Bioeconomy science collaboration between Brazil and Germany – On equal footing?

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Knowledge, science, and technology are at the core of both a ‘resource-based’ and ‘knowledge-based’ bioeconomy. Collaboration in science considers varying circumstances such as resource availability and technological infrastructure. Significant investments have been mobilized for supporting research, development, and bioeconomicy innovations in Brazil. Germany, in particular, is among Brazil's most prominent bioeconomy collaborators, specifically with regard to tropical forests for their function as a carbon sink, as a site with specific atmospheric and soil conditions for research, and as a provider of forest and agricultural biomass to contribute to the setup of biomass supply chains, and biodiversity. However, North-South inequalities continue to materialize both in knowledge production and scientific work. 

To better understand the nature of these inequalities, we conduct an explorative empirical study on German-Brazilian scientific collaboration on bioeconomy. Building on theoretical contributions located at the interface between International Relations and Science, Technology, and Innovation studies, we propose a categorization of inequalities in science collaboration which we then use to reflect upon and contextualize the findings from our qualitative interviews with bioeconomy researchers. Our analysis indicates that interviewed researchers perceive the scientific collaboration on bioeconomy between Brazil and Germany as unequal. These inequalities range from research infrastructure to academic career opportunities. However, inequalities are heavily influenced by how the national and international bioeconomy research agenda is defined, and most importantly by whom research agendas are set. Building on these findings, we discuss how international bioeconomy research could move away from the traditional North-South dichotomy in science collaboration towards a more collaborative and inclusive research agenda setting.


Júlia Mascarello, Rosa Lehmann, Alexandru Giurca. Bioeconomy science collaboration between Brazil and Germany – On equal footing? Forest Policy and Economics, Volume 161, 2024, 103181.