Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Strategic development of a research infrastructure for Bioeconomy in NRW

The NRW strategy project BioSC

Photo: Forschungszentrum Jülich

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia was one of the first German states to develop a bioeconomy strategy in 2010. This shows the great importance of the concept for the development of the state.

Since 2013, the BioSC is being supported on a long-term basis by the State of NRW within the framework of the NRW strategy project BioSC. The state provides the necessary measures for the further integration of the BioSC partners in research and education for a sustainable bioeconomy.

The NRW strategy project BioSC represents the prototype for a new funding model for regional, trans-disciplinary research associations within the funding landscape of the federal state North Rhine Westphalia. Based on a long-term joint strategy and cooperative governance, research and training are sustainably developed and operated outside of the institute boundaries. In addition to other prerequisites, this approach is required by the national Bioeconomy Council as an essential condition towards a bioeconomy in Germany.

Integrated research

A central focus of the funding instruments of the NRW strategy project BioSC are integrative research projects in which scientists from different disciplines work together. SEED FUND projects with durations of 12 to max. 24 months serve to test the viability of innovative, exploratory project ideas for which there is little or no dedicated preparatory work. BOOST FUND projects with terms of two to three years serve  for the (further) development of research fields that can make a significant contribution to bioeconomic issues. From 2017 to 2021, this instrument was replaced by the FocusLabs - multidisciplinary large-scale projects that addressed complex topics and not only brought together the necessary expertise but also provided joint governance. With the establishment of the FocusLabs, career opportunities for excellent young researchers were created in a targeted manner.

The further development of strategy and content of the BioSC is supported by the preparation of studies and White papers on different bioeconomically relevant issues. Guest researcher residencies specifically complement the expertise available at the BioSC and increase national and international networking.


Graduate education

A graduate training concept was developed with the aim of providing PhD students and young scientists at the BioSC with interdisciplinary skills and a comprehensive overview of the concept of the bioeconomy in addition to disciplinary expertise. The concept includes excursions to industrial companies as well as training events on various topics such as science communication. Since 2018, BioSC doctoral students have the possibility to apply for interdisciplinary small-scale projects. Since 2013, outstanding work in the supervision of doctoral students has been honoured with the annual BioSC Supervision Award.

International Summer Schools, which are initiated on the basis of the BioSC's research priorities, are also open to external PhD students, as is the annual NRW PhD Day, in the organisation of which the BioSC plays a major role.


Scientific events

Since 2016, the International BioSC Symposium has been held annually, inviting national and international experts from academia and industry to present current research results and developments for a sustainable bioeconomy. One-day BioSC Spotlights and BioSC Workshops take place three to four times a year to highlight selected topics of the bioeconomy with representatives of the respective expert communities. In the BioSC Lectures, experts from different disciplines regularly present their bioeconomy-relevant research work. In addition, there are internal workshops and networking meetings.


Dialogue in society

The BioSC regularly contributes to science nights, public lecture events and panel discussions in order to initiate and support the dialogue in society on bioeconomy topics.