Recommendations for Phase II of BioFuelNet Canada (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2017)
On October 1st, 2014, the Board of Directors for BioFuelNet Canada (BFN) adopted a set of recommendations that will modify and streamline BFN’s research program. The new research program will involve 10 Projects and 6 Task Forces. The updated structure was considered by the Board to have achieved the guiding objectives of the Phase II restructuring as described below.
Objectives of BFN’s Phase II restructuring
1. Build on Phase I progress towards achieving BFN’s vision and mission.
2. Become more focussed and reduce the number of projects. Projects should focus on a small number of priority areas.
3. Be more specific in addressing barriers, expanding beyond technical research if necessary.
4. Emphasize research areas of particular importance to Canada. What are Canada’s natural advantages, and how can BFN mobilize these?
5. Ensure BFN’s program is informed by and aligned with the broad priorities of government and industry.
Who developed the recommendations?
The recommendations, including the pursuit of 10 Projects and 6 Task Forces, were arrived at through a consultative process that spanned approximately 9 months, starting in December 2013. The following groups contributed to and ultimately approved the recommendations:
1. The Platform and Theme Committee, which is made up of the leaders of each of BFN’s Phase I platforms and themes. This group represents researchers in the network. Four meetings of the P&T committee discussed the Phase II priorities. Final approval of the recommendations was given on Sept. 5, 2014.
2. The Research Management Committee, which is made up of half network researchers, and half independent experts. The RMC discussed the restructuring on four occasions. Final approval of the recommendations was given on Sept. 12, 2014.
3. The Independent/International Scientific Advisory Board, which is made up of completely independent experts from Brazil, Russia, India, China, Germany, USA, Australia and Canada. The ISAB met four times to discuss and approve the recommendations. Final approval of the recommendations was given on Sept. 2, 2014.
In addition to these formal committee meetings, many other consultations took place, including the following:
- Approximately 50 experts from government, industry, academia and the investment community met during BFN’s Strategic Business Summit in Dec. 2013 to provide BFN with recommendations on priorities.
- 268 members of BioFuelNet’s community met on May 27, 2014 for BFN’s Advanced Biofuels Symposium in Ottawa. The platforms and themes met in closed-door sessions during which P&T leaders were given feedback about Phase I and the direction of Phase II from their groups; this was then communicated to BFN administration.
- A web page was established on BFN’s website to solicit feedback from the public.
- Several dozen one-on-one meetings and calls took place with the P&T leaders, RMC and Board members, and industry and government stakeholders.
- During the summer months, several progress briefings were provided to BFN’s Executive Committee, the Board chair, and the NCE Secretariat.
The consultative process has been extremely robust. The vast majority of stakeholders have been consulted (multiple times in most cases), and whenever possible BFN has integrated their suggestions. The final product remains simple, addresses the main goals of the restructuring, and will greatly improve on the structure of Phase I, which in itself has been quite successful.