Transitions towards a European Bioeconomy: Life Sciences versus agroecology trajectories

Levidow, Les; Nieddu, Martino; Vivian, Franck-Dominque and Béfort, Nicolas (2019). Transitions towards a European Bioeconomy: Life Sciences versus agroecology trajectories. In: Allaire, Gilles and Daviron, Benoit eds. Ecology, Capitalism and the New Agricultural Economy: The Second Great Transformation. London: Routledge, pp. 181–203.



The Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE) has gained prominence as an agricultural R&D agenda. The KBBE attracts rival visions, each favouring a different diagnosis of unsustainable agriculture and its remedies in agro-food innovation. Each vision links a technoscientific paradigm with a quality paradigm: the dominant Life Sciences vision combines converging technologies with decomposability, especially for industrial uses of non-edible biomass, while a marginal vision combines agroecology with integral product integrity for quality food. From these divergent visions, rival stakeholder networks contend for influence over EU research policies and priorities. Although a Life Sciences vision remains dominant, agroecological approaches have gained a presence, thus overcoming their general exclusion from agricultural research agendas. In their own way, each rival paradigm emphasises the need for collective systems to gather information for linking producers with users, as a rationale for funding distinctive research priorities.

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