The Open UniversitySkip to content

EU agri-innovation policy: two contending visions of the bio-economy

Levidow, Les; Birch, Kean and Papaioannou, Theo (2012). EU agri-innovation policy: two contending visions of the bio-economy. Critical Policy Studies, 6(1) pp. 40–65.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The knowledge-based bio-economy has gained prominence as a research and innovation policy of the European Union. As a policy framework the knowledge-based bio-economy has attracted two contending visions, which can be analyzed as imaginaries – strategic discourses prefiguring a possible, desirable future. In the dominant vision, life sciences will enhance productivity for European competitive advantage in global value chains. A rival vision links agroecology and shorter food supply chains, as a means for farmers to gain more from the value that they add. Each vision favors a different diagnosis of unsustainable agriculture and eco-efficient remedies. Each extends a different paradigm of agri-innovation, foreseeing an economic community that can gain from future markets. These two contending visions give different meanings to the same key terms – knowledge, biological resources and economy. In the EU’s research program for a knowledge-based bio-economy, a life sciences vision dominates the priorities, though agroecology has also gained a significant place in response to proposals from stakeholder networks. Through these efforts, research policy priorities have been opened up to more plural agri-innovation pathways.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham
ISSN: 1946-018X
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetEuropean Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 217647, entitled ‘Co-operative Research on Environmental Problems in Europe’ (CREPE)
Keywords: imaginaries; agri-innovation policy; cultural political economy; critical discourse analysis; sustainable agriculture; eco-efficiency; life sciences; agroecology; knowledge-based bio-economy (KBBE); European Technology Platforms (ETPs); Framework Programme 7
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography > Development
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Institute for Innovation Generation in the Life Sciences (Innogen)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 33466
Depositing User: Les Levidow
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2012 12:44
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:05
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU