The bioeconomy holds potential solutions to important challenges of the future. The social, economic and environmental impacts associated with its products and processes, however, will require extensive dialogue processes on the future development of the bioeconomy. Coordinated by Ecologic Institute, the BioSTEP project aims at promoting stakeholder engagement and public awareness for a participative governance of the European bioeconomy.
While the bioeconomy offers an opportunity to reconcile economic growth with environmentally responsible action, the societal transformation towards a bio-based economy raises questions about its ethical foundations as well as its political and institutional framework conditions. BioSTEP promotes a dialogue process that brings together different stakeholders from science, economy and society. This dialogue process will draw attention to concerns and objectives of the bioeconomy and, at the same time, provide new insights into perceived justification deficits and acceptable implementation strategies.
BioSTEP applies a three-tier approach which aims at reaching all relevant actors in the bioeconomy domain, particularly policy-makers, various stakeholder groups (scientists, business, non-governmental organisations), and citizens. Tailored communication tools, including workshops, conferences and exhibitions, will be developed for each target group in order to maximize outreach and to facilitate active engagement in public debates on the bioeconomy. At regional level, a so-called 'living lab' approach will be applied and tested, which facilitates the involvement of public-private networks of stakeholders in bioeconomy-based innovation and business model development processes.
Ecologic Institute is responsible for the overall project coordination. Furthermore, it leads a work package that is dedicated to mobilizing stakeholders and policy-makers at European, national and regional levels to take part in focussed and interactive debates about the potentials and challenges of the European bioeconomy. These activities will lead to targeted policy recommendations for a participative governance and sustainable development of the European bioeconomy.