On November 29th 2021 the virtual workshop “Research and Public policies for a sustainable bioeconomy in Uruguay” took place. More than 50 participants from research centers, Universities, ministries and international organizations took part in the workshop.
As a result of a four-year participatory process, the technical staff of an interinstitutional governing body developed the Uruguayan National Strategy for a Circular and Sustainable Bioeconomy, whose approval by the national authorities is still pending. The next step is to continue building the Action Plan to effectively implement the national Strategy.
In this framework, the SABio Project with its Uruguayan partners – Universidad ORT and Universidad de la República – organized a workshop with the following objectives:
- Level-up and diffuse the scientific knowledge that can feed into the four pillars of the Action Plan of the Bioeconomy Strategy;
- Identify the gaps and set the basis for the generation of additional scientific knowledge related to the Action Plan in future years;
- Build a network of researchers working in bioeconomy-related topics;
- Bring researchers and scientists closer to the policy-makers in charge of the Strategy.
The workshop was organized around the strategic pillars of the Bioeconomy Strategy. First, representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture and Industry presented the key components of the Strategy as a framework to guide future bioeconomy policies and discussed the research needs for its implementation. Then, three initiatives and research projects related to the pillars of the Strategy were presented:
- In the pillar Sustainable and circular production and consumption, Alejandro Carbajales, from Centro Tecnológico del Agua, presented the most relevant projects of the Center;
- The pillar International insertion based on environmental added value was covered by the presentation of Michael Carroll and the initiatives deployed by the Grupo de Productores del Sur and Alianza del Pastizal;
- Under the pillar Inclusive local development, Amalia Stuhldreher and Isabel Bortagaray presented the Project Bioeconomy as a development model for the Uruguayan North East region.
The purpose of these presentations was to showcase research-based initiatives and research projects that can contribute to the implementation of the action plan of the Strategy.
Finally, after a Q&A session, there was a debate between the audience and the speakers to discuss how research, science and technology should be articulated to support the implementation of public policies.
The outcomes of the fruitful exchange will be used to produce a policy brief by the SABio project containing the main conclusions of the workshop. The policy brief will highlight how research can contribute to the effective implementation of actions framed in the Bioeconomy Strategy, the main gaps in research and the suggested mechanisms for a better articulation between public policies and science and research.