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Change in perspective Bioeconomy – for more sustainability A dialogue project in the science year 2020/2021

With the bioeconomy topic, the German science year 2020/2021 is dedicated to the transformation from an oil-based to a bio-based economy. In times of a rapidly growing world population, dwindling biodiversity and irreversible impacts of climate changes, the sustainable use of biological resources – i.e. plants, animals and microorganisms – is of particular importance. However, bioeconomy is not per se better for the environment just because it uses biological rather than fossil resources. On the contrary: with a view to the planetary boundaries, it must be aligned with the criteria of a sustainable development – both with regard to land use and the patterns of consumption.

How can this perspective become more emphasized in the bioeconomy debate? This also addresses the question on the contribution of the bioeconomy to a sustainable development, respectively the question on conflicts of the bioeconomy with other goals, with regard to the use of natural resources or climate, environmental and nature protection. The IÖW, together with partners, invites to this change of perspective in the science year through a dialogue between science, civil society and citizens.

The goal: to carry various topics connected with the bioeconomy further into society and to have a critical reflection. The formats: three regional online and face-to-face workshops with interested citizens in the German Federal States of Baden-Württemberg, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Berlin. The face-to-face workshops take place on one of the three German “Global Fields” in cooperation with the Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft. Both workshops in each region offer the opportunity to get to know each other and critically examine the bioeconomy topic. In addition, there is another online workshop with young researchers and a further face-to-face workshop with actors from civil society organizations. At the end of the project, a final event with the scientific community is planned.

The IÖW prepares scientific background materials for the questions raised in the workshops and presents them to the participants. These are findings on topics such as the provision and utilization of biological resources, competition for space and use, as well as on technologies, concepts and processes for the utilization of renewable raw materials, including their effects on society and the environment. A 6-page information sheet and several 2-page information sheets are planned for this. The IÖW is also responsible for the conception and implementation of the regional online workshops. Beyond, IÖW, together with the partners, conceptualizes the final scientific event at which the gained results of the dialogues with citizens and the civil society are played back to science in order to have a joint reflection.

IÖW Project Team