Bioeconomy Forum 2023 – Shaping change!

(c) Bernd Lammel /Bundesfoto

The Bioeconomy Forum 2023 took place on 4 and 5 December at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Berlin. Under the title “Shaping change!“, the results and topics of the Bioeconomy Council, whose current term of office will come to an end on 31 December, were discussed over the course of the two days. The forum was opened by Federal Minister of Economics and Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck, who, after being welcomed by Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, emphasised that after extensive and successful research work, it was now time to drive forward the scaling of the bioeconomy. From our cluster’s point of view, we can only agree with this petition. This is the only way to drive forward the transformation from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy.

The rest of the programme on the first day was initially dedicated to the topics of raw materials transition and the circular economy, with the use of biomass, the use of CO2 and the possibilities of recycling being discussed. Special attention was also paid to biotechnological innovations and the question of how they can develop their leverage effect in the bioeconomy was discussed. It became clear time and again that the well-researched bioeconomy technologies now need to be scaled up in order to be implemented more quickly.

The second day of the Bioeconomy Forum was opened by Cem Özdemir, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture. In his welcoming address, he prioritised biodiversity protection and food security, but also pointed out the need for transfer from science to application, which still has room for improvement in Germany. The programme for the rest of the day dealt with the topics of sustainable land use and sufficiency. During the discussions held here, it became clear how different the perspectives on the bioeconomy are within the Council and the plenary session, and how challenging it is to reconcile them. Finally, the two Council Chairs Iris Lewandowski and Daniela Thrän ventured a look into the future. They hoped for a continued lively exchange on the bioeconomy, including beyond national borders, as well as greater involvement of young people in decision-making processes.

Overall, the forum offered a wealth of perspectives and facets of the bioeconomy, diverse networking opportunities and emphasised the political will to support the scaling of the bioeconomy and the transfer of research results into application.