Can we accelerate the bioeconomy in times of crisis?

This week the BioMonitor project will present some of its latest findings on the European bioeconomy at the ICABR Virtual Conference this year

Press release - 13 Oct 2020

This summer, the BioMonitor project teamed up with the International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR) to speak about the bioeconomy’s potential in the post-COVID economic recovery in Europe. In light of this emerging theme, the virtual ICABR conference will discuss in detail bioeconomy’s role across the globe. Some BioMonitor partners will share some of the project’s initial results on the European bioeconomy and its role in dealing with climate change and the environment after COVID-19.


Entitled, “Accelerating the Bioeconomy”, it will take place virtually from October 12 to 21 and will feature keynote speakers and panels, contributed-paper sessions and parallel panel sessions; all these are to be held in a “webinar” format, and can also be attended by anyone from around the world. Each session lasts for roughly 2 hours.  Some of the sessions will include presentations from BioMonitor partners Wageningen University (WU), and Wageningen University and Research (WUR).


On October 13 (Tuesday), Hans van Meijl (WU) will give a talk on, Towards a Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy: a macro-economic perspective on trade-off and synergy effects. He will discuss how a systems analysis framework (once designed and implemented based on a macro-economic perspective) will allow decision makers to support coherent policies that address grand societal challenges related to the bioeconomy. This will be featured in the second plenary session (from 16:00-18:00 CEST) on Climate Change, Environment and the Bioeconomy post COVID-19 to be chaired by María Rosa Murmis.


On October 15 (Thursday), two discussions will be made by BioMonitor colleagues. These are:

  • A Cross-Country Measurement of the EU Bioeconomy: An Input- Output Approach by Mohammed B. Degnet (WUR)
  • Bioeconomy Options and Sustainability by Kutay Cingiz (WU)

These will be featured in a session on the EU Bioeconomy to be led by the BioMonitor project coordinator Justus Wesseler.


What do we expect from these presentations?

A Cross-Country Measurement of the EU Bioeconomy

There is a lack of a unifying model when measuring the bioeconomy cross-country in existing literature. With our approach, we follow the definition of the bioeconomy from the BioMonitor project. Hence the primary sector (agriculture forestry and fishing) also includes food products, beverages and tobacco, wood and products of wood and cork, paper products and printing. Moreover, we also include in our bioeconomy calculations the downstream and upstream effects of the input-output flow between primary sectors to all other sectors. With this, we measure the share of bioeconomy based on the national income for 27 countries in Europe from 2005 to 2015.

Bioeconomy Options and Sustainability

The development of the bioeconomy is driven by innovation for alternative uses of biomass. The sustainability of using different forms of biomass for conversion into products is widely debated. We propose to use the genuine investment framework for assessing the sustainability of the bioeconomy. We first introduce the concept based on the seminal paper by Arrow et al (2012), and advance their model by including uncertainty and irreversibility explicitly, thereby linking the model with the EU bioeconomy strategy, and discussing the implications for measuring and monitoring the development of the EU bioeconomy.


Will BioMonitor have a considerable role in this conference?

These papers are at the core of the bioeconomy debate. One of them provides a practical and straight forward unifying method to measure the size of bioeconomy. The other one discusses the implications for measuring and monitoring the development of the EU bioeconomy.


How important is it to learn about other continents’ plans and studies on advancing the bioeconomy?

It is imperative to understand that how the value of bioeconomy and its sustainable nature helps us to find ways to combat against global warming and poverty. On this note, one of the main research topics is the growth of bioeconomy which is entangled with international trade, policy agendas and research on bioeconomy. For this we need to be aware of other continent’s plan’s and studies on bioeconomy, in order to find out optimal strategies for the advancement of bioeconomy.


Interested participants must register beforehand to attend the selected plenary sessions. Click here to see the full agenda and all the sessions’ registration links.


Cover photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash