With the world population moving towards 9 billion by 2050 and fossil resources dwindling, Europe needs to review its management and use of renewable biological resources.
The depletion of fossil resources, on which the European economy heavily depends, calls for a shift towards a new, post-petroleum society.
With its cross-cutting nature, the bioeconomy offers a unique opportunity to address complex and inter-connected challenges, while achieving economic growth.
It can assist Europe in making the transition to a more resource efficient society that relies more strongly on renewable biological resources to satisfy consumers' needs, industry demand and tackle climate change.
The EU bioeconomy already has a turnover of nearly €2 trillion and employs more than 22 million people, accounting for 9% of total employment in the EU.
On 13 February 2012, the Commission launched a new strategy on the Bioeconomy entitled "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe ". The proposal will help to drive the transition from a fossil-based economy to a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe, with research and innovation at its core.
The EU bioeconomy already has a turnover of nearly €2 trillion and employs more than 22 million people, accounting for 9% of total employment in the EU. It includes agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food production, as well as parts of chemical, biotechnological and energy industries. It encompasses the sustainable production of renewable biological resources and their conversion, as well as that of waste streams into bio-based products, biofuels and bioenergy.
The diverse bioeconomy sectors have a strong innovation potential due to their use of a wide range of sciences (life sciences, agronomy, ecology, food science and social sciences), enabling industrial technologies (biotechnology, nanotechnology, information and communication technologies (ICT), and engineering), as well as local and tacit knowledge.
The increase research funding for the bioeconomy under Horizon 2020, combined with the stronger innovation drive and reinforced policy interaction prescribed by the Bioeconomy Strategy, is estimated to generate an added value of about €45 billion and create new jobs in bioeconomy sectors by 2025.
Every euro invested in bioeconomy research and innovation under Horizon 2020 will generate about €10 in value added. It will also contribute to the Commission's Europe 2020 goal on moving to a low-carbon economy by 2050 and to the flagship initiatives "Innovation Union" and "A Resource Efficient Europe".
About our research and our policy
The Seventh Framework Programme in Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology (FAFB) aims to create a strong and competitive bio-economy and to offer solutions to challenges facing Europe and the world, such as feeding a growing world population and fighting climate change while mitigating its effects. To provide easy access to our activities, we have created this portal from where you can enter four further websites covering our fields of activity: Food, Agriculture and Forestry, Fisheries and aquaculture, andBiotechnology.
Our research funding brings together science, industry and other stakeholders to exploit new and emerging research opportunities in the following areas:
Food research looks into maintaining an affordable, safe, healthy and nutritious food supply in the face of changing demographics: a growing world population and increasing urbanisation.
Agriculture and Fisheries addresses the pressures on natural resources, such as the decline in fossil fuels, depletion of fish stocks, as well as combating climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the adaptation of the agricultural sector accordingly. Another global challenge is animal health and the control of infectious diseases and zoonoses (infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans). Furthermore, research into plant health, and sustainable, competitive, multifunctional agriculture and rural development, including forestry, provides support for a number of EU policies.
Biotechnology and biochemistry contribute to sustainable non-food products and processes. Our research deals with renewable energy demands, waste reduction and bio-based products and processes for the ‘greening’ of our industries. It also looks into emerging trends in biotechnology, such as synthetic biology.
All our research supports EU policies in agriculture, fisheries, development, environment, health and other sectors and, in particular, policies involved in the European economic recovery. It therefore forms an integral part of the Europe 2020 strategy.
Our research in FAFB is very well suited to promoting innovation in Europe, because of its strong industrial participation. Recognising the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises in the European research landscape, tailor-made measures are in place to support their participation in our research projects. And there are special tools to boost the take-up of results and knowledge transfer.
Our EU-funded research projects typically include scientists from different European andAssociated countriesw, but also from research partners in other parts of the world. The global issues we address need international cooperation, and participation from scientists across the world is welcome and actively encouraged.
We are proud of the large number of very successful projects already undertaken in previous Research Framework Programmes. We make special efforts to communicate the relevance of their results to potential beneficiaries, scientists, industry, in particular SMEs, policy-makers and all other stakeholders, including young people. In particular, we want to attract young people's attention to what our research can offer them, thus stimulating their interest in science and possibly leading them to choose a career in it.
We want to help the media report on what science has to offer to resolve issues such as oil spills, obesity, healthy and safe food, and what we are doing to prevent pandemics like avian flu and much more.
This web page strives to be useful to its visitors and all our research projects will provide continuously updated information. Your suggestions for improvements are welcome.
Thank you for your visit.
Director of the "Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food" Directorate
DG for Research and Innovation