The Year of the Bioeconomy

The German government aspires to a sustainable market economy without the use of fossil fuels – and the Science Year 2020 aims to help achieve this goal.

Versatile renewable raw material: harvesting maize.
Versatile renewable raw material: harvesting maize.

Bioeconomy is a term for changing an economy based on fossil fuels, particularly oil. The idea is to replace this outdated way of running an economy with a system that is similarly competition-oriented but also sustainable, an economy in which renewable resources replace oil. In order to achieve this goal, the Federal Government adopted a National Bioeconomy Strategy in January 2020.

The Science Year 2020/21 of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is devoted to the bioeconomy and aims to help Germany implement this policy. According to the BMBF, the "Science Year 2020/21 gives the public the opportunity to experience potential solutions that have already emerged from research. Many new technologies and procedures can help us produce, process and utilize resources and products differently in the future."

Science Years are not closed events in laboratories and research institutions; rather, citizens are invited to get actively involved in shaping change in a dialogue with science and research and to take part in discussion and hands-on formats.

The BMBF has been organizing Science Years since 2000 in cooperation with an initiative called 'Science in Dialogue' and its chairperson, climate researcher and marine biologist Antje Boetius. The aim is to promote the exchange between the scientific community and the public and to present the state of the art in research on the respective topics. The bioeconomy is often concerned with new technologies, such as plant-based building and insulation materials, pollutant-degrading microorganisms, kerosene substitutes made of algae and self-decomposing plastics.