How to Shape Education for A Sustainable Circular Bioeconomy?

Conclusions from the GBS2020 Workshop on Education, training & capacity building

There are three critical demands for bioeconomy experts towards achieving sustainable circular bioeconomy (SCB). Experts must be able to:

  1. respond to the upcoming needs of the specific bioeconomy sectors,
  2. bridge the interfaces between bioeconomy disciplines, and
  3. attend to the principles of sustainability and circularity. To groom experts who have these abilities, one thing is important- education.

Education is key to realising the shift of various sectors of the economy towards a sustainable bioeconomy. It is essential for the equipping of the future workforce towards responding to bioeconomy and sustainability needs. Because of the vitality of education towards achieving sustainable bioeconomy, bioeconomy education must be structured to embrace a transdisciplinary, holistic, and scientific-based approach. It must cover the entire spectrum of the SCB, and individuals must be trained from the most basic educational forms to the tertiary levels.

To brainstorm the structure and approach for the bioeconomy education, a broad group of stakeholders sat together in six parallel working groups at the GBS2020 workshop to discuss “How to shape education for a sustainable circular bioeconomy”. The stakeholders included international students, university teachers, industry representatives, politicians, NGOs, international organisations, and networks

There was a broad range of outcomes that ensued from the workshop. One outcome was the identification of present gaps in the bioeconomy education in tertiary institutions. The workshop addressed the difficulty of moving from multi‐ to inter-and transdisciplinary education, which is the main challenge in developing SCB related tertiary education programs. Furthermore, the stakeholders analysed the different national, regional, and global expectations for SCB expertise and identified strategies to integrate SCB in pre‐academic educational programs better.

Conclusively, it was agreed upon at the workshop that SCB education must cross disciplinary boundaries, continue throughout a lifetime, be all‐encompassing, inclusive, innovative, and relevant. Based on its comprehensiveness, some of the findings from the workshop will be used to support the development or improvement of educational formats offered by the participant organisations.

–> Download the full conference report here.