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Shaping the bio-based economy through a participatory approach


Identify possible systems to enable citizens to provide input into the agendas of the bio-based industry. The information could range from suggestions on designing and making bio-based products and applications for specific services to reporting the actual market performance of these products. The information could also be about situations that citizens believe are bad for humans or the environment and could be improved by bio-based products or applications. This will enable citizens to help shape the bio-based economy from the ‘bottom-up’.

Proposals should seek to identify or design user-friendly and useable systems in a wide array of daily life activities, in surroundings ranging from the home, leisure and work, to travel, vacation, etc.

Proposals should also pursue possibilities offered by gamification in the bio-based economy.

Proposals should investigate possibilities to create a ‘citizen bio-based economy observatory’ that could collect the information and relay it to the bio-based industry and to policy makers. Proposals should seek complementarity with the Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre Activities operated by the European Commission Joint Research Centre.

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) will set up an industry and market expert group from among its members to provide expertise on the implementation and follow-up of the different tasks and help organise meetings. This expert group is not to be a part of the proposal, but will be offered to the project consortium to assist as needed. This expert group therefore should have an advisory role in the project but would not be a beneficiary in the consortium.

INDICATIVE FUNDING: It is considered that proposals requesting a maximum of EUR 2 million and a planned duration of not more than three years would be able to address this specific challenge appropriately. However, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts or durations.

Since citizens are the end-consumers of bio-based products and services, they should have the opportunity to provide direct input into the design and implementation of the bio-based economy. This engagement should in particular play a role in the current period of change which may eventually result in people moving out of their comfort zone. Moving away from traditional and familiar products and services to different or new products and services that are bio-based or contain bio-based components may not be easy. The bio-based industry faces the challenge to fit the results of its value chains to the needs of civil society. The most efficient way to achieve this is to involve the public and provide them with opportunities to give input into the bio-based agenda. This opportunity expands the ‘triple helix’ of university, industry and government organisations to also include civil society organisations, and is a significant part of ‘open science’.

Digitalisation offers these opportunities. Developments in information and communications technology (ICT) make it possible to share information and data that can be of significant value when designing the bio-based agenda and implementing it in society. Many citizens are already using their mobile phones to record and transmit events in their daily lives and surroundings1,2,3 , connecting actors in these networks. Increasingly, people are willing and motivated to participate in programmes that can improve their lives, those of others and the quality of the world they live in. Similarly, citizens may want to participate in providing input and monitoring implementation of the bio-based economy.

The specific challenge is to design the appropriate tools and system to empower citizens to participate in the bio-based economy.

1Citizen-science project ‘CurieuzeNeuzen Vlaanderen’

2Food Cloud:

3Rebuilding Ireland:

  • foster the direct involvement of the public in the development of bio-based products and aspects of the bio-based agenda in general;
  • increase consumer knowledge and awareness of the potential benefits of bio-based solutions and of current bottlenecks still hampering the development of the bio-based economy.

NUMBER OF PROJECTS: a maximum of one project will be funded under this topic.

Type of action: Coordination and support action.