A conceptual model for innovation research in the bio-economy

Jonas Van Lancker

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    Further developing the bio-based economy is considered to be crucial for increasing resource productivity, closing nutrient cycles and creating additional value. The necessary bio-technological research is however from a very complex nature. Aside from the scientific and technological aspects, biotech researchers and developers have to take into account issues like the waste hierarchy, social norms and legislation, supply chain and market formation, IP, cost efficiency and logistical challenges to develop a marketable innovation.
    The current classic science-driven innovation research approach, starting from the most recent scientific insights, is often restricted to a single discipline. It usually follows a linear process from research over development and demonstration to diffusion. Innovations developed from this uni-disciplinary, science driven approach often face a multitude of barriers that prevent end-user adoption. To identify those barriers and the bottlenecks that cause them, a methodologically innovative research approach is needed. The aim of this research is to create a conceptual model for bio-technological innovation research, taking the importance of end-user adoption into account from the initial phase of the research process. Based on the literature on open innovation, co-creation, co-innovation, triple helix innovation, socio-technical systems, technological innovation systems and innovation adaptation, we identified a number of research steps, structural components and research functions needed for successful innovation research. We combined elements from both the science- and the innovation-driven research approach to create a research process that considers the different multidisciplinary aspects and the potential bottlenecks that may arise prior to commercialization. The model combines sound scientific research with intense multistakeholder participation. The approach is transdisciplinary, dynamic, flexible and nonlinear.
    The model is currently empirically tested using three bio-based economy research cases. The first case investigates valorization pathways for plant-based by-products, the second case aims to create added value from fisheries discards and the third case focusses on composting by- and waste-products to close the resource cycle. This research, together with the three empirical cases, is part of the GeNeSys-project (Use of By-Products as System Innovation), an integrated ILVO research effort. Based on the successes and failures of these three cases and other examples in the bio-economy, the conceptual model will be further evaluated and accordingly adjusted.
    Translated title of the contributionEen conceptueel model voor innovatieonderzoek in de bio-economie
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 5-Jun-2013
    Event9th International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries - Antwerpen, Belgium
    Duration: 5-Jun-20137-Jun-2013


    Conference9th International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries
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