On the 5th of Ocotber the doors of the the „house of university“ of Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf opened for the interested public for a panel discussion with four invited experts. The topic of the event was the job market and topics ranged from master programs at university, over the views from a professor at university to the founder and managing director of an internationally recognised research and consultation institute. People could also join in on the discussion over a livestream and chat on YouTube.
The title of theur event was „“Bioökonomie-Potential für Wirtschaft und Arbeitsmarkt?“ (Panel discussion “Bio-economic potential for the economy and labor market?) and the speakers were:
Mr. Pude started with insights from the point of view of agricultural science at the University of Bonn. He pointed out the importance of cascade use and renewable raw material. Then Mr. Carus gave insights into the demand of large cooperations for sustainable materials. According to him the bioeconomy is already a large marketfield with great growth in general. He sees the future in the combination of te concepts of renewable carbon, biomass and recycling. Then Mr. Steinhaus got on stage and presented insights into the Labor Market Analysis for the field of bioeconomy. According to him, there is an increasing need for recruitment, while at the same time there is a shortage of skilled workers. Still acgriculture plays a key role and pratice-related and interdisciplinary learning and training is required. It is of major importance to quickly transfer research results and innovations into practive. Last but not least Mr. Lask went on stage and reflected on the bioeconomics degree and whether it can be seen as a degree for visionaries.
After that the panel discussion took place, reflecting on the job market and opportunities. It became quite clear that bioeconomy seems to have been a trial and error process so far and there is a need for specialised staff. Nowadays more and more projects come to life, there are many doctoral students with the tailwind of politics. However, there is still a lack of young people from agriculture and agricultural science. The growth of thebioeconomy market declines because efficiency increases and at the same time work experts in biotechnology are high in demand. Students, however, prefer to do practical research. When talking about the low awareness of bioeconomy in the general public assumptions were made that this has its cause due to the fact that there is hardly any basic knowledge about chemistry in the population. There is the prejudice that chemistry is bad, but what about biochemistry (i.e. biology)? That the concept of bioeconomy is diffcult to grasp makes the circumstances not easier. This leads to the conclusion that a strong marketing is needed, but still – there’s in no skilled staff.
It is interesting to point out at this point that all panelists agreed that there is no common view on bioeconomy and that it is a concept framed by politics and not science, as it really includes many disciplines in science that all have slightly different views on it (e.g. physicians and chemists see it slightly different). They agreed on the central idea of bioeconomy though, which is a question of resources and how to process raw materials for production and extraction.
The overall conclusion of the discussion was: there is a job market for bioeconomy in Germany and in the future, too. A specific attention should be paid to Industry Based Bioeconomy. However, this statement should be viewed with caution on niches and industries. Above all, special workers are required.
The event took place, as developed in the co-creation process, as part of a series event „Zukunft Bioökonomie? – Ansätze, Sichtweisen und Perspektiven der Bioökonomie” and is a cooperation of the Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf (Department Bürgeruniversität), the Cluster of Excellence for Plant Sciences CEPLAS, Wissenschaftsladen Bonn e. V. and Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen.