On 7 December 2023, BioGov.net partner FVA organised a workshop on bioeconomy education, in the context of the CBE JU Stakeholder Forum. The workshop titled “Developing skills in the bio-based industries: future bioeconomy education pathways” took place in Brussels and involved BIObec, BioGov.net and GenB as co-organisers.
With 2023 having been designated as the European Year of Skills, the workshop brought together the most relevant projects in bioeconomy education to outline the necessary and missing skills and future job profiles, as well as to discuss the skills-related regional dimension and priorities and share strategies to attract students and professionals towards careers related to the bioeconomy.
During the workshop, success stories and formats for designing educational pathways (e.g., competence centres, business models and educational frameworks) were presented and discussed, to understand how to effectively address the skills needed in the bio-based sector.
In the opening remarks, BIObec project officer Giovanna Rizzetto (CBE JU) highlighted the importance of such events to foster dialogue and identify needs and challenges in bioeconomy education, to properly address them in current or future EU initiatives.
Specifically, BioGov.net contributed to the discussion by providing an overview of the project’s methodological approach, which incorporates New European Bauhaus initiative’s aspects and values and integrates art-based frameworks and the STEAM approach to learning, to develop a methodology to link art to bioeconomy education, along 4 dimensions.
Our partner PEDAL, on behalf of coordinator CIVITTA, also presented to the audience the main outcomes obtained by the project so far, such as the identification of relevant job profiles in the bioeconomy with related skills needed, as well as key insights and recommendations from the mutual learning workshops organised within the 8 BioGov.net’s regional Communities of Practices established in the target regions.
The following interactive discussion engaged participants from relevant EU funded projects and networks (e.g Allthings.bioPRO, BioBeo, Engage4Bio, Circular Bricks, EBU and EBU Label, ICA CoP Bio-Edu, BIOEAST initiative – including BioEast UniNet), which shared their contributions to respond to the following questions:
- How can bioeconomy education respond to regional and industry needs and priorities?
- What are the future bioeconomy and bio-based economy job profiles and skills needed?
- How to inspire, inform and attract students and professionals towards careers related to the bioeconomy?
- How future projects and initiatives can bridge the gaps between skills needed and educational pathways?
Their inputs were gathered through Mentimeter and the audience agreed on the need to
- facilitate a more structured cooperation among educational providers, industries and local authorities, to ensure that the educational curricula are co-created and able to address specific (present and future) needs and requirements
- organise events to support networking and encourage knowledge sharing and best practices
- increase on-the-job trainings and opportunities for younger generations to have direct and practical educational experiences in industries
- enhance transversal skills, foster multidisciplinarity and systemic thinking in addition to more technical skills
- stimulate dialogue with policy makers to effectively create a governance system in the bioeconomy which is able to ensure the implementation of such educational pathways at different geographical levels (lack of legislations and unified frameworks, need for funding and public support)
- provide motivation and foster inclusiveness through innovative arts-based approaches, using different tools, gamified approaches and more engaging methodologies, while promoting the bioeconomy.
Nelo Emerencia (BIC) closed the workshop by providing remarks on how the BIC working group in education will make sure to embed the main suggestions emerged during the discussion, highlighting again the relevance of such debate for the entire educational community.
These insightful inputs will contribute to the definition of policy recommendations that will be considered for future activities in the domain, targeting different levels and considering the regional specificities and needs. They also contributed to inform the recommendations delivered by CBE JU as outcomes of the Forum.
Impact: The workshop reached around 30 participants and the main takeaways from the discussion were presented by BIObec’s coordinator Davide Viaggi in plenary session, reaching around 400 stakeholders participating in the CBE JU Stakeholder Forum.
Author: Selenia Marinelli