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Open AccessArticle

One Concept, Many Opinions: How Scientists in Germany Think About the Concept of Bioeconomy

by Carmen Priefer 1,2 and Rolf Meyer 1,*
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany
Department of Nutritional Behaviour, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food (Max Rubner-Institut), 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4253;
Received: 19 June 2019 / Revised: 23 July 2019 / Accepted: 1 August 2019 / Published: 6 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green, Closed Loop, Circular Bio-Economy)
The official bioeconomy strategies in Europe and Germany pursue a technology-based implementation pathway and stipulate a wide range of objectives to be achieved with a bio-based economy. Reviews of the scientific and societal debate have shown that the technology fix meets criticism and that there is a controversial discussion about possible ways to shape the transition process. Against this background, an online survey was carried out among scientists involved in a regional bioeconomy research program in southern Germany in order to gain insight into their understanding of a bioeconomy. Moreover, the survey provides information about cooperation and major challenges in the future development of three biomass utilization pathways: biogas, lignocellulose, and microalgae. The analysis showed that a resource-oriented understanding of a bioeconomy is favored. The political objectives for a European bioeconomy are widely accepted, and it is expected that ongoing research can significantly contribute to achieving these goals. The two different pathways for shaping the bioeconomy that are discussed in the debate—the technology-based approach and the socio-ecological approach—are considered compatible rather than contrary. Up to now, scientific cooperation has prevailed, while cooperation with societal stakeholders and end-users has played a minor role. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioeconomy; survey; strategies; research program; biogas; lignocellulose; microalgae bioeconomy; survey; strategies; research program; biogas; lignocellulose; microalgae
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Priefer, C.; Meyer, R. One Concept, Many Opinions: How Scientists in Germany Think About the Concept of Bioeconomy. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4253.

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