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As the global population increases, agricultural land recedes, and fossil fuel resources are on the decline, there is a need to transition from an oil-based economy to one based on the sustainable use of renewable resources. It is in this respect that the bioeconomy – a bio-based economy built on the sustainable use of natural material cycles – can make some key contributions. The bioeconomy is the theme of Science Year 2020/21. How can we live more sustainably and preserve resources, while also maintaining our standard of living? And how can science and technology support us in these aims?



What is bioeconomy?

An estimated ten billion people are expected to be living on Earth in 2050 – that is 2.5 billion more than today. How can we supply all these people with sufficient food, energy, and raw materials? Research, politics, and industry therefore prioritize a sustainable, bio-based recycling economy: a bioeconomy. The latter relies on plants, bio-waste, and other bio-based materials as sources for the raw materials of the future. Read more...


Ulrich Schurr

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr has many years of experience in the field of the bioeconomy. The plant researcher heads the BioökonomieREVIER Rheinland coordination office and is director for Plant Sciences (IBG-2) at Forschungszentrum Jülich's Institute of Bio- and Geosciences. In addition, he is the spokesperson of the managing directors of the Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC). He teaches at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr (in German)

Harry Vereecken

Prof. Dr. Harry Vereecken is the head of Forschungszentrum Jülich’s Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Agrosphere (IBG-3). He is a member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts and scientific director of TERENO, a network of environmental observatories in Germany, as well as a regional geoscientific network (Geoverbund ABC/J). The agricultural scientist also teaches at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Bonn.

Interview with Prof. Harry Vereecken

Dörte Rother

Prof. Dörte Rother was awarded the 2018 DECHEMA Prize, the 2014 Bioeconomy Science Center Supervision Award, and the 2010 Jülich Excellence Prize. In 2017, the biotechnologist received an ERC Starting Grant for the subject of light-controlled enzyme cascades. She heads the biocatalysis department and the synthetic enzyme cascades research group at Forschungszentrum Jülich’s Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Biotechnology (IBG-1). Rother has also been a professor at RWTH Aachen University since 2018.

Press release: Dörte Rother Receives 2018 DECHEMA Prize (in German)

Initiatives and Cooperations


Bioeconomy Science Center

The Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC) is a competence platform for the sustainable bioeconomy coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich, RWTH Aachen University, the University of Bonn, and Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.



BioökonomieREVIER Rheinland is intended as a pilot project for all of Europe in which the conversion of the traditional economy based on fossil fuels into a sustainable bioeconomy adapted to the local conditions and future prospects is implemented in the Rhineland region.



Geoverbund ABC/J is the geoscientific network in the research region of Aachen–Bonn–Cologne/Jülich.

Research fields

Bioeconomy Science Center

One topic - many facets

This research field is concerned with contributing to a bio-based value chain permitting a sustainable economy. Research into a sustainable bioeconomy comprises work in biotechnology, plant research, and soil research (agrosphere). This work aims to support the transition from an oil-based to a bio-based economy and to contribute to the efforts to feed a growing global population.Read more...