About the Region

  • The characteristic of this country is that although it has a National Bioeconomy Strategy (the first National BS in Europe), in parallel has developed at least three more Regional Strategies each of them with local particularities and specificities.
  • The existing dominant sectors are: Biobased fuels, biogas (food processing) agriculture and the chemical industry. Subsectors/Value chains are food products, electrical energy (biogas) and the Hydrogen. In a holistic approach to implementation, it is expected that subsectors will be combined, and value chains will be more regionally oriented, more sustainable, and they will produce less CO2.
  • In the sector of Bioeconomy Education, there are multiple existing policies on the wider topic of sustainability. Bioeconomy Council in Germany drafted and implemented an internationally competitive strategy for a knowledge-based Bioeconomy and its implementation in Basic Education of all levels, Lifelong learning and Vocational training.
About the Region Image

Thematic Orientation

Existing Sub-Sectors

Biobased fuels, biogas (food processing) agriculture, chemical industry are the main sectors today in our region. Subsectors/Value chains are food products, electrical energy (biogas), Hydrogen

Key Trends Influencing Innovation

Key trends in our region are renewable energies, decarbonization of industries, digitalization, artificial intelligence, sustainable transportation /mobility, and fostering of local sourcing to reduce supply chain risks

Expected Sub-Sectors / Value Chains

In 2030 key sectors are considered to be Agriculture, Food Industry, Chemistry, Plastics and Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, Energy, Energy Storage, Paper Industry, Textile Industry, Construction Industry, Building Materials, Wood Processing, Information and Communication Technology, Logistics, and Mechanical Engineering.   It is estimated that value chains and ensuing goods of the above cited sectors will be food products, BioBased Packaging Materials, Electrical Energy (biogas), Hydrogen, and Insulating Materials.

It can be expected that subsectors will be combined heat and power plants (CHP), waste cogeneration plants, biofuel facilities, pulp and paper, pellet facilities, green refinery, organic and inorganic chemicals, industrial gas and gas facilities, fertiliser, food and animal feed additives, composting plants, sewage treatment plants, landfill, breweries, sugar mills, starch mills, oil presses, fruits and vegetable processing. The value chains will be more regional and will produce less carbon dioxide.  E.G. in the field of biorefinery, wood, paper, and pulp could be used and produced in the same area. The same applies to the food sector, where plants, that are rich in proteins (lentils) can be processed to improve the protein intake in nutrition. Chemical recycling (Plastic, clothing) production of chemicals, smart textiles, and new materials in the construction industry.

Opportunities for advancement (Growth, Career, Social etc.)

With a stronger focus on various fields of Bioeconomy, a multitude of career chances and job profiles have to be created. Assumingly, there will be a need for experts in various fields. There will be a need for expertise. Besides the increasing number of sustainable jobs, there will be the need for start-ups and businesses in this field. Right now, there are already some big firms (e.g. Shell) involved. Several innovative labs have been set up by different stakeholders.

Governance, Education levels & Skills

Governance structure in adult education on Bioeconomy, or on the wider topic of sustainability (Higher Education, Vocational Training etc.)

  • There are existing policies in (adult) education on the wider topic of sustainability. Further education and training activities as well as regional development needs have to be identified and promoted according to the needs
  • Bioeconomy Council in Germany drafted and implemented an internationally competitive strategy for a knowledge-based Bioeconomy
  • The new National Bioeconomy Strategy has been published in January 2020. The achievement of a biobased economy will represent a significant contribution towards an implementation in the Rhenish territory. 
  • Funding programmes can be identified in the area like Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Research Centre Jülich, Institute für Arbeit und Technik (IAT) in Gelsenkirchen, University of Bonn.  
  • Local stakeholders are the Bioeconomy REVIER initiative that wants to convert the Rhenish Revier into a model region for sustainability. Funding programs and measures have already been taken in various fields of Bioeconomy

Vocational Training

  • In Germany the Vocational Training Act ( Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBiG) 

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), in agreement with the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), issues training regulations for recognized training occupations.

Organization of Adult and Lifelong Learning

  • In the Rhenish territory, 19 University and technical college locations can be identified with courses related to bioeconomic knowledge fields. That amounts to 238 courses related to Bioeconomy. 
  • Agricultural and Forest Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Energy and Supply Technology, Bioprocess Engineering, Economics, and Textile Technology to name a few. 
  • Vocational training: There are several trainings, that could fit into the field of Bioeconomy, such as biological-technical Assistant and chemical technician, IT assistant, design assistant and state-approved information technical/ r assistant, electrical, engineering assistant, – technical assistant/energy engineering assistant, laboratory assistant, informational mathematical assistant, cytological assistant, food technological assistant. 
  • In most vocational training elements of work-based learning are more or less provided depending on whether they can be realized in a company or are entirely college-based.
  • Universities and colleges offering courses in that field are close by (research centre Jülich and RWTH Aachen offer a course “Sustainable Bioeconomy” (Nachhaltige Bioökonomie). The Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC) including the University of Aachen focuses also on the training of young professionals. The university (Hochschule) Niederhein offers a project “Living Lab Bioeconomy”. 
  • The ecosign/Academy for Design combines design and sustainability throughout the course – both in the Bachelor’s course in Sustainable Design (BA) and in the Master’s course in Sustainable Design (M.A.). Focus: communication design, product design, illustration, photo design, sustainability and design, 
  • In the field of life sciences, Springer Campus (together with the University of Mainz) offer high-quality certificate courses, trainings for laboratory professionals, (flexible learning concept, online platform, tutorials)
  • Summer school courses offered by the Bioeconomy Science Center (Rhenish territory), that address students PhD student or an early Post-Doc. 
  • Trainings like BLOOM (Boosting Bioeconomy Knowledge in Schools) are accessible for all teachers offering a fresh perspective into the Bioeconomy field and its applications in teaching STEM subjects

Available Research on Bioeconomy Education

  • Initiatives and Studies are promoted/conducted by IAT Gelsenkirchen and Research centre Jülich, University of Aachen (RWTH)
  • Research about the levels/formats of bioeconomy education most needed has been conducted by IAT
  • RWTH Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (University of Aachen) heads the consortium. Institutes from the RWTH, the Research Center Jülich , an organization founded by the state and the Technical University of Dortmund (TU Dortmund) are involved in the accompanying research
  • Further initiatives focus on knowledge transfer and exchange
  • Geoverbund ABC/J12 spin off from the science center Jülich, BioRiver-Life
  • Science in the Rhineland, Biotechnology (CLIB, Cluster industrial biotechnology offers a platform and exchange with companies and firms.  CLUB CEPLAS focuses knowledge on plant science
  • The Fuel Science Center PhenoRob is an excellence cluster on agriculture
  • Real laboratories (“Reallabore”) have been implemented by the Research centre Jülich

Main Training, Retraining or Lifelong Learning on Sustainability

  • Blindow Schools GmbH an Institute in other parts of Germany (Bückeberg) offer vocational training to become a state-certified environmental protection technician (Umweltschutztechniker) with a focus on environmental and process engineering (Blindowschule)
  • A training for company employees is offered by Springer company
  • Other adult training and further education offers are promotional offers, post-doc studies, that are being offered by the Bioeconomy Center in the Rhenish territory in Jülich. 
  • The RWTH Aachen University, the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, the Friedrich Wilhelm University Bonn and the Research Center Jülich) offers Summer schools for PhD-students and advanced Master students

Available Research on Bioeconomy skills needed

The IAT study focuses on the skills most needed in the Rhenish territory. (Bioeconomy study: potential in the Rhenish area – knowledge and education, underlines that skills most urgently needed are trainings, that lie in the fields of chemistry, agriculture, biology, process technology and economy and information technology, as listed in the interviews and the study.

Linking Art & Bioeconomy Education

Bioeconomy education in which Art concepts are applied

  • Art as a stimulus of the needed skills
    • In the project Look@BioEconomy: Bioeconomy is being perceived from the perspective of art and design. The project is being conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
  • Art addressing learning styles [Not available examples]
  • Inspirational case studies from Art to Bioeconomy Education
    • The NaturFutur project, a cooperation between the Museum of Natural History and Bioökonomie.de, an initiative of the federal Ministry of Education and Research focuses on various topics of the Bioeconomy. It offers an interactive augmented reality exhibit that opens up different approaches to the topic of Bioeconomy. This possibility of a digital voyage of discovery is in dialogue with a large number of exhibits that invite further discussions. Artistic interventions set stimuli and create new thought experiments
  • Injecting the Bioeconomy in design, art, architecture, etc. professions 
    • The University of Stuttgart, Institute for Supporting Structures and Structural Design together with the research centre TRR 141 “Biological Design and Integrative Structures” has started an approach 
    • “Architecture meets biology” – that applies biological functional principles in construction
    • The DFG-funded transregional collaborative research center TRR 141 “Biological Design and Integrative Structures” is a network, that consists of the University of Stuttgart, the Universities of Tübingen and Freiburg and the Stuttgart Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP
    • Based on computer-based simulations and manufacturing techniques, a transregional collaborative research centre is investigating which design and functional innovations this bionic approach enables

Marginal Groups

Working with which marginalised, disadvantaged, minority groups is prioritised?

None

Relevant Jobs and/or Opportunities for Inclusion of Marginal Groups

None

Main needs of individuals of marginalised groups integrating them into Bioeconomy

Mainly, tasks, that are easy to deal with, harvesting, food production etc.

Existing educational/development activities for marginalized groups for Integration to Bioeconomy activities

SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS

  • The existing National Bioeconomy Strategy fully aligned with the EU Bioeconomy Strategy
  • Existing (at least 3) Regional Strategies particularly focusing on the potential of the respective regions
  • Competitiveness based on Innovation
  • Wide spectrum of operational sectors and expected expansion to new sectors and value chains
  • Increase of employment / available job positions
  • Existing Educational policies and governance regarding the Bioeconomy Education
  • Involvement of Institutions in all levels of education
  • Existing lateral opportunities, Life-Long learning, Vocational training, mass information, etc
  • Substantial overlapping between the Bioeconomy Education Institutions and Art related institutions

WEAKNESSES

  • Lack of assessment on the implementation of Bioeconomy Strategies (National and Regional)
  • Not fully valorized resources and products
  • Bioeconomy is not fully aligned with the socioeconomic priorities of the country
  • Not existing Educational Strategies in the domain
  • Fragmentation of activities and priorities. Lack of an organizational umbrella between Institutions related to Bioeconomy Education
  • Lack of identification of Marginalized groups. Lack of detection of specific needs related to them and lack of any dedicated educational initiatives for them

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Expansion in many sectors and subsectors also considering new technologies and priorities
  • Building strategic alliances
  • Further exploitation of the developed digital background
  • Attracting the interest of private investors through dedicated Institutions
  • Benefitting from the existing general educational background for further and more specific domains
  • Increase of competitiveness due to the Educational perspectives
  • Further exploration of structures for advancing opportunities on social educational and career levels
  • Due to its economic potential and geographical role, Germany is the leading force of Bioeconomy in Europe. This role can further be expanded on Education

THREATS

  • Potential decrease of resources by 2050 due to dynamic harvesting
  • Emphasis on the Biobased domain and less concern of particular aspects of Bioeconomy (e.g. energy) might become an issue also considering the geopolitical dynamics
  • A potential brain-drain due to the lack of motivation
  • The lack of identification and management of Marginalized Groups, and the lack of any educational plans for them, unavoidable will inevitably lead to an inhibition of social integration. Such situation might lead to societal issues and conflicts, also provoking an economic impact

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