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(1) Strategic technology management in an era of convergence

Agricultural raw materials are being increasingly used for multiple sectors beyond the traditional fiber and nutrition industries—energy in the form of ethanol and biodiesel, industrial products such as polymers and bio-based synthetic chemicals and fibers, and pharmaceutical/health products such as functional ingredients for food, pharma or personal care. Hence, the agricultural sector is increasingly becoming multifunctional as it serves as the entry point of several value chains. Today this development already leads to trade-offs (“Food vs. Fuel vs. Fibre”). Therefore, advances in technology development to make use of side-streams of agri-food production (bioeconomy) are pivotal to alleviate those trade-offs. The application of technologies across industry boundaries may trigger disruptive innovations leading to a blurring of these boundaries. Formerly distinct value chains and industries start to converge and new inter-industry sectors such as “nutraceuticals” or “bioplastics” emerge between the incumbent industries. Against this background, we strive to understand the process and patterns of convergence within the bioeconomy and how the emerging "inter-industry" segments can be anticipated by patent- and publication analyses. Examples of research topics include the assessment of key technologies of the bioeconomy by drawing upon publication and patent analyses and the mechanisms of technology transfer in the interdisciplinary domain of the bioeconomy.

  • How do actors in the food and pharmaceutical area position themselves?
  • How do different actors cope with competence gaps in the knowledge-based bioeconomy?
  • How do technologies evolve in the area of convergence?
  • How does technology transfer work in interdisciplinary research settings such as the bioeconomy?

 

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