Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy

Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy


From plant to product - Value chains in a sustainable bioeconomy
Using the example of Costa Rica and Germany

BioSC International Summer School 2016
in collaboration with University of Costa Rica (UCR) and National University of Costa Rica (UNA)

This international and interdisciplinary BioSC Summer School took place from 24.10. – 28.10.2016 at Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany. Twenty students from eight different nations were trained during this week and learned diverse aspects which are relevant for the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. Most talks were given by either BioSC members or professors from Costa Rica and covered diverse research topics along the entire value chain, e.g.:

  • Natural resource use and management in plant production
  • Efficient biomass conversion systems
  • Tropical plants with potential for food, feed and biomass
  • Environmental aspects of products and Supply Chains
  • Sustainable development based of a bio-oriented economy

Prof. Regina Birner from the German Bioeconomy Council gave a key lecture on "Green value chains for a sustainable bioeconomy: The case of carbon-neutral coffee from Costa Rica" and Prof. Dietrich Knorr gave a key note about "Sustainable and value added food processes".

Furthermore, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was introduced to the students and within a practical exercise they already performed their first LCA.

Several excursions were included during the week covering as well industry as research infrastructure at different BioSC sites. At the sugar company "Pfeifer and Langen" the young researches learned about the latest innovative product of the company, which is not introduced into the market yet. Furthermore, there was a guided tour through the recently build "Technikum", which was quite impressive to them. At RWTH Aachen, research facilities at the Institute of Technical and Macromolekular Chemistry were shown and at FZ Jülich, the Algae Science Centre and the Plant Phenotyping Centre were visited.
Students applied their new knowledge directly in a case study, which was on "Valorization of coffee processing by-products" respectively "Chemical vs. biological control of pests". All four groups were multidisciplinary and came up with very exciting and innovative approaches!

Aim of this summer school was to train young, motivated, interdisciplinary researchers on bioeconomy relevant topics and to raise their awareness for innovative approaches. Furthermore, synergies were created between Germany and Costa Rica for the establishment of a knowledge-based bioeconomy.
Overall the participating researchers were highly motivated and due to their interdisciplinary background a lot of interesting discussions took place! We are sure that in the future they will contribute to find solutions to the major challenges of the 21st century, such as food security, sustainable resource usage or climate change.


List of speakers:
Dr. Fabio Fiorani, FZ Jülich
Dr. Phillip Grande, RWTH Aachen
Dr. André Müller, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Ulrich Schurr, FZ Jülich
PD Dr. Stefan Siebert, Universität Bonn
Prof. Grit Walther, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Peter Westhoff, HHU Düsseldorf
Prof. Michelle Watt, FZ Jülich

Costa Rica:
Prof. Victor Jiménez, UCR
Prof. Olman Quirós Madrigal, UCR
Dr. Keilor Rojas, UNA
Prof. Olman Segura Bonilla, UNA

External speaker:

Prof. Regina Birner, Universität Hohenheim and Bioökonomierrat
Prof. Dietrich Knorr, TU Berlin

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