A success story with potential - the Bioeconomy Science Center for a sustainable bioeconomy

Jülich, March 10, 2021 - For 10 years, Forschungszentrum Jülich, the Universities of Bonn and Düsseldorf, and RWTH Aachen University have been pooling their expertise for systemic and integrated bioeconomy research in the Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC). At the 5th BioSC Symposium on March 5, successful projects were presented and new developments and challenges were highlighted, and the Christian Patermann Prize was presented for the first time.

Mankind is facing major challenges: Climate change, shrinking resources and a growing world population require a rethink and new, more sustainable actions and economies than before. This requires an overarching linkage of knowledge and technologies, the protection and conservation of natural resources, a shift in the basis for food and raw materials, and effective societal changes.

At Forschungszentrum Jülich and the universities of Bonn, Düsseldorf and Aachen, the need and potential for developing a sustainable, knowledge-based bioeconomy were recognized early on. With the founding of the BioSC in the fall of 2010, the four partners began a cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary collaboration in research and education for the transformation to a bioeconomy that is still unique today. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has been funding the NRW strategy project BioSC since 2013 and has thus enabled around 60 research projects to date.

At the 5th BioSC Symposium, scientists from the BioSC and external experts for example from industry made contributions on sustainable production of plants, new biobased processes and products as well as transformation and sustainability on a regional, national and global level. Thorsten Menne, Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Andrea Noske, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, emphasized the essential need for systemic and interdisciplinary thinking and action, as well as networking among all stakeholders from science, industry, and society, and the importance of research for a successful transformation process. Professor Wolfgang Marquardt, chairman of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich, highlighted the importance for appropriate funding structures for systemic and complex issues such as in bioeconomy research. According to him, the structural change in the region is suitable as an ideal real laboratory for an exemplary implementation with industry and society. Professor Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, formerly of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, stated that only sustainable innovations could be competitive. For the future, he would particularly like to see an even stronger exchange between industry and research. He said that the BioSC and its partners offered an established, ideal basis for cooperation in this regard. Uwe Fritsche from the International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategies pointed out that the bioeconomy has the opportunity and obligation to contribute to the achievement of the global sustainability goals. The post-COVID era would offer a great opportunity to achieve the necessary transformation to a more sustainable economy and society.

The Christian Patermann Prize, endowed with 25,000 euros, was awarded to Dr. Michael Wustmans from the University of Bonn and recognizes outstanding achievements in guiding young scientists to conduct excellent and relevant research. The prize was awarded by the namesake personally, and honors Christian Patermann, the founder of the knowledge-based bioeconomy in Europe.

An overview of the results and developments from ten years of research, training and cooperation at the BioSC is provided in an anniversary brochure at: www.biosc.de.

Last Modified: 22.05.2022