SABio Second Interdisciplinary Colloquium, November 2020

By Daniel Kefeli* and Pablo Mac Clay**

The 2nd colloquium was held virtually on November 12-13, 2020. In this second joint activity, junior researchers presented topics, questions, and methods for their doctoral proposals. This event offered the possibility to get feedback from senior researchers, members of the steering committee and external advisors, who engaged in methodological and theoretical discussions related to each proposal. 

From the Bonn research group, María Eugenia Silva Carrazzone presented possible research questions for a sustainable bioeconomy in Uruguay. From a public policy perspective, María Eugenia presented research questions that may help to shape the bioeconomy strategy in the country: which is the maximum volume of biomass that can be sustainably produced, what are the main technologies for a sustainable biomass transformation and what might be the steps needed to meet consumers requirement in the bioeconomy. 

Later, Pablo Mac Clay presented research ideas related to the connection of value chain analysis and innovation pathways in the bioeconomy. Since there is no overarching theoretical framework to understand the bioeconomy from a value chain perspective, this emerges as a research opportunity to understand how value chain features may foster or hinder bioeconomic upgrading. 

Finally, Trevor Tisler presented the bioeconomy as a wicked problem, where no clear-cut solutions emerge and there are no ‘panaceas’ in terms of which are the best pathways to follow. Applying it to Brazil’s future economic transition, Trevor presented a preliminary analysis applying a spatial application of the law to the RenovaBio project. Then he presented the idea to work deeper on the concept of socio-ecological systems and try to identify potential areas that increase environmental value-added in the country, where sustainable forms of production may help to restore biodiversity. 

On the second day, the Münster group presented their research ideas from the Political Sciences perspective. Guilherme Stein presented an analysis to better understand the political processes that led to an agenda of policies around the concept of bioeconomy in Brazil, between 2016-2020. Starting from a literature review and a conceptual framework, Guilherme emphasized the need to increase knowledge on the processes underlying the emergence of certain policies, in particular bioeconomy policies. 

Then Daniel Kefeli presented an analysis oriented to explore to what extent bioeconomy-related policies in Uruguay interacted to promote the sustainability of the forestry sector between 2005-2019. The forestry sector is a relevant one in the Uruguayan economy and has a long-term policy, while at the same time there are strong concerns about the environmental consequences. Based on concepts of policy interaction and policy coherence, Daniel presented his research project as an opportunity to explore how institutions interact and how this can lead to enhanced policy coordination. 

Finally, Melisa Deciancio presented a post-doctoral research project to explore Argentina’s insertion strategy in the global economy through bioeconomy. Based on her international relations (IR) background, Melisa based her proposal on the broad question of how IR theories contribute to understanding the bioeconomy as a global process. In this line, Argentina is a relevant global player in commodity markets, with high availability of biomass. She intends to explore how global and regional arrangements, and international actors, enable or constrain the governance in South America, how Argentina’s international cooperation links to the bioeconomy and what are the possible outcomes for the country from an international insertion strategy through the bioeconomy. 

After each of the junior researcher’s presentations, a brief discussion session took place between all the assistants to the colloquium, to get deeper around issues presented by the researchers and tackle different types of issues that may come up during the doctoral process. Also, ideas for better framing of the different research questions and methodological approaches were discussed. 

This second formal joint colloquium permitted an integration by different members of the SABio team, and allowed to hold an insightful discussion around the doctoral proposals. Based on the suggestions and comments they received, now it is time for each of the junior researchers to continue with the proposals and move forward with more specific methodological approaches.

* Daniel is a Junior Researcher at the University of Münster
** Pablo is Junior Researcher at the Center for Development Research (Universität Bonn)