Mapping forest-based bioeconomy research in Europe

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The forest-based sector is one of the pillars of the European bioeconomy, which is an economic development perspective based on biotechnology and life sciences. In order to address relevant issues of this new policy setting, the forest-based segment of the bioeconomy should develop adequate research capacities and infrastructures. One of the preconditions for this is to have an overview of what the European forest-based bioeconomy research field looks like. This study tackles this challenge by mapping actual research activity in the field, based on projects from the EU framework programmes and the European Research Area, supplemented with data on self-reported research capacities.

The results show that overall funding in forest-based bioeconomy is increasing, but that the growth rate is slower than for the overall context of bioeconomy research. The results also show high centralization of the research to a few countries and organizations from North-Western Europe, while Eastern Europe is not adequately integrated into the European research network. There is a strong indication that the forest-based bioeconomy is not a well-integrated research field on its own and that actors present in primary and secondary processing are absent from the topics more closely related to forestry. A positive finding for field-level integration is that the diversity of expertise is the most explanatory variable of research collaboration; a negative finding for such integration is that it is likely the network centralization to a limited set of closely interlinked organizations will continue.

Full reference:
Lovrić, M.,  Lovrić, N., Mavsar, R. 2019. Mapping forest-based bioeconomy research in Europe. Forest Policy and Economics.