Bioeconomy Council recommends focus areas for research strategy

LTR State secretary Dr. Georg Schütte, Prof. Dr. Christine Lang, Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun © Bioeconomy Council

15.12.2016 -

Today the Bioeconomy Council has handed-over its recommendations for continuing the “National Research Strategy BioEconomy” to State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte. Any realignment of the research strategy should focus on bioeconomic approaches for sustainability in consumption and urban development, a circular economy and new forms of energy generation. It is also important to support and speed up implementation of the research results in practice.

Between 2010 and 2017, the Federal Government invests around EUR 2.4 billion in R&D of the bioeconomy. “The Federal Government has repeatedly made a clear, long-term commitment to the bioeconomy. We are therefore calling for the continuation of a dedicated and target-oriented research strategy in the coming years,” emphasized Prof. Christine Lang, one of the two co-chairs of the Bioeconomy Council. According to the Council, the strategy should foresee greater involvement of users, financial institutions and social groups in order to support transition to a biobased economy. Specific accompanying measures, such as mentoring activities or meetings with investors, could have a supportive effect along the pathway of innovations from laboratory to market.

To anchor forward-looking innovations in Germany, the bioeconomy should be linked with megatrends such as digitization. Prof. Joachim von Braun, who leads the Council jointly with Prof. Lang, stressed, “The German economy faces the renewal of its key economic sectors, such as the automotive industry, mechanical engineering and chemistry. Sustained investment in education and research, especially in high-tech areas such as the bioeconomy, is the basic requirement for success.” The research strategy should also include the pharmaceutical industry with the health of people and the environment as its goal.

The council hence recommends to focus the future research program on the following areas of action: “sustainable city”, “sustainable food system”, “protection of resources and biobased circular economy” and “biobased consumption”. In the energy sector, the Council advocates further pursuing the research into “biological storage of sunlight”, e.g. by means of artificial photosynthesis. The Council’s further aims to better communicate the bioeconomy to the general public. The Council’s recommendation is therefore introduced by a short narrative which stresses, among other things, that “Thinking bioeconomically means knowing nature’s cycles and not only utilizing them for the energy industry, the food, paper and textile industry or even for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry but also preserving them in the sense of protecting the environment and resources. This requires bioeconomy research for innovation.”

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