SABio at the ECPR General Conference 2023

SABio at the ECPR General Conference 2023

The 2023 General Conference of the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR) was held at the beginning of September at Charles University in Prague. The SABio research group in Political Science led by Karen Siegel participated in several panels.

Their paper “Promoting (un)just transitions? Interdependencies, trade-offs and risks in bioeconomy development in South America” was part of the panel “Critical Approaches to Bioeconomy Politics and Policy” chaired by Giorgio Varanini (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).

Moreover, the paper “The emergence of alternative sociotechnical imaginaries in Argentina’s agricultural sector: lessons for democracy and sustainability” by Melisa Deciancio and Karen Siegel, soon forthcoming in the German Political Science Quarterly, was part of the panel “Sustainability imaginaries: competing visions, expectations, and futurity in global environmental politics” chaired by Jens Marquardt (Technische Universität Darmstadt) and Antonia Graf (University of Münster).

Karen Siegel also organised and chaired the panel “Sustainability transitions and inequality” together with Carolin Zorell (Örebro University).

Karen Siegel invited to the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina) as a Visiting Professor

Karen Siegel invited to the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina) as a Visiting Professor

Karen Siegel was invited by Juan Staricco and Mónica Buraschi to visit the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina in March 2023 with funding by the programme for visiting professors of the Facultad de Ciencias Económicas.

During her stay she gave a public lecture on sustainability and bioeconomy governance in the global political economy and participated in an academic publishing workshop on public policy in biofuels, circular economy, sustainability in global value chains and other topics. She also met the members of the PICT research project which investigates the possibilities for a circular bioeconomy in different Argentinean provinces, Mónica Buraschi, Celina Amato, Sofia González and Florencia Peretti.

The Universidad Nacional de Córdoba has published more information, photos and an interview about the visit.

Virtual seminar with Tim Dorlach (University of Bayreuth) on 10 May

Virtual seminar with Tim Dorlach (University of Bayreuth) on 10 May

Pesticide Politics in the Global South: Sri Lanka’s 2015 Glyphosate Ban (Tim Dorlach and Sandya Gunasekara)

Tim Dorlach is a Junior Professor of Global Nutrition and Health Policy at the University of Bayreuth. He received his PhD in Political Science from Koç University in Istanbul in 2019. His research seeks to understand the political foundations of innovative public policies, especially in the areas of nutrition and health. Current research projects investigate mandatory nutrition labeling, pesticide regulation and school feeding programs, all with a focus on the Global South.

Please e-mail if you would like to participate in the seminar

Hybrid brown bag seminar with Karen Siegel on 4 May

Hybrid brown bag seminar with Karen Siegel on 4 May

Alle möchten Nachhaltigkeit: aber was bedeutet das eigentlich?

Many different actors nowadays state their support for a sustainability transition. However, the concept of sustainability remains very broad and can be interpreted and implemented in many different ways. In this seminar Karen Siegel looks at different case studies from South America to examine how different actors define “sustainability” in relation to key bioeconomy sectors, notably agriculture and forestry. This uncovers important contestations and conflicts between actors with diverging interests, priorities and values which shape the interpretation of the concept of sustainability. What a potential sustainability transition looks like and which actors will benefit or not will be influenced by how such conflicts over the interpretation of sustainability play out.

The seminar will be in German and held in a hybrid format. More information can be found on the website of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research (ZIN) at the University of Münster:

Workshop on bioeconomy research areas in Uruguay

Workshop on bioeconomy research areas in Uruguay

Within the SABio Project, a workshop was held in mid-March at the Centro Universitario Regional (CENUR) Noreste, at the Tacuarembó campus of the University of the Universidad de la República (UDELAR), to discuss and exchange information on research projects on bioeconomy, forestry and sustainability that are being carried out in Uruguay.

With the aim of strengthening the links between the SABio Project and research institutions in Uruguay, enriching and discussing the research projects being carried out by the SABio Project, as well as exploring future opportunities for collaboration, together with the Project’s scientific advisor, Lucía Pittaluga, a workshop was organized to bring together researchers from academia who are working on topics related to the bioeconomy.

The workshop brought together researchers from three research projects focused on regional development strategies based on bioeconomy, on transition paths towards the forest bioeconomy in Uruguay and on processes for integrating environmental policies into Uruguayan forestry policy. As a result, the content and progress to date of the different projects was presented, leading to a fruitful and profitable discussion.

In addition, since the workshop was held in a region where timber forestry is of great relevance, field visits were made in association with the aforementioned research projects. In this sense, we visited the surroundings of the third pulp mill in the country, commercial eucalyptus and pine plantations, as well as a silvopastoral project promoted by a producer from Tacuarembó.

Attached is the workshop program with the workshop objectives, details of the projects and attendees.

» Workshop program [.pdf]

Workshop “The bioeconomy in South America: lessons from the experiences of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay” in Buenos Aires

Workshop “The bioeconomy in South America: lessons from the experiences of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay” in Buenos Aires

The workshop “The bioeconomy in South America: lessons from the experiences of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay” took place on 2 March at the headquarters of FLACSO Argentina. The workshop, organised by Melisa Deciancio (University of Münster), included the presentation of part of the research findings of the SABio Project and a round table discussion with bioeconomy experts.

Pablo Mac Clay (University of Bonn) presented the recently published Policy Brief, elaborated together with Melisa Deciancio, “Ideas for a sustainable development of the Bioeconomy in Argentina”, with comments by Roberto Bisang (CONICET). Guilherme de Queiroz Stein (University of Münster) presented the paper “Socio-biodiversity and bioeconomy: lessons from Brazil”, with comments from Juliana Peixoto (LATN/FLACSO Network) and Daniel Kefeli (University of Münster) presented his recently published paper “Integration of environmental policies in Uruguay’s forestry policy under a latent conflict“, with comments from Daniela Gomel (Fundación Vida Silvestre). The panel was moderated by Karen Siegel (University of Münster).

The subsequent roundtable discussion was attended by leading bioeconomy leaders from the public sector and academia in Argentina. It aimed to explore the main opportunities and challenges of the bioeconomy in the country and the region.

Workshop to present results and findings

Workshop to present results and findings

“La bioeconomía en América del Sur: lecciones desde las experiencias de Argentina, Brasil y Uruguay”

Jueves 2 de marzo, 10:00-12:00 hs.

Lugar: Aula 2 (PB), Sede Argentina Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales – FLACSO, Tucumán 1966, CABA

Evento abierto, con inscripción previa:

Organización: Melisa Deciancio (Universidad de Münster/FLACSO) y Karen Siegel (Universidad de Münster)

Contacto: Melisa Deciancio,

La bioeconomía ha ido ganando cada vez más espacio en América Latina tanto como modelo productivo como estrategia de política pública. La amplia variedad y disponibilidad de recursos naturales con que cuenta la región, sumado a un desarrollo económico apoyado principalmente en la producción de materias primas y la disponibilidad de recursos humanos para la producción de conocimiento para la transformación de la biomasa, ha puesto de manifiesto el potencial para su desarrollo bioeconómico. Los países del Cono Sur vienen aplicando principios de la bioeconomía a diversos sectores como el agrícola y forestal con el objetivo de reducir la dependencia de los combustibles fósiles y lograr un suministro sostenible de bienes y servicios en las diversas cadenas de valor en las que participa. En esta empresa, el desarrollo biotecnológico y la valorización de recursos naturales que contemplen la amplia biodiversidad y variedad de biomas con los que cuenta la región, se vuelven preguntas centrales. Para ello se requieren políticas coordinadas, instituciones y marcos regulatorios que impulsen el desarrollo de la bioeconomía en los diversos sectores económicos de manera que sean sustentables económicamente, pero también en términos sociales y medioambientales. Los casos nacionales de Argentina, Brasil y Uruguay permiten abordar el desarrollo de la bioeconomía en la subregión, sus principales sectores y los desafíos en términos socio-ambientales como de diseño y elaboración de políticas. Estos casos nos permiten establecer también un punto de partida para abordar una cuestión menos explorada, como la posibilidad de coordinación regional para el impulso y regulación de la bioeconomía.

En este sentido, el taller se propone presentar casos específicos dentro de cada experiencia nacional de bioeconomía para luego indagar acerca de las posibilidades de coordinación regional, con las siguientes preguntas como disparadores:

  • ¿En qué medida el abordaje regional presenta beneficios o dificultades para el desarrollo de la bioeconomía? ¿La bioeconomía puede replicar problemas de integración económica regional del pasado, o bien puede resultar un factor acelerador?
  • ¿En qué medida la estructura productiva actual de los países del Cono Sur resulta propicia para el desarrollo de la bioeconomía y la posibilidad de insertarse regionalmente en cadenas de valor globales a través de ella? ¿Qué sectores se destacan (tanto por su capacidad productiva actual o por su potencialidad futura)?
  • ¿Cuáles son los principales desafíos sociales y ambientales que deben ser abordados a nivel regional al contemplar el impulso de la bioeconomía?
  • ¿Qué mecanismos de gobernanza (políticas de promoción, institucionales, regulatorios) son necesarios para el desarrollo de la bioeconomía a nivel regional? ¿Qué ámbitos institucionales regionales de coordinación resultan más propicios para este impulso? ¿Qué desarrollos institucionales son necesarios garantizar el aprovechamiento sostenible de los biomas compartidos a escala regional?

Participation in the FEWSUS 2022 Annual Conference “Circular Bioeconomy Systems For Urban-Rural Co-Prosperity”

Melisa Deciancio and Pablo Mc Clay participated in the FEWSUS 2022 Annual Conference, “Circular Bioeconomy Systems For Urban-Rural Co-Prosperity”, organized in Buenos Aires, from November 30 to December 2, 2022. Melisa participated as keynote speaker with the presentation “The role of State and Public Policies in the Development of the Bioeconomy in Argentina”, and Pablo presented his research on “Value Chain Transformations in the Transition to a Sustainable Bioeconomy” in the Workshop “Society-Smart Governance of Circular Bioeconomy”.

SABio Webinar on “Innovation networks and local value addition in South American bioeconomies: public-private alliances for a sustainable insertion into the global economy”

On November 23, 2022, SABio hosted a panel webinar, “Innovation networks and local value addition in South American bioeconomies: public-private alliances for a sustainable insertion into the global economy”, moderated and organized by SABio researcher, Dr. Melisa Deciancio (Uni Münster) with co-moderation from SABio researcher Pablo Mac Clay (Uni Bonn) and co-organized with support from SABio Research Group Leaders, Drs. Karen Siegel (Uni Münster) and Jorge Sellare (Uni Bonn).

Three panel experts from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay shared examples, perspectives and highlighted the current realities of the Bioeconomy innovation ecosystems in their respective countries. Forty-five attendees from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, the US, Germany, Ireland and Denmark tuned in to the event with simultaneous interpretation provided in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Victoria Santos, head of Decarbonization at the Insituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS), highlighted that while Brazil is home to established industries with specialization in use of biomass and waste streams in biorefinery applications (Sugar, Pulp and Paper, and Oranges), the country’s immense biodiversity and other biobased production chains have been overlooked and under researched for value-added opportunities. Existing waste streams may provide opportunities for fiber, plant-based protein or biochemical applications. A critical hurdle to Brazil’s bioeconomic innovation ecosystem is a lack of funding for entrepreneurs and start-ups trying to prototype and pilot products. Victoria coined these product development stages as the Brazilian bioeconomy’s “Valley of Death” which must be addressed.

Isabel Bortagaray from Uruguay’s Universidad de la República, shared the experiences, successes and challenges resulting from two bioeconomic initiatives. Although these initiatives attained high levels of private sector involvement and public institutional research support, a lack of communication space and time for stakeholders to engage, communicate problems and share knowledge emerged as barriers to innovation. Moreover, narrow and sectoral focused understandings of the bioeconomy emerged as a common obstacle to Uruguay’s bioeconomic development. Changing perspectives to that of Bioeconomies (plural), which embrace multi-dimensional and complex connections of bioeconomic activities and aspects of sustainability, is a necessary paradigm shift for achieving innovation.

Rafael Anta, from the division of Competitivity, Technology and Innovation at the Interamerican Development Bank shared perspectives on bioeconomic innovation and development opportunities throughout Latin America (LATAM) and insertion in the global context. Foremost, bioeconomic policy must contend with factors at multiple levels. Biomass and infrastructure are local, regulation is national, R&D tends to be international and biomass trade is global. In terms of education throughout LATAM, an increased emphasis on bioprospecting in the life sciences as well as increased funding for bioprospecting activities are desperately needed. Furthermore, public policies with strategies are ineffective without funding that supports entrepreneurship and providing the tools that entrepreneurs need, such as biorefinery infrastructure, biological materials and reagents. Following the panel presentations, a robust Q&A session ensued where the panelists and audience members highlighted cross-cutting issues facing bioeconomic development in the three focus countries and more broadly throughout LATAM. Firstly, public policies must reflect the complexity and broad scope of all that is entailed in the bioeconomy and the multi-dimensionality of sustainability. Bioeconomy policies do not belong to one ministry, but rather in an inter-ministerial policy framework that incorporates specificities from the local, national to regional levels.  Secondly, funding is crucial, especially in the prototype and piloting stages of bio-based products. Without adequate funding and support for entrepreneurs at these stages, LATAM countries – including Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay – will miss out on their bioeconomic development potential.

The event was recorded and is available for viewing in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

SABIO supports the program “Amazônia Bioeconomy Connections”

SABIO supports the program “Amazônia Bioeconomy Connections”

SABIO supports the program “Amazônia Bioeconomy Connections” a partnership for technology, innovations, and sustainability in the Amazon Rain Forest led by Brazilian Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Between August and October 2022, SABIO senior researcher Jan Börner was part of the committee that selected four Amazonian startups from an initial pool of 87 applicants. The selected initiatives will be offered support to identify and establish contact with potential German partners and the possibility to visit Germany. 

For more information see: