On February 4th, 2019, the fifth BioSC Spotlight took place in Bonn. This time, the focus was on factors determining whether a new technology actually comes onto market, such as value-added partners, competitors and public and private standards. Scientists from academia and industry held a total of eight specialist lectures. The “Transfer of bio-based inventions into the market” World Café provided a platform for intensive discussions for the more than 50 participants.
In her welcome address, Prof. Dr. Stefanie Bröring (University of Bonn) emphasized the crucial importance of technology development and transfer for the development and implementation of a bioeconomy. In the first thematic session, “Technology development“, Prof. Dr. Martin Möhrle (University of Bremen) used the example of the development of cameras to demonstrate how new application fields differentiate and in doing so drive new technological developments. Using industrial biotechnology as an example, Dr. Sven Wydra (Fraunhofer ISI, Karlsruhe) discussed the challenges to be met on the way to a broad application of key enabling technologies. Lukas Aaldering (University of Münster) presented a foresight study on the convergence of bioeconomy-relevant markets based on the methods of machine learning.
In the second thematic session, “Technology commercialization”, Prof. Dr. Nathalie Sick (University of Sydney) analyzed the influence of social, geographical and technological distance on the success of cooperations and knowledge transfer. Joana Wensing (University of Bonn) presented the results of the InducTomE BioSC project, in which the production of bioactive natural substances was evaluated. In her lecture, she presented the factors that influence the willingness of farmers to participate in such a cascade use. Shohana Islam (RWTH Aachen University) presented the greenRelease BioSC project, in which a new technology platform is developed for the controlled release of active substances, such as fertilizer, using microgels. In addition, she introduced the planned “Aachen|Proteineers“ incubator, which should help startup founders validate the market potential of new business ideas in the field biotechnology at an early stage.
Then, in the framework of the "Transfer of bio-based inventions into the market” World Café, discussions were held in two groups about which mechanisms can effectively support the transfer of innovations into the market. This included wide-ranging topics such as the integration of new products into existing value-added chains, sustainability and social compatibility of the use of biomass or acceptance of new technologies.
In the third thematic session, “Best practices”, two lectures were given on the success story of natural rubber made of Russian dandelion as alternative to the tropical rubber tree. Dr. Christian Schulze Gronover from the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Ecology presented the research ongoing since 2013, which ranges from the physiology of the rubber synthesis through breeding and cultivation techniques to the harvesting and processing of the plants. Dr. Carla Recker from the Continental company reported how the first tire prototypes made of natural rubber from dandelion were produced in 2014 and 2016 and presented a new company research and experimental laboratory with 30,000 m2 testing acreage. It is planned that dandelion rubber will enter serial production within ten years.
A lively and engaging exchange took place among the over 50 participants from a variety of different areas of academia and industry. Additional BioSC Spotlights are planned to again offer a framework for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange on topics relating to the bioeconomy; details will be announced in advance on the BioSC website.