The transition to a sustainable bio-based society depends on the development and use of alternate sources of energy and materials. Making the promise of biofuels and biorenewables a reality is within the grasp of scientific research and technological innovation, yet more is obviously needed to make it happen. Innovation is an inter-locking set of dependencies between the development of new technology and markets, consumer behaviour and receptiveness to new technology, but can the interdependencies be anticipated? Can the interdependencies be thought of as a series of events that must cascade in an orchestrated series, for which careful planning is needed? For example, what new expectations are being placed on primary producers, and how bioeconomic potential of regions be identified and cultivated? What new roles can social science play as it is called upon to prospectively explore options for the future of the bio-based economy, particularly as difficult socio-economic transitions are anticipated and the burden of responsible research and innovation will be experienced more acutely? And perhaps above all else, who, with which skills, will usher in this new, integrated scientific and social agenda? This conference will engage these themes and questions, and will by its end raise three issues for the development of joint statements from the conference:
1. “What do we need to consider, or prioritise, if we are going to enable a biobased society capable of sustainably producing (and using) bioenergy and biorenewables?”
2. “What are the desired outcomes of integrating RRI in Horizon 2020 scientific programmes, and what steps need to be taken now to ensure that that the desire outcomes actually happen over the next seven years?”
3. “What skills, and integration of scientific and non-scientific competencies, are needed for the bioeconomy, and how should the biobased society’s human capital agenda be driven forward?”
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