European Commission
Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
TOBE 2014 – 3rd BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

"From sectors to system, from concept to reality"

Elspeth MacRae

Elspeth MacRae
Elspeth MacRae
General Manager Manufacturing & Bioproducts - Scion

Elspeth MacRae’s brief includes Scion’s wood and fibre processing activities as well as biorefinery, biodiscovery and bioplastic, clean technology and biotech/omics activities (>100 staff). She is a member of the management group for the 2014 NZ National Science Challenge in Science and Technology for Industry, and leads portfolio 1 activity (design, materials and manufacturing).

She is also a member of the Advisory Board of EcoChem (2013, 2014); the Strategic Advisory Group for the high value manufacturing portfolio (2012, 2013) and Biological Industries portfolio (2011) for the NZ science ministry (MBIE). She sits on the Board of the Biopolymer Network Ltd, the Bioprocessing Alliance and the Packaging Council. She maintains strategic relationships with a range of key clients both locally and internationally.

She carried out Futurewatch activities for the New Zealand government and has been a member of governmental delegations to the EU and Brazil. She leads New Zealand’s biobased industrial products theme area under EU Horizon2020 (KBBE) twinning activities, and carried out an Industrial Biotechnology futures project for the OECD (Bioeconomy to 2030) and reviewed the EU Biorefinery roadmap to 2030. She is New Zealand’s representative on the EPSO committee 2008-2014, and sat on a NZ blueskies funding panel (Marsden).



Biobased industrial products: a New Zealand perspective on the challenges of science and industry alignment.
New Zealand is an island with a small population, 86% of whom live in urban areas.  Urban areas cover 5% of the land mass, 33% is conserved (primarily covered in native forest), 7% in plantation forests, 3% in crops/horticulture and the remainder (52%) is devoted to production of animals. The challenge of both producing food and fibre/bioproducts/biofuel is relatively easy as there is plenty of available land.  The greater challenges are maintaining clean water, and building emerging industries while increasing food and fibre productivity and intensification.  80% of food produced is exported, and about 50% of wood fibre production is exported.  By contrast, most chemicals, transport fuels and materials are imported. Challenges include safety of food including packaging needs and building new industry clusters outside the dominant primary food producers in a society dominated by SMEs.  New Zealand focusses on the international environment and needs, and makes an interesting test bed for new ideas and access to Asia.