.