Advancing a bioeconomy requires that policymakers understand how the design and coherence of public policy can contribute, or create barriers, to its development. Ireland’s first National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy (February 2018) recognized the significance of policy coherence as a critical factor in a successful transition to a bioeconomy. Qualitative document analysis was employed to assess the level of coherence across a range of relevant policy documents. As is the case with most other countries the key sub-sectors related to the bioeconomy in Ireland have independent policy documents for their own developmental process, with obvious potential for conflict. The results of the analysis indicated inconsistency across sectors, highlighting the requirement to update certain strategy documents in order to raise the level of cross-sectoral coherence. This process is essential in both avoiding a ‘silo’ mentality and enabling the concept of the bioeconomy and its associated objectives to become mainstreamed. The methodology employed in this research is easily transferable and should prove useful for other countries in transition to a bioeconomy to assess the strengths and weaknesses of relevant documents and identify where change is required.
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