About the Region

  • Bioeconomy-related activities in Portugal are gaining momentum, as the country recognizes the importance of combining economic growth with environmental sustainability. Portugal's commitment to environmental protection and the utilization of the environmental benefits of its unique landscape position.
  • The prominent Bioeconomy sector in Portugal is the blue Bioeconomy, which capitalizes on the nation's extensive coastal regions. Other sectors where Bioeconomy principles can be effectively applied in Portugal include agriculture, tourism, the textile industry, Construction materials etc.
  • In the realm of education, Portugal showcases a commitment to knowledge and skill development. While there may not yet be a centrally coordinated platform for bioeconomy-related education, some dedicated courses and training initiatives are already being put in place.
  • Portugal stands poised to harness the potential of the bioeconomy, with a focus on sustainability and social inclusion by leveraging its natural resources, promoting eco-friendly practices, and investing in education and integration.
About the Region Image

Thematic Orientation

Existing Sub-Sectors

Portugal is in a prime position to lead Europe’s Bioeconomy transformation but hasn’t exploited the full potential of biomass to create added value from that. The country has a diverse and rapidly growing Bioeconomy, with a wide range of value chains that are contributing to economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social development. Some of the main value chains in the Portuguese Bioeconomy: 

  • Forest-based products
  • Agriculture and food
  • Marine sector

A growing interest and concern are also focusing on Eco-construction and Eco-tourism.

Overall, the north region of Portugal’s Bioeconomy is diverse and dynamic, with many value chains that are contributing to sustainable economic growth and social development.

Key Trends Influencing Innovation

  • The increasing digitalization of the economy and society is driving innovation in several areas and Portugal has made significant progress in expanding broadband access and developing digital infrastructure, creating opportunities for new digital technologies and business models. 
  • Sustainability is a key trend to motivate new technologies and innovations due to the growing awareness of the need for environmental sustainability in areas like renewable technologies, circular economy and eco-innovation
  • Green transformation in recent years, focusing on transitioning to a more sustainable and renewable energy system, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting sustainable economic growth
  • Cooperation among companies and universities is also a key trend that influences innovations and is constantly growing, due to common projects and funding programs. 

Expected Sub-Sectors / Value Chains

Portugal has its Action Plan for Sustainable Bioeconomy (PABS) in construction called “Bioeconomia 2030”.

By 2030 the expected value chains are:

  • Green chemistry
  • Bioplastic
  • Bioenergy: In the development of new bioenergy, forest products, as well as the development of new bio-based materials and products. Also, the development of new bio-based products and applications.

Overall, the development of these sub-sectors is expected to contribute to the growth of a sustainable and innovative bio-based economy in Portugal by 2030.

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

Bioeconomy is characterized by a predominance of new, revolutionary tendencies that call for a whole new type of workforce than was before necessary, like in the fields of biomass energy, bioplastics, chemistry, aquaculture, etc. So as the Bioeconomy advances, new job opportunities are likely to become available in companies, across a range of sectors and it’s crucial to support the creation of jobs in this area that appeal to young people. Both natural and human resources serve as the foundation of the Bioeconomy.

The possibility of education is also a great form of personal advancement, it is slowly but firmly growing the range of available tools of education in Bioeconomy in Portugal.

Governance, Education levels & Skills

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

The governance structure for adult education on the circular Bioeconomy in Portugal, involves several actors, including the government, universities, research institutions, industry associations etc. 

  • The Portuguese Government is responsible for setting policies and strategies related to adult education in the Bioeconomy, providing funding and support for relevant initiatives
  • The universities and research institutions in Portugal play a key role in adult education, by offering courses, training programs, research opportunities etc.
  • Industry associations in Portugal represent the interests of businesses involved in the circular Bioeconomy

Overall, the governance structure in Bioeconomy in Portugal involves several stakeholders that work together to promote education, awareness and innovation in this area

Organization of Adult and Lifelong Learning

Adult training, retraining, and lifelong learning are organised through several public and private institutions, including universities, vocational schools, training centres, and adult education centres. 

  • National Qualifications System that provides a framework for the recognition and validation of competences 
  • Universities and vocational schools offer continuing education programs designed for adults that desire to update their skills and knowledge or acquire new qualifications
  • Vocational education and training system providing practical training and education for those who wish to acquire a specific set of skills and competences related to a particular sector or industry
  • Adult education centres that offer a wide range of programs and courses

Available Research on Bioeconomy Education

There hasn’t been any research conducted regarding the levels/formats of Bioeconomy education in Portugal

Main Training, Retraining or Lifelong Learning on Sustainability

  • CBQF (Centre of Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry) is an Associated Laboratory of the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto 
  • UPTEC is a meeting point of the University of Porto and businesses, and it is at UPTEC Mar in Matosinhos, that the Collaborative Laboratory (CoLAB) for Blue Bioeconomy (B2E)
  • Centre of Biological Engineering (CEB in a PT acronym) is a research centre located at the University of Minho (Braga)
  • University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) offers higher education curriculums in sustainable agriculture, biotechnology, renewable energy, waste management
  • GreenUPorto– Research Centre on Sustainable Agri-food Production
  • Other providers are vocational training schools and centres of vocational qualification/training. In the north region, there are several of them offering curriculums in forestry, environmental planning, wood processing, applied ecology, green business, innovation, sustainable materials, green energy,
  • Associação Portuguesa de Educação Ambiental (ASPEA), which coordinates environmental education programs

Available Research on Bioeconomy skills needed

There hasn’t been any research conducted regarding the Bioeconomy skills in Portugal lately.

Linking Art & Bioeconomy Education

Bioeconomy education in which Art concepts are applied

  • Art as a stimulus of the needed skills
    • There are some companies which offer design thinking workshops for different companies and individuals
    • Some companies offer workshops on collaboration skills and entrepreneurial
    • There are some art expositions by Portuguese artists that are in the field of sustainability, reused materials and awareness of the environment 
  • Art addressing learning styles
    • IPDJ- Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude, is a youth association that promoted a creative competition called “Bioeconomia na minha vida” (Bioeconomy in my life) for young adults, it also promoted an ambassador program for those same individuals, that they will be able to inform and inspire their peers about sustainable circular Bioeconomy 
  • Inspirational case studies from Art to Bioeconomy Education
    • Zet Gallery promotes sustainability through art by offering a prize “arte em espaço público e sustentabilidade” (art in public places and sustainability) this project also has the support of IB-S, Instituto de Ciência e Inovação para a Bio-sustentabilidade da Universidade do Minho
  • Injecting the Bioeconomy in design, art, architecture, etc. professions
    • Companies from the medical field, construction, and even fashion using biomaterials or recycled materials in production
    • Some artists use residues in art and design. Artur Bordalo or Bordalo II is a Portuguese artist known for his unique approach to creating art with trash and recycled materials

Marginal Groups

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

In Portugal, several marginalised, disadvantaged, and minority groups face challenges and barriers in accessing opportunities and services. The following groups can be considered as a priority: young adults, rural areas, and people in situations of poverty. The result of the above is unemployment, especially among young people.

Relevant Jobs and/or Opportunities for Inclusion of Marginal Groups

  • The bioeconomy sector can provide several opportunities for disadvantaged individuals, marginalised or belong to minority groups in the agriculture and forestry sectors
  • Other opportunities may be in the bioenergy production, in installing, maintaining and production of bioenergy systems
  • A sector that is growing and may present future job opportunities is ecotourism – sustainable tourism, that prioritises the preservation and protection of natural ecosystems while promoting possibilities for visitors to engage in educational and recreational activities

Main needs of individuals of marginalised groups integrating them into Bioeconomy

Bioeconomy sector requires specialized knowledge and skills, so providing education and training programs to enter this sector is a must. Training and education can be personalized to meet different learning styles and levels of education. There’s also the need to maintain existing jobs and create new, attractive jobs in the rural areas to promote activities and fields able to create added value.

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

There haven’t been any educational/development activities addressing the main needs of the individuals and integrating them into the Bioeconomy.

SWOT Analysis


  • Wide spectrum of sectors involved
  • Competitiveness based on Innovation
  • Increasing transition to horizontal value chains
  • Blue Economy
  • Increase of employment / available job positions
  • Existing Educational Activities oriented to Bioeconomy
  • Existing of lateral opportunities, Life-Long learning, Vocational training, mass information, education for non-specialists, etc
  • Overlapping between the Bioeconomy Education Institutions and Art related institutions


  • Lack of a National Strategy on Bioeconomy
  • The resources and products are not fully valorized Due to the lack of a National Strategy, Bioeconomy is not fully aligned with the socioeconomic priorities of the country
  • Fragmentation of activities and priorities
  • Lack of an organizational umbrella for Bioeconomy Education
  • Lack of Research on Bioeconomy Education
  • Lack of specific research on Bioeconomy needed Skills
  • Lack of Educational activities and programs for marginalized groups


  • Expansion in new sectors and new value chains
  • Further exploitation of the developed digital background
  • Making Portugal a recognized centre of Bioeconomy development in Europe
  • The existing General Education background can be the seed for a dedicated Bioeconomy Education in all levels
  • The growing interest on organizing a concrete educational mechanism in the country can be the riving force for a wider development


  • Potential decrease of resources by 2050 due to dynamic harvesting
  • A potential brain-drain due to the lack of motivation
  • The lack of identification and organization of an educational [program for the marginal groups will be an inhibitor to the integration of these groups and this might have social and economic consequences

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