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About this book

This volume presents a timely recognition, warning and mapping of the fast approaching wave, or “bio-tsunami”, of global socio-technical transformation, built by a much wider spectrum of converging powers, including biotechnology, new agriculture, novel foods, health, quality of life, environment, energy, sustainability, education, knowledge management, and design of smart applications. The book contains eight sections corresponding to different clusters of bioeconomic and socio-technical change, as identified by the editors’ “Scanning the Horizon” foresight research; it also offers an integrated view of the future bioeconomy landscape though the convergence of several technologies that affect everyday life. The clusters offer methodologies for forecasting the future bioeconomy, and how these predictions can affect target-setting and the orientation of policies and actions to manage cultural and societal change, and achieve sustainable development in less developed areas. The book will be of interest to researchers, producers, logistics experts, policy makers, regulators, business and financial institutions, and biotechnologists (e.g. geneticists, food experts, etc.).

Table of Contents


Setting the Scene for Bio#Futures


Chapter 1. Bioeconomy as a Driver for the Upcoming Seventh K-Wave (2050–2100)

This chapter sets out to project the future role of bioeconomy in our socio-economic structure in the light of the so-called Kondratieff long-wave theory. This framework presupposes 40–60 year-long economic cycles, and according to the author’s interpretation of the theory, we are now embarking into the sixth wave (2010–2050), followed by the seventh wave 2050–2100. This chapter sets out to understand the development of the waves in the light of the changing relationship of humans with nature. The assumption is that as we move towards mid-century, our relationship with nature will turn into a more collaborative form, away from the extractive practice of current economies. This chapter explores four potential domains for bioeconomy development in this respect: (1) agriculture, turning to more regenerative and becoming a part of the solution to climate problem; (2) forestry, expanding its role as a source of new materials, medicine and well-being; (3) algae production, becoming an essential source of energy and new materials production; and (4) biomimicry, being extensively deployed as a design principle for emerging technologies. All this potential development will signify exponential growth of the impact of bioeconomy for our societies to come.
Markku Wilenius

Chapter 2. What Can We Do? Participatory Foresight for the Bioeconomy Transition

Several future scenarios were developed and illustrate how differently the bioeconomy can be shaped. The contribution of individual consumption and lifestyles is highlighted. None of the scenarios describe a bioeconomy that was perceived exclusively positive by the involved people. In each of the elaborated scenario, there are also assumptions that were critically and controversially discussed. It became clear that the individual assessments differ considerably on how desirable the presented pictures of the future are. The bioeconomy is therefore not a solution to all problems, and not to the same extent for all people.
Why do we want a bioeconomy? The future scenarios show that a sustainable bioeconomy will require changes in many different subfields of society at the same time. Individual developments need to be critically examined, but also the interplay of different elements needs to be assessed in terms of their impact on specific aspects of sustainability.
The alternative futures of the bioeconomy assist to become aware of the effects on our everyday life and to initiate a discourse that, on the one hand, supports a conscious examination of critical points and, on the other hand, addresses the plurality of needs.
Simone Kimpeler, Ariane Voglhuber-Slavinsky, Bärbel Hüsing, Elna Schirrmeister

Chapter 3. The Emergence of Bioeconomy in the 6th Kondratiev Wave of Change: A Horizon Scanning-Based Approach

This paper reports research results on the assessment of the emergence of bioeconomy as part of the mega-wave of socio-technical change that has taken off with the global financial crisis of ca. 2008 and is expected to peak around 2030. The appearance of bioeconomy-related phenomena on this wave is strongly related to the formation of clusters of opportunities, problems and other key factors. Nine such clusters were identified with the use of previous foresight exercises following the Horizon Scanning approach, with the help of a specially designed for the needs of this work Questionnaire, focusing on major expectations, worries and modes of action. A tenth, “mystery” cluster was found necessary to cover collectively the effects of disrupting factors. The various interactions of the identified clusters can explain the so far sporadic and sometimes inconsistent observations on the emergence patterns of bioeconomy as part of a Kondratiev Wave.
Emmanuel Koukios, Anna Sacio-Szymańska

Towards Circular Bioeconomy and Biosociety


Chapter 4. Strategies for a Rapid Transition to a Circular, Biobased Society

Rapid transition towards circular, biobased economy includes upscaling current knowledge/technologies and at the same time investing in public/private collaboration for developing biobased technologies. What is ready to be done and where investment is urgently needed can be summarized as follows: Reduction of emissions through improved resource efficiency by upgrading waste; stopping loss of biodiversity by reducing pesticides and land-use; hereby strengthening industrial competitiveness, creating jobs of many skills and improve rural livelihood. An analysis is given for so far too slow implementation: Global climate agenda focuses on energy/transport, where CO2 reduction is easily calculated, while indirect, but huge effects of improved resource efficiency are neglected. A strategy for rapid transition is outlined: unlocking full potential of the biomass, upgrading all components to the highest level. Upgrade all types of biomass – including industrial side streams and organic wastes. Communicate that biobased solutions address many societal challenges. Highlights are given of promising emerging bio-based technologies: negative emission technologies, circular textile industry technologies, BioAg, substituting pesticides, biological soil improvement and food and feed ingredients for improved health. Instruments and drivers are described, embracing that societal changes do not come from technology alone: Incentive structures, building markets; knowledge dissemination; transforming EU subsidies to drive implementation of greener solutions; international biobased collaboration to gain priority, including win/win strategy for growth economy collaborations; and dedicated bioeconomy alliance between Africa and Europe.
Lene Lange

Chapter 5. Circular Bioeconomy: A Path to Sustainable and Climate-Wise (Material) Economy?

Circular Bioeconomy – the symbiosis of bio- and circular economies is widely accepted as a solution for ensuring wise and frugal use of bioresources, and provide means to mitigate climate change. In this chapter, we apply circularity concept to scrutinize the use of bioresources and discuss their upcycling circularity potential during and at the end of life of the products and materials. Furthermore, the relationship, including potential synergies and conflicts, between circular bioeconomy and climate change mitigation is studied. The covered sectors include food, packaging, buildings and infrastructure and energy use of regenerated and produced bioresources.
Vafa Järnefelt, Anna Tenhunen, Laura Sokka, Pekka Tuominen, Raija Lantto

Chapter 6. The Bioeconomy Perspectives in Transformation Towards a Circular Economy in Poland

Development of the bioeconomy is one of the strategic tasks introduced in The Polish Circular Economy Roadmap and National Smart Specialization. The food sector is one of the most important and fastest growing branches of the Polish economy. 10.5% (1.7 million) of all employees employed in industry are involved in it. The increasing demand for eco-friendly products and packaging and at the same time focusing of the EU policies on carbon neutrality and ensuring resource and energy efficiency in a holistic approach creates new challenges and opportunities for food and beverage sector. Most of the companies start to analyse the economic and environmental impact from a value chain perspective to identify the environmental “hot spots” and value added from material supply to distribution from store supply to the customer and waste management. The paper analyses challenges and obstacles for turning bio-waste, residues and discards into valuable resources taking into account economic, environmental and social aspects based mainly on an example of Maspex (https://​maspex.​com/​) which is one of the largest companies in the segment of food products in Central and Eastern Europe.
Danuta Ciechanska, Joanna Kulczycka, Marta Kutyna-Bakalarska, Olga Janikowska, Stanisław Bielecki

BioEcoJust Themes and Approaches


Chapter 7. Open Biofutures: The Challenge of Maintaining Agency for Long-Term Futures

The world is complex, and its developments are always uncertain. In this context, the bioeconomy represents a framework for innovating solutions which can enable a global transformation to a sustainable future. However, bioeconomy developments can also serve to repackage problematic or even unjust economic patterns from the past. This chapter proposes a heuristic of open futures and closed futures which can be used as lenses useful for ethically evaluating future imaginaries such as the bioeconomy. These lenses help actors imagine possible consequences of various developments on ecology or nature. Therefore, open and closed biofutures can serve as tools for engaging the ethicality of various development trajectories. These lenses also encourage actors to seek wider inclusion when considering who has agency and transformative agency in the bioeconomy conjecture. This chapter presents how this tool for thinking has been utilized in the Bioeconomy and Justice Project (BioEcoJust) to imagine long-range futures that represent particular complex challenges. As a research tool these lenses have enabled us to envisage a diverse range of futures and evaluate what is closing or opening about them. We conclude that the lenses of opened and closed biofutures can be used by innovators and decision-makers of all sectors for consideration of the ethicality of the work they choose to pursue today.
Amos Taylor, Nicolas A. Balcom Raleigh

Chapter 8. Sensing and Making Sense of Emergent BioEthos Using Futuring Games

This chapter builds upon the premise that a multiplex of shared and divergent BioEthos – models of what would be ‘good’ relationships among humans and other living beings – inform the actions humans take towards living nature and ecosystems. Global warming and environmental change demand from people and our societies new ways of existing as part of living ecologies on this planet. In this setting, the Bioeconomy and Justice (BioEcoJust) project aims to explore ethical troubles that could arise in the development of a global, pervasive, and dominant bioeconomy. This chapter demonstrates how a role-based futuring game piloted in the Bioeconomy and Justice project supports people in ‘sensing and making sense’ of emergent BioEthos. It presents and analyses the outcomes from the BioEcoJust game session held at the 2019 World Futures Studies Federation Conference in Mexico City. The conceptual framework applied in the game interweaves theories of complexity, futures literacy, and scenarios as worldmaking and operationalizes sensemaking tools developed in the earlier stages of the BioEcoJust project including BioWorlds, bioeconomy socio-technological domains, the human-nature-technology triangle, and BioEthos. The BioEcoJust game pilot in Mexico City enabled its players to explore and critically assess the nuances and dimensions of an ethically troubled future situation and produce a new BioEthos which could be helpful to a unique set of roles for engaging the situation. While much of the literature concerning bioeconomy is concerned with the technical or social factors which can contribute to its development, little attention is paid to what larger ethical frameworks can support its just and fair evolution. The BioEcoJust game emphasized ‘keeping whole’ the created worlds of a variety of roles responding to an imagined future situation and focused the participant’s attention on the interface between assemblages of persons and their bounding conditions. The BioEcoJust game can serve as a model for futuring games designed to help people develop skills for sensing and making sense of emergent BioEthos so they can apply these skills to develop a more just bioeconomy.
Nicolas A. Balcom Raleigh, Amos Taylor

Chapter 9. Bioeconomy in Maturation: A Pathway Towards a “Good” Bioeconomy or Distorting Silence on Crucial Matters?

The bioeconomy as an emerging research field and policy framework has raised high expectations for enabling a shift to more sustainable practices. However, many of the solutions promoted under it have been heavily criticized for a lack of concern regarding the systemic effects in both environmental and social sustainability. In this article we analyse the differences between “1st round” bioeconomy policies and the revisions that have arisen from the critique (“2nd round bioeconomy policies”). We compare the two consecutive bioeconomy policy frameworks to views presented by a panel of Delphi experts. The experts elaborate on their views about a “good” and “bad” bioeconomy futures, with a long-range timeframe until 2075. The results indicate that the first round of bioeconomy policies contains many of the elements that the experts see as leading to an undesirable future. In contrast, the experts envisioned a “good” bioeconomy which would be based on a just and inclusive transition, a changed economic paradigm moving away from the focus on material growth, and a multitude of sustainable technologies, lifestyle changes, and balanced relations between business and politics. In the second round of bioeconomy policies, many of the issues addressed by the critique have been taken up, but problematic areas remain in the policies somewhat untouched. These include, amongst others, the question of biomass use for energy. We conclude that the bioeconomy finds itself now at an intersection between the old recommendations and novel, more inclusive goals. Are the expert panel’s views indicative of the directions where national-level policy implementation is taking the bioeconomy? If not, how will the bioeconomy policies resolve the most burning critiques in relation to the overreaching policy goals to combat climate change? We argue that what happens in the next phases of bioeconomy policy implementation process will be critical for the fate of the entire bioeconomy project.
Sofi Kurki, Johanna Ahola-Launonen

Agro-Food and Healthcare Advancements


Chapter 10. Technological Landscape of the Agriculture and Food Sector: A Long-Term Vision

This chapter presents the overview of global challenges and trends, as well as technological landscape and future prospects for science, technology and innovation (STI) in agriculture and food sector. Our study is based on a systemic mapping of trends and technologies with the combination of big data analysis (text mining) and expert-based methods. The focus of the study is the interaction of agrifood sector with biotechnology and information technology domains in shaping the future of bioeconomy-driven sustainable and socially inclusive bioagrifood sector. The latter is understood not only in terms of food production but also as a societal ecosystem providing opportunities for human-centred and environment-oriented activities on the land involving certain groups of the population based on traditions and collective or individual values. New opportunities for long-desired wide implementation of the principles of sustainable development and bioeconomy provided by breakthroughs in biotechnologies, nanotechnologies and artificial intelligence give hopes of deep transformation in the sector not only in the most technologically and economically advanced economies but also in mid-tier countries.
Leonid Gokhberg, Ilya Kuzminov, Elena Khabirova

Chapter 11. Parallels Between the Future for MedTech and Agri-Tech, Perspectives Drawing on the British Experience

In this chapter we explore the future for innovation in two related, but distinct, sectors. We consider the linkages between medical technology (MedTech) and agricultural technology (Agri-Tech) innovation in the UK. We ask and discuss questions: Who are the key actors in the innovation systems of MedTech and Agri-Tech in the UK? What are the core technologies driving the current waves of innovation in these two sectors? Can one industry learn from the other? Where is the scope for cooperation and synergies? We notice that both sectors are technologically linked through foundational technologies underpinning the majority of the observed innovation, e.g. big data, AI, IoT and robotics. The outputs of these technologies rely crucially on digital data for insight and decision support. However, Agri-Tech benefits from less complex stakeholder issues regarding data security and privacy. Both sectors are important to the UK going forwards, and both will be exposed to Brexit and consequences of the COVID pandemic. Our discussion on the future for innovation should be of particular interest to start-up leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, managers and policy-makers in MedTech, Agri-Tech and cognate sectors.
Malgorzata Grzegorczyk, Pantea Lotfian, William J. Nuttall

Chapter 12. Genomic Vaccines for Pandemic Diseases in Times of COVID-19: Global Trends and Patent Landscape

This chapter provides an analysis of global trends in genomic vaccines, a radical innovation breakthrough (RIB), from technological foresight and pandemic preparedness perspectives, crucial in times of COVID-19. From this conceptual framework, the state-of-the-art and technological prospects for these genomic vaccines are examined, based on a search on scientific publications and on patents for the period 2010–2020, presenting the vaccine patent landscape for the period. This search provides an overview of recent breakthroughs in genomic vaccines and two other related RIBs, gene editing and gene therapy, and identifies novel strategies that could positively contribute to the development of future genomic vaccines to pandemic diseases and COVID-19. Our results evidence in the last decade extraordinary advances in genetic approaches, gene editing and gene therapy, and the rapid development of innovative DNA/RNA vaccines for the prevention and immunotherapy of an extensive diversity of diseases, from the neglected infectious ones to cancer therapy. These results highlight the flexibility of vaccine technological platforms, crucial for response to pandemics and COVID-19, including hepatitis B, varicella, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, autoimmune diseases – systemic lupus erythematosus, lupus nephritis, and autoimmune myasthenia gravis – and finally a new nucleic acid sequence for immunogenicity to SARS-CoV-2.
C. Possas, A. Antunes, A. M. Oliveira, M. Ramos, S. O. R. Schumacher, A. Homma

Chapter 13. Non-communicable Diseases in the Era of Precision Medicine: An Overview of the Causing Factors and Prospects

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are among the most significant health challenges of the twenty-first century, causing 7 out of 10 deaths worldwide. Despite recent technological and medical advances, NCDs mortality and morbidity rates are increasing, and it is expected that by 2030 they will have caused 52 million deaths. In 2017, 41 million people died due to NCDs, and 80% of these deaths could have been prevented. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease are the primary causes of mortality among NCDs-related deaths. Autoimmune diseases (ADs) affect 5–10% of the globe and have detrimental effects on patients’ quality of life, life expectancy, and healthcare costs. Apart from the genetic background, 80% of the risk factors of NCDs are modifiable, including diet, hidden hunger, smoking, alcohol, air pollution, and physical activity, all discussed in this chapter. Accumulating evidence shows that changes in diet, lifestyle, and socioeconomic status have resulted in a substantial metabolic shift associated with the rapid increase of ADs. However, current approaches do not fully capture the individual variability on genes and lifestyle or consider the impact of modifiable factors on health. As such, there is growing pressure from patients’ increasing demand and substantial healthcare costs for prevention, prediction, early diagnosis, and effective treatment of NCDs. With the advent of precision medicine, there have been efforts made to deliver tailor-made solutions for NCDs. Metabolomics, an emerging field that gives a detailed analysis of the phenotype, is currently being investigated as a potential precision medicine tool for screening, patient stratification, and treatment personalization. In this chapter, we present up-to-date data on the mitigating epigenetic and lifestyle risk factors for NCDs and ADs and review the current methodology for their assessment.
Dimitris Tsoukalas, Evangelia Sarandi, Maria Thanasoula

Chapter 14. Obstacles in the Adaptation of Biopesticides in India

The unregulated use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers has led to unanticipated harmful consequences to human health as well as environment. The pandemic Covid-19 crisis is not permanent, but it has magnified the impact on livestock farming already present in the agricultural system. Farmers are facing the shortage of agricultural inputs due to the global trade disturbance. An effective alternative method of conventional pesticides is the application of biopesticides. These substances are sustainable solution for farming, pest control, and disease management. The post-Covid-19 pandemic impact on agriculture, regulatory hurdles, and the limitations of large-scale biopesticides production are discussed here.
Chetan Keswani, Hagera Dilnashin, Hareram Birla, Surya Pratap Singh

Chapter 15. Energy Solutions for Agricultural Machinery: From the Oil Era Towards a Sustainable Bioeconomy

Agriculture is at the heart of the bioeconomy. One central factor in agriculture is energy, which is needed for processes such as powering field machines like tractors and combine harvesters but also irrigation pumps, stable fans and grain drying systems. Modern implements like seeders, planters and manure spreaders need energy both for their movement (traction) and onboard equipment like fans, pumps, computer power and hydraulics. The study focuses on energy solutions for field machines in farming. These machines do their job in the countryside, far away from the energy infrastructure found in cities, and that is a challenge. One main part of the analysis in this chapter is a historical discussion on energy provision. Another part is an overview of present initiatives, including both those implemented in practice (like biogas and battery concepts) and those in trials or only discussed among experts in the industry (like fuel cell or hydrogen concepts). Derived from this analysis are some future visions towards a (1) fossil-free, (2) cost-effective and (3) sufficient energy system for farming field machines. In addition to these three dimensions, also discussed, for example, is the need for local production (small-scale circular systems), the weather independency aspect (for energy production) and autonomous vs. traditional machine systems.
Per Frankelius, Mattias Lindahl

Sustainability Constraints and Prospects


Chapter 16. Embedding Sustainability Strategies to Protect God’s Gift: The Earth

The overconsumption of our natural resources, climate change, the decline in quality and availability of water, and population growth are four major environmental issues that require our immediate and continued attention. The sustainability strategies presented to address these issues include adapting to a sharing economy, also known as servicizing – converting a product economy to a service economy. It is also important to design for a circular economy in order to increase resource efficiency and decrease disposal. Biomimicry is a great strategy leading to innovations inspired by nature. Strategies for addressing climate change have been addressed by project Drawdown which provides 100 different proposals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And when none of these address the problem, just think out of the box with strategies like vertical gardens. All of these strategies can be used to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which are being adopted by corporations and countries worldwide. Achieving a sustainable world will also have a positive impact on financial economics and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing.
George P. Nassos

Chapter 17. Biological Degradation of Odorous Air Pollutants

An offensive and prolonged smell that significantly interferes with the enjoyment and use of the affected property is known as odor nuisance. It can cause adverse health effects such as emotional unease, eye irritation, and respiratory problems. The most significant odorous gases are volatile organic compounds, nitrogen compounds including ammonia, and sulfur compounds including hydrogen sulfide. Major sources of these pollutants are animal farms, various chemical as well as food- and feed-processing industries, waste treatment or disposal facilities, and wastewater treatment plants. As more and more countries adopt regulations that prohibit business organizations from emitting strong odors, various technologies for removal of odorous compounds from waste gases are in use. Physical and chemical processes, such as activated carbon adsorption, ozone oxidation, catalytic oxidation, and incineration, are characterized by rather high energy requirements and high treatment costs. As more sustainable processes, microbiological odor treatment methods using various types of air filtration equipment are introduced. Their advantages include absence of explosion risk, operation at near atmospheric pressure and temperature range 10–40 °C, no secondary waste generation, less energy requirements. This chapter will review microbiological odor treatment methods and summarize authors’ experience of development and applications of compact trickle-bed bioreactor for odors removal from ventilation air discharged from various industrial facilities.
Damian Kasperczyk, Krzysztof Urbaniec, Krzysztof Barbusiński

Chapter 18. A Systematic Approach for Assessing and Managing the Urban Bioeconomy

As urbanization processes happen all over the world, an increasing attention is being given to the management of the resources that feed these urban areas. When addressed from a systems perspective, the connection between resources, production, and manufacture sectors and society can be clarified, especially when viewed from a life cycle perspective. The goal of this chapter is therefore to provide an analysis of the state-of-the-art resources management tools that take a life cycle management approach, with a particular focus on bio-based resources and the latest experiences in the bioeconomy sector. This analysis is the basis for discussing the necessary steps and needs for establishing an “urban bioeconomy metabolism,” whose definition can help to managing the material streams within the city limits in connection with the bio-based resources of the city’s surroundings.
Alberto Bezama, Nora Mittelstädt, Daniela Thrän

Innovative Energy Solutions


Chapter 19. Innovation in Bioenergy: Factors Affecting Innovation in Biofuels

This chapter focuses on biofuels innovation development based on main challenges for innovations and the cooperation partnerships of research centre involving different partners. The aspects of biofuels generations and the crucial biofuels products provide a deeper understanding of the significant role of bioenergy markets. The authors consider also the problems in the areas of biofuel evolution that have a decisive influence on their past and present developments. It is the transport, heat and electricity and the value chains. The practical part illustrates the biofuels innovations and its developments in Polish central region. The four cases – the liquid biofuel production based on slaughterhouse waste and animal fats, the solid biofuel production based on waste of onion, the gas biofuel production based on utilization of CO2/methane and bioethanol and integrated biofuels production technology/methane and fish oil based on fish waste – are exemplifying the dynamic development of biofuels in Poland and the European Union.
Dariusz M. Trzmielak, Ewa Kochańska

Chapter 20. Increasing Flexibility of Biogas Plants Through the Application of Innovative Concepts

After years of strong growth, the biogas industry is facing new challenges today. The traditional mode of operation as a baseload combined heat and power plant for heat and power generation is becoming more difficult with an increasing share of fluctuating renewable energy, e.g., from wind and solar in the power grid, and requires innovative concepts for securing an economic operation of the existing plants. In addition to a change in the operating mode towards a demand-oriented power generation by investment in new storage concepts and increased power generation capacities, new concepts for feeding biomethane (and thus a new economic concept) into the gas grids are becoming increasingly important. Feeding biomethane into the gas grids reduces the dependency on natural gas imports and creates opportunities to link the electricity, heating, and transport sectors of the energy economy. The following sections will present and evaluate the solutions currently available on the market and introduce new innovative concepts, which are currently in focus of various research activities.
Mirko Barz, Hartmut Wesenfeld, Asnakech Laß-Seyoum, Arvid Meibohm, Sascha Knist

Chapter 21. Case Study for Status and Exploration of Microalgae in Egypt

This chapter introduces a brief description of the microalgal cell, its presence, its constituents with the benefits of each, the applied technologies of biofuel production and biorefineries through a scope of the physical possibilities in Egypt. Microalgal biomass contains sufficient amounts of carbohydrates and oil for biofuel production especially biodiesel. The technical conversion options for biomass into biofuel can be categorized into three basic methods: chemical, thermochemical, and biochemical conversion. The desired product and the form of energy are the main factors that influence the choice of a specific conversion. Production of algal valuable products such as algal bioactive compounds and algal biofuel products will be presented briefly in this chapter. As a conclusion, the production of the biofuel conforming to ASTM specifications can be achieved by the selection of a techno-economically feasible technology. The feasibility can be performed using microalgal oil after the extraction of valuable products previous to use the remaining oil for biofuel production.
Guzine El Diwani, N. N. El Ibiari, S. I. Hawash, Sanaa A. Abo El-Enin, Nahed K. Attia, Ola A. Elardy, Elham A. AbdelKader, Samar A. El-Mekkawi

Bioeconomic Catalysts of Socio-Economic Development


Chapter 22. Bioeconomy Education

Bioeconomy tends to become a key technology and a substantial element for development and growth in Europe. It is based on a novel concept including the valorization of natural resources and human manpower in a sustainable way. Multidisciplinary and Cros-Sectorial consideration are the main characteristics of the whole bioeconomy frame, meaning that a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines and technical expertise are required. Adding to this the need for appropriate regulations and the expertise for necessary finances, it is obvious to conclude that a new generation of experts adapted to the current requirements is mandatory. These experts will have also to adapt to the changing dynamics of the current business and market needs. A dedicated bioeconomy education means to satisfy these emerging needs and to prepare this new skilled generation of working force. Many higher education institutions across Europe are facing these challenges, and they are adapting their programmes accordingly. However, a careful analysis of the educational aspect is imperative considering a wide number of lateral parameters such as the regional and sectorial particularities, the concrete detection of the target groups to be educated, the alliance of the educational curricula with socioeconomic priorities, the expected impacts and the potentially raising technical issues.
George Sakellaris

Chapter 23. Bioeconomy as Proponent of Digital Meanings Society

This article discusses societal transitions and particularly the one into a new phase after the information society. We will witness the emergence of a digital meanings society, in which the economy is based on the production and consumption of meanings and meaningfulness. Alongside with this techno-economic and sociocultural development or even a philosophical stance, we have seen several alternative characterizations for the new societal phase. Pathways towards digisociety, ecosociety or biosociety and experience society have been anticipated. The focus here will be on biosociety and how it can be intertwined with digital meanings society, propelling it or manifesting it. This is because biosociety may be the very phase that can guide us through the existential crisis that we humans have created by acting like the natural resources were limitless even though our planet does have physical limits. Change, growth, progress, meaningfulness, technology and nature are key ideas in this existential drama. The future will be moulded along the critical lines these ideas are being tackled and rethought.
Biosociety is based on bioeconomy. Bioeconomy instead has biotechnology as its driver. However, it is quintessential on a wider scale, too, how our relation to nature and to technology is conceived and practised in biosociety. What are the social constructions, philosophy and culture of life in biosociety? They are of equal importance in creation of a new societal phase, even though economy and technology are key and immediate drivers of change. Consequently, humans’ relation to nature on one hand and to technology on the other hand is in the core of achieving sustainable futures. It is interesting to perceive how these notions evolve in time, just like societies evolve through transitions into new phases. Besides reflecting upon the history of such ideas, it is intriguing to dwell on various metaphors of our interaction with nature and technology. Metaphors and myths live in us and affect our thinking, even unconsciously. The myth of Prometheus giving fire – (bio)technology – to us humans is a core myth in this sense to be addressed.
The relation of humans to nature seems to have a widening gap, whereas humans’ relation to technology is continuously bridging up. Our relation to nature and our relation to technology need to be rethought and revamped. “Technological somnambulism” describes the dilemma of modern times to willingly sleepwalk through the process of change. It means ignoring the notion that the technologies are not merely aids to human activity but also powerful forces reshaping that activity and its meaning. Biosociety and biotechnology give a meaningful context for humans living on the planet, but their outcomes have to be intentionally positive which is by no means and automatic process.
Sirkka Heinonen

Chapter 24. New Humanism: A Vital Component of Sustainable Socio-technical Change

The adagio that we cannot solve our societal problems with the same methods that create them is well known. The vision that inspiration and motivation for ‘new methods’ need to come from deeper thinking about who we are as individuals and groups and about how to deliberate these problems with each other is less popular. This vision is the point of departure of the New Humanism Project. Tackling complex social problems such as climate change, poverty and the various forms of social depression and oppression comes down to a fair dealing with their complexity. This requires ethical competence and the preparedness to engage in joint public reflexivity ‘in face of that complexity’, taking into account our interests, hopes, hypotheses, beliefs and concerns.
However, our current methods of democracy, scientific research and education stimulate conflict, polarisation and competition rather than public reflexivity and the development of ethical competence. Therefore, we need to rethink and reform those methods into interaction methods that are inclusive, pluralistic, transdisciplinary and deliberative. We believe these interactive methods will not only enable more effective sustainable development towards a domain such as bioeconomy. They also have a chance to be perceived − in a form of inner ownership − as fair by anyone in our society.
Silke Van Cleuvenbergen, Gaston Meskens

The Way Ahead, Key Trends and Lessons


Chapter 25. Bioeconomy in the Twenty-First Century: Global Trends Analysis Perspective

Bioeconomy as an ecosystem faces several fundamental changes, triggered by at least two wild cards – events with low probability, but huge effects – pandemic COVID-19 and low oil prices. They influence the whole landscape of global trends that constitute bioeconomy in the beginning of the year 2020. The new bio-reality will develop by five blocks: demand; supply; infrastructure; science, technology and innovation (STI); and regulation. Major changes will reveal in new consumer patterns, which shift from eco, responsible and green principles to efficient, rational and pragmatic behaviour, dramatic transformation of global value, production and logistic chains and new target KPI for world’s governments from economic growth and prosperity to survivance and national security. Will bioeconomy become a new general standard for business and society depends on proper identification and further management of global trends, presented in this chapter.
Aleksandr Chulok

Chapter 26. Responsible Innovation in Industry: The Role of Firm’s Multi-Stakeholder Network

Responsible innovation (RI) receives a high interest from the society; however, its practical implementation remains complicated because of the lack of operationalisation that would allow integrating RI into existing organisational processes, especially, in industrial contexts. Most prior research on RI in the industry seek to move forward firm’s innovation policies and strategies to include RI principles. They are, however, limited to include firm’ behavioural choices and institutional requirements in their analysis. In an integrative view, a multi-stakeholder network approach to reveal how firm’s multi-stakeholder network shapes responsible innovation practices throughout the different stages of the innovation process of the firm is applied. Data from ten case studies are used to validate different levels of responsibility, through engagement with the firm’s multi-stakeholder network. Based on that, a new conceptualisation of the RI is proposed, consisting of two levels: first level defined by legal and contractual responsibilities and the second level defined by moral responsibilities.
Jolita Ceicyte, Monika Petraite, Vincent Blok, Emad Yaghmaei

Open Access

Chapter 27. Inclusion and Resilience in the Bioeconomy

New technological developments such as CRISPR-Cas, advanced genetic sequencing and the digitalization of agriculture offer promising prospects to realize the potential of a sustainable bioeconomy. At the same time, enormous challenges abound such as the pressure on biodiversity and the associated risk of pandemics, climate change and the ever-increasing global economic inequality. The bioeconomy can play a beneficial role in this; however, this will only be possible if the bioeconomy is developed on the basis of inclusion. In this chapter I will explain the relevance of inclusion for the bioeconomy and describe some of the sociotechnical developments where inclusion should be realized in order to build a resilient and sustainable bioeconomy. These developments include biosphere capacity, global biobased value chains, digital genetic resources and the digitalization of agriculture. I will conclude with the question of who bears responsibility for an inclusive bioeconomy.
Lotte Asveld


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