The transformation towards a sustainable bio-based society is one of the big challenges of our era. It has been called a “second” industrial revolution and a “greening” of industry, entailing a plethora of promises as well as concerns. Regions and nations are facing important opportunities, but also potential items of conflict. There is a general awareness that a solid societal embedding is of key importance, so as to forego the biotech debacle of the 1990s. Both scientific and societal agendas are redefined in the light of these challenges and prospects, closely related to emerging bio-based economies and industries, aiming to develop more sustainable forms of energy, food, and bio-based renewable materials. A successful transformation calls for a close alignment of research, policy and industrial agendas.
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