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(1) Focus Area: Technology Dynamics

Driven by global demand for making food production more efficient and yet, sustainable and environmentally friendly, the agricultural industry currently witnesses an immense need for transformation and renewal itself. It is shaped by novel knowledge fields and, thus, is increasingly becoming multifunctional and interdisciplinary. In addition, due to advances in technology, the agricultural industry also serves as the entry point of several value chains that make use of side-streams of agri-food production, e.g., for chemical component or energy production. As a consequence, the application of technologies across industry boundaries may trigger disruptive innovations leading to a blurring of boundaries between the agricultural and several other industries. Formerly distinct technological innovation systems, markets and industries start to converge and new cross-industry technologies and sectors emerge between the incumbent industries leading to dynamics in the technological landscape. Within the focus area technology dynamics, we are especially interested in those technologies that have an impact on sustainability transitions and leading to strategic renewal of individual companies or the entire agri-food as well as the larger bioeconomic system. Examples of research topics within technology dynamics include the assessment of emerging sustainability-oriented technologies or key enabling technologies for sustainability transitions. Thereby, we draw upon primary and secondary data from expert interviews, survey, group concept mapping, design thinking or science fiction prototyping workshops, as well as scientific research publications, patents, technological trends, or merger and acquisitions. Exemplary research questions are:

  • How can technology dynamics as well as the resulting knowledge shifts be assessed from a system perspective and what impact does this have on different actors within a technological innovation system?
  • How do sustainability-oriented technologies emerge in the area of convergence and how are such technologies evaluated across the supply chain?
  • How does technology transfer work in sustainability transitions or in interdisciplinary research settings such as the bioeconomy?