Visions, Futures, and the Emerging Bioeconomy in Australia
This project will examine how the emerging bioeconomy (or, particular sectors, areas or applications within it) is being imagined and communicated in the Australian context.
The ‘bioeconomy’ is based on the use of biological materials and biotechnology (for example, synthetic biology) to create new products and enable novel forms of innovation. It is being touted as a significant opportunity to not only allow new avenues for economic growth and development, but also a means to do so sustainably to address pressing issues around the environment, energy and health and work towards more desirable futures. As such, whilst much technoscientific research is being conducted to realize the bioeconomy, equally important are the efforts to forward appealing visions about particular bioeconomic futures – that is, to communicate the value and potential of the bioeconomy in ways that attract support, resources and legitimacy to invest in these futures.
This project will examine how the emerging bioeconomy (or, particular sectors, areas or applications within it) is being imagined and communicated in the Australian context. It will involve examining how different stakeholders – for example, scientists and researchers, business leaders, policy makers – convey their visions for the bioeconomy through public documents, statements and other forms of communication. Questions to potential consider include (among others): how the bioeconomy is understood and defined, how potential benefits are framed and legitimated, similarities and differences between various stakeholder groups, and whose perspectives and interests may be overlooked or ignored.