OECD BNCT Task Force on Industrial Futures

Innovation for a Sustainable Bioeconomy: a BNCT Workshop


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Monumental events of 2015 have placed bioeconomy and sustainable development at their highest ever level of political visibility. The world is now on a course to drastically reduce emissions, and there are very few options for doing so. A price on carbon and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies will not work alone. New technologies are essential to this future economy.

Bio-based production has its place, but It would be one thing to create a bioeconomy, quite another to be sure that it is a sustainable bioeconomy. Enter industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology. Bioenergy and biofuels have been the big policy targets. Bio-based production of chemicals, plastics and textiles has lots to offer in a bioeconomy, but have been relatively ignored in policy.

This workshop examines some technology and sustainability issues. Synthetic biology is one of the platform technologies that offers much. However, feeding the biocatalysts needs sustainable feedstocks. New feedstocks need new supply chains. Suddenly the issue becomes one of systems innovation.

On the policy side, capacity building in industrial biotechnology and bioeconomy is an essential starting point. One popular public policy option in Europe has been the creation of competitive clusters. This model seems suited to industrial biotechnology as farmers form key stakeholders. Europe also now has its public private partnership for the bio-based industries. And the European Commission has been busily mobilising for a bioeconomy.

This workshop takes place on the afternoon of May 25. See the flyer for more details.