Development in the region, comprising eastern parts of Western Europe (Austria, Germany and Italy) and ex-socialist countries in the strip from Poland in the north to Croatia in the south, followed different patterns. One resulted in a University dominated system and the other included a strong position of academy institutes. More recently, these differences have decreased through the common emergence of an applied orientation involving SMEs, technology incubators, knowledge transfer centres etc. designed to foster greater cooperation between science and industry. Although sustainable polymers, including biopolymers and bioplastics, have emerged during the last decade or so as one of the fastest growing segments of the plastics industry, the same trend did not apply to...