Bioeconomy: integrated solutions for global challenges

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In addition to fostering research, technological development, and innovation, a bioeconomy is the key to strategic cooperation.

Studies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicate that, in 2030, biotechnologies will be responsible for 80% of pharmaceutical production, 50% of agricultural production and 35% of the chemical products. And it will represent 2.7% pf the GDP of its member-states – and that percentage could be even higher in such countries as Brazil, which has an enormous biodiversity to be explored.

Behind these OECD figures, there is a scientific race to develop new technologies and products within the concept of bioeconomics. And many of those solutions will play a crucial role in dealing with two of the major problems that humanity will be facing in the medium term: the need for more food and for new medicines.

Therefore, cooperation is the key word for new strategies and actions in bioeconomics to be established in both Brazil and Germany. Universities, research institutes, governments, and companies need to be integrated, in order to face the demands of society in a scenario replete with new challenges, whether in the sphere of population growth, or with regard to climate change and the scarcity of natural resources.

It is in this setting that Brazil and Germany, who have been strategic partners for over 50 years, also pursue synergies on behalf of a bioeconomy, via a schedule of debates and events, while promoting partnerships and giving incentive to research and development through cooperative projects. Thus, the two countries are already contributing innovation, business models and success stories, which make integrated solutions possible for taking on global challenges.

Since 2013, the Department of Agriculture and Provision of the State of São Paulo (SAASP), through the Institute of Food Technology (ITAL), has operated under a technical and scientific cooperation agreement with Germany, via the Fraunhofer Processes and Package Engineering Institute (IVV), which has local representation for coordinating projects and activities in Brazil. In 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Agropolo Campinas-Brazil and Fraunhofer IVV to begin mutual cooperation for the development of a bioeconomy, with collaborative actions in the areas of research, education, training, and innovation. The objective of this technical-scientific cooperation between Brazil and Germany is to carry out joint efforts for intensifying the partnership projects between the countries and developing a world-class bioeconomic ecosystem in the city of Campinas.

Going back a little, to 2015, the bioeconomy was the object of one of the agreements signed by Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Communication (MCTIC) and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) during a visit by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to Brazil. For both countries, that meeting constituted an important commitment to establishing and strengthening research cooperation between Brazil and Germany in the area of bioeconomics, which is considered to be strategic for the development and prosperity of both countries.