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University of Hohenheim
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The University of Hohenheim supports the update of the 2012 EU Bioeconomy. An adaptation of the Bioeconomy Strategy appears absolutely essential on the background of a quickly evolving and expanding European Bioeconomy and the concomitant requirements for suitable research and policy strategies.

A sustainable Bioeconomy can only succeed as a cross-sectoral and systematically interdisciplinary approach. Therefore it is considered positive that the strategy approach shall be designed across all sectors of the Bioeconomy, trying to link the policy actions with regard to climate, food, agriculture, forest, energy, waste and industry. The encouragement of the adoption of national and regional Bioeconomy Strategies throughout Europe (objective 7) is considered very useful as long as the coherence of these strategies throughout Europe is achieved. Therefore it is suggested that the EU should take a stronger lead in developing a European wide Bioeconomy strategy as an umbrella and guideline for regional to national strategies.

The learnings from the EU biofuels policies should be considered when reframing the Bioeconomy Strategy. Careful ex-ante assessment of potential ecological, social and ethical impacts of Bioeconomy policies should become part of the future Bioeconomy strategy. Therefore we agree with the development of “better performance monitoring and assessment frameworks (objective 6)” as long as these frameworks sufficiently depict and balance ecological, social and economic aspects. A dedicated food-strategy should be part of the Bioeconomy Strategy. However, a better and clear integration of sustainable production of food, biomaterials and bioenergy should be supported.

The Bioeconomy Strategy should support the specific potentials of Bioeconomy in Europe. These clearly include biotechnology and biorefinery approaches. Actually we are missing objectives on R&D support for these technologies as well as measures for creating societal awareness and acceptance for these technologies. Educational strategies addressing the society and consumer are required. To avoid that Bioeconomy becomes loaded with prejudices a timely Bioeconomy dissemination strategy is required.

While technological opportunities in the European Bioeconomy are high, the biomass resource base in Europe is limited. A two-fold biomass resource strategy is suggested here. This consists of support for innovative and sustainable agricultural and forestry intensification measures, accompanied by the respective R&D activities, and a cooperation approach with countries rich in biodiversity and biomass resources. Latter would require the development of an effective sustainability compliance framework. In the context of sustainable food and biomass supply we support objective 8 on strengthening and understanding the resilience of land and sea ecosystems. Here, support of R&D on efficient and low-emission agricultural and forestry production, including novel crops, breeding, precision farming and other innovative techniques, are required.

University of Hohenheim has established a dedicated and international Masters´ program in Bioeconomy as a joint activity of the three faculties ”Agricultural Sciences”, ”Natural Sciences” and ”Business Economics and Social Sciences”. We observe a raising interest for education of “bioeconomists” and at the same time recognize the need for new skills profile in the bioeconomy. Therefore we support the strengthening of support for the education and training of a skilled workforce in the Bioeconomy (objective 2) as a prerequisite for the successful implementation of a sustainable European Bioeconomy.

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