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Successful 1st edition of the European Sustainable Nutrient Initiative (ESNI)

30/01/2019

This annual conference will provide a space for discussion and exchange on the developments of nutrient recovery and recycling at the European level

Six EU projects have joined forces to organise the ESNI conference (European Sustainable Nutrient Initiative) to raise awareness on the essential role of nutrient recycling in the transition towards circular economy systems. Closing nutrient cycles can help develop a more efficient and sustainable agriculture, boost research and protect the environment. Nearly 150researchers, farmers, policy–makers, industry representatives and other stakeholders contributed to enrich the discussion on this relevant topic. The successful first edition of this conference was held on 22 January in Brussels and will take place on an annual basis in the capital of Europe.

Prof. Erik Meers, from Ghent University, kicked–off an intensive plenary session as coordinator of the Biorefine Cluster Europe, the network of projects working on bio–based recovery issues which has been leading the organisation of ESNI. José Ruiz (DG Agriculture), Pavel Misiga (DG Research) and Wim Debeuckelaere (DG Environment) from the European Commission, provided a comprehensive overview of the nutrient recovery opportunities Europe has to offer. The representatives of the EU Executive shared views on the current nutrient-related calls for proposals under the H2020 research and innovation programme and provided updates on the ongoing Horizon Europe negotiations. It was also a timely opportunity for attendees to learn about other mechanisms for discussion and exchange on nutrient recycling topics, including the Operational Groups (OGs) and focus groups developed under EIP– AGRI.

The six parallel workshops that followed the plenary session focused on the current policy measures, innovative solutions and technological developments related to nutrient recycling. The workshops were coordinated by different EU projects, members of the Biorefine Cluster Europe: Circular Agronomics, Nutri2Cycle, NUTRIMAN, Phos4You, ReNu2Farm and Systemic. This interactive exchange of knowledge was also complemented by a poster session and an open space for other projects involved in nutrient recycling to present their activities and engage with participants.