Advancing the bioeconomy transition in the Nordic Region (BioWiseTrans)

In the long run the aim is to maintain and develop a unique transdisciplinary (interdisciplinary and inclusive of stakeholders) network to study and propel the transition towards a new primarily land and biomass-based bioeconomy.

The network is focusing on innovation and adaptation associated with local and regional initiatives, their economic and social impacts and socio-ecological interactions. Importantly, the opportunities and challenges these initiatives pose, and their multileveled governance frameworks are problematized and tackled.

The aim of the network is to encourage and empower relevant stakeholders to join research and innovation (R&I) processes as active partners. This will be done by an inclusive and participatory science-based tailoring of the R&I processes at local and regional level. Such an approach is needed because of the diverse context of land use and biomass, the particular institutions and governance structures and the specific needs and interests varying across regions and localities in the Nordic countries. Consequently, our approach combines STI (Science-Technology-Innovation) and DUI (Doing-Using-Interacting Innovation) and synchronized with processes for empowerment. In doing do, we will increase understanding of how positive outcomes are inhibited or encouraged by locally adapted institutional frameworks and thereby influence local economic and social benefits. Importantly, the network will also study the ways in which national and EU regulations and policies affect such processes of local adaptation. This approach is thus in contrast to standardized bioeconomy development processes.

Three workshops will be arranged including local field visits to investigate regional opportunities and challenges, to understand the conflicts between different uses and interests and to understand the potential impacts of the transition to a bioeconomy. Planned field visits and workshops involve key stakeholders. The activities of the network include:

1) Kick-off at Nordregio, Sweden, September 2017. Workshop with representatives from the core group in the network, including researchers, PhD students/post docs to plan for the upcoming activities within the network.

2) Workshop in Finland, January 2018.The focus will be on key aspects of land and forest based biomass production in Finnish regions, focusing on bioenergy and how advanced forest based products can contribute to rural development and recreational interests (mushrooms and berries and traditional use of the forest).

3) Workshop in Norway, June 2018. The focus will be on land based biomass production in regions of Norway, particularly on land use conflicts between traditional use of the forest versus impacts for climate, biodiversity, recreation etc.

4) Conference with field visit in March 2019 in Sweden. The conference is organised at Karlstad University in the Paper Province Region, Värmland. The aim is to involve a variety of stakeholders presenting local/regional case studies about regional/local strengths and good practices in addition to researchers presenting. Thus, involvement of key stakeholders from bioeconomy regions is encouraged and a basis of exchanging good practices and learning from each other is created. Participation from young researcher’s incl. PhDs to present on land use, conflicts, governance, and policies is encouraged.

5) Writing of policy brief and developing / initiating research proposals.