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GBS2018: when science, policy, and art meet

The first day of the Global Bioeconomy Summit was jam-packed with interesting plenary lectures, constructive workshops, and an awards ceremony for the best bioeconomy visualisations.

Federal Minister for Research and Education, Anja Karliczek, outlined in the morning plenary session of the Global Bioeconomy Summit in front of 800 attendees the future of bioeconomy in Germany.

After the Federal Minister for Research and Education, Anja Karliczek, officially opened the second Global Bioeconomy Summmit, the attendees themselves sprung into action - whether it was on the online tool slido for real-time polls or during one of the many workshops. "Within the workshops, the emerging trends of bioeconomy will become clear", prepared Christian Patermann the Summit participants.

Work local, think global

The workshops were split into four tracks: "Bioeconomy of World Regions", "Industry", "Policy" and "Innovation & Environment". Energized from the morning plenary lectures, the workshop attendees quickly filled the designated rooms and after short introductory remarks began creative and constructive discussions. Whereas the "Policy" workshops urged for more and better international communication and collaboration between science, politics, and the public; the workshops concerning "World Regions" highlighted the different needs and preferences in different countries and continents. For instance, while Africa ist predominantly focussed on agriculture and limiting the use of water, Europe is focussing more on new biotechnological developments. In order to share the results of the discussion with all Summit attendees, every workshop designated a raporteur and the results will be presented on Friday afternoon. 

Experiencing bioeconomy

Another highlight and huge crowd pleaser of the Summit was the "World Exhibition of Bioeconomy": Several displays showcased the newest everyday real-life applications, ranging from insect-based chips, to a building brick made of microorganisms and shoes made from algae. Even the official FIFA-football for the up-coming worldcup was included, as it consists of a biobased ethylene made from sugarcance.


The winners of the "Vision in Bioeconomy" art competition: (from left to right) Alexis Stylianou and Alex Giurca. The third winner, Tali Teper, was unable to attend and was filled-in for by jury member Hans Baltzer.

When art meets bioeconomy

In December 2017 and January 2018 students from around the globe were invited by the Bioeconomy council to take part in the art competition "Visions in bioeconomy". The competition was initiated to foster creativity and outside-the-box thinking. The students were asked to visualise their ideas of (a future) biobased economy. All of the submissions were on display during the Summit. Three winners were chosen by a jury composed of art and design expert Hans Baltzer, representatives from the German Bioeconomy Council Holger Zinke and Hannelore Daniel, as well as Council Secretariat Christin Fund and junior bioeconomy researcher Helen Berga Paulos

The winners of the art competition were announced on Thursday evening: Alexis Stylianou, Tali Teper, and Alex Giurca. Stylianou and Giurca were present to receive their awards, Teper, unfortunately, was unable to attend.

More bioeconomy in our day-to-day lives

Stylianou, originally from Cyprus, currently studies in Berlin. He foresees many more biobased innovations and technologies in the near future. "I hope bioeconomy will become an even bigger part of our every-day life soon." When asked which aspects appear most urgent, he was quick to answer: "We need to reduce the amount of plastic that has already accumulated and that we still use on a daily basis." He suggests to act on two fronts: "Biodegradable plastic is a fantastic approach. But we also need to find new ways to remove fossil-based plastic from the environment without increasing the microplastic pollution." 

Giurca currently works at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg at the intersection of forestry, society, and politics: “I attended the first GBS in 2015 and was fascinated by the possibilities and potential of this emerging field. This year, I was curious to see how far the field has come since then - it's amazing to see so many new talents and technologies. Moreover, the art competition was a great way to visualize and communicate how I view the bioeconomy.” 

The summit was organized by the German Bioeconomy Council, with financial support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and takes place on April 19 and 20 at the Deutsche Telekom's Representative Office in Berlin. With more than 800 participants, “Global Bioeconomy Summit 2018” is fully booked. For anyone unable to join the Summit in Berlin, there is a live webcast provided on April 19 and 20 April. The webcast can be accessed for free here:

Towars the end of the second day of GBS2018, the new GBS Communique was released. In it a common knowledge base for the bioeconomy is recommended, in order to coordinate the development of policies internationally. Moreover, it calls for monitoring and analysing the status quo as well as the progress of the bioeconomy in order to drive its development towards specific goals and to be able to recognize and pre-empt unwanted side-effects. 


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