An EU-China liaison officer has been appointed to BioICEP (Bio Innovation of a Circular Economy for Plastics), an EU-China research consortium led by the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) aimed at developing sustainable bio-based alternatives to plastic.

Dr Bor Shin Chee, based at TUS's Athlone campus, will build on the work of predecessor Dr Yuanyuan Chen to enhance communication and understanding between European partners of the flagship project and the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

The role of EU-China liaison officer has been instrumental in building strong relationships since the project commenced in February 2020, leading to the establishment of open and dynamic channels of communication that have yielded significant benefits.

Plastic circularity

Dr Chee recently completed a research visit to Shandong University in China, where she played a crucial role in developing sustainable solutions for plastic circularity.

Collaborating with Chinese partners, she exchanged knowledge and research, laying a solid foundation for future success.

Dr Margaret Brennan Fournet, manager of the Centre for Polymer Sustainability at TUS and BioICEP project lead, emphasised the significance of the EU-China project, which is driving ecological innovation in addressing plastic waste pollution.

“BioICEP is key in bringing to life our compelling cross-continental ecological innovation, transforming our relationship with plastics and plastic waste pollution while opening up new technology markets for the sustainable plastics of the future,” she explained.

The BioICEP project is at the forefront of sustainable technology, focusing on the degradation of plastics to create high-value bioproducts that can be consistently used and reused.

Contributes to the circular economy

This approach not only enhances environmental sustainability but also contributes to the circular economy, benefiting local, national, and international economies.

Professor Qi Qingsheng, VP of the Microbial Technology Research Institute and co-coordinator of the Chinese consortium, underscored the collaborative nature of this initiative, which unites research efforts in China and Europe to develop green technologies for the future.

“This is an excellent opportunity to work together and fuse our considerable research efforts across China and Europe, developing new, disruptive green technologies to deliver plastic circularity for the future prosperity of our people and the planet,” he said.

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU-China flagship Horizon 2020 consortium has achieved significant milestones and produced positive impacts.

Shandong University's ‘Clean the Beach’ programme, with a focus on ‘Plastic Hazards and Microbial Degradation’, for example, has brought together researchers, students, and teachers to raise awareness about plastic degradation's impact on the environment.

This initiative not only empowers the public with measures to protect local regions but also inspires students to pursue STEM-based careers and is a testament to the commitment of these organisations to environmental awareness and sustainability.

The BioICEP project is funded by Horizon 2020 and also includes Trinity College Dublin as an Irish partner. For more information on the BioICEP project, visit or follow BioICEP on social media:

- X @BioICEP_H2020

- Instagram: @BioICEP