Born to transform? German bioeconomy policy and research projects for transformations towards sustainability

Kristina Bogner, Johannes Dahlke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aiming at fostering the transition towards a sustainable climate-neutral economy, the German Federal Government (GFG) intends to promote the transition towards a sustainable knowledge-based bioeconomy (SKBBE). Bioeconomy policies are adjusted regularly, increasingly focusing on addressing the grand challenges of our time. To analyze whether the German bioeconomy policy, in terms of strategies and publicly funded research projects, actually fosters knowledge creation for the desired transformation, these strategies and projects have to be evaluated. Using a mixed-methods approach, this paper aims at investigating in what way German bioeconomy policy is dedicated to transformations towards sustainability and whether this reflects in the publicly funded research projects. Our study shows that the strategies as well as the publicly funded projects, still have a strong techno-economic orientation, focusing on technologies as problem-solvers, lacking, e.g., normative or transformative knowledge. What is more, the artificially generated R&D network does not show the necessary structure or involvement of stakeholders, lacking, e.g., the involvement of civil society or transdisciplinary research. We argue that future innovation policy has to foster all types of knowledge relevant for transformations towards sustainability, incorporating all stakeholders. Otherwise, the bioeconomy transition might become a purely technological endeavor unable to foster strong sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107366
Number of pages14
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Knowledge
  • Sustainability
  • Bioeconomy
  • Transformative knowledge
  • Policy analysis
  • Transition


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