Knowledge-based agriculture in Central and Eastern European Countries' bioeconomy
The European Union’s agriculture, aquaculture, forestry and food industry sees significant internal disparities in terms of research and innovation performance to the disadvantage of the CEE countries. This divide hinders the unlocking of excellence in low-performing research, development and innovation regions and the establishment of transnational cooperation for knowledge-based development, thus the appearance of specific research topics relevant to the CEE macro-region among others in Horizon 2020 work programmes. To bridge the gap the specific challenges in the sector should be faced through the lens of bioeconomy. At the same time there is no doubt that bioeconomy requires accompanying strategies and shared strategic research and innovation framework. As this framework has already been offered by the Central-Eastern European Initiative for Knowledge-based Agriculture, Aquaculture and Forestry in the Bioeconomy, i.e. by the BIOEAST Initiative the CEE countries are provided with an opportunity to achieve further progress in sustainable growth of agriculture, aquaculture, forestry and food industry.
The paper is aimed at providing a brief theoretical background on bioeconomy and related bioeconomy strategies and policies and analysing key socio-economic indicators of the ‘BIOEAST countries’ bioeconomy (Visegrad Countries, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia). Furthermore, it interprets the results of the ‘BIOEAST Bioeconomy Capacity Building Survey’, the respondents of which were chosen randomly through personal contacts of experts (who created a judgement sample) and by snowball sampling to get further contacts. The questionnaire was sent to a small subset of the target groups – business, academic, public sector stakeholders - and the answers were examined through descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. The focus was set on what stakeholders think the most beneficial for the CEE macro region in developing the bioeconomy and what type of intervention they identify as necessary to overcome barriers, to manage bottlenecks. The results highlight some implications for policymakers and point out that the creation of sustainable bioeconomy requires triple-helix stakeholders to find efficient collaboration mechanisms and build synergies.
bioeconomy, circular economy, sustainable growth, CEE countries, knowledge-based agriculture