Scientists, industry leaders and researchers from all over the world recently gathered in person, and remotely, at the Queensland Bioeconomy Forum 2021 in Brisbane. Organised by Life Sciences Queensland, the forum brought together Queensland’s key stakeholders from industry, agriculture, and environmental biotechnology to discuss approaches and technologies that grow the local bio-based economy and prepare Queensland to meet the demand for more sustainable energy, processes, and products.
The Bioeconomy Forum was officially opened by the Honourable Meaghan Scanlon, Minister for Environment and Science. “Today is a great opportunity to talk about new and emerging sectors that we want to be a part of and that can help us transform the way we eat, how we generate energy and how we live more sustainably.”
Presentations, breakout sessions and interactive panels discussed both the local and international bioeconomy. “This an exciting day,” stated Professor Hugh Possingham, Queensland Chief Scientist, “It is all about sustainability, circular economy, re-use, medicine and food.”
Bioeconomy is the production, use and conservation of biological resources. Like circular economy, that is an economic system that attempts to address global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and waste, both are premised upon the principals of economic opportunity, environmental urgency, and social benefit.
The Bioeconomy Forum brought stakeholders together in a manner that assists them to identify Queensland’s emerging strengths. Though it was well represented by both national and international participants and collaborators, there was a significant focus on regional Queensland. Stakeholders from Toowoomba to Bundaberg, from Townsville to the Whitsundays considered the challenges and opportunities they faced as they join to harness the knowledge, capabilities, and energy that each offers in hopes of creating sustainable change that will grow Queensland’s bioeconomy. Coreo, co-founders Jaine and Ashleigh Morris, succinctly stated that the “bio-economy means we do less with more.”
The value of collaboration and communication were key concepts throughout the day and there was a consensus that sharing and learning from the experiences of others was a particularly salient theme that is poised to continue into the future.
Australia is one of 60 countries that have launched strategies to support a bioeconomy and that trend is growing. The hope for Queensland is to deliver solutions to problems like increasing food sources and energy, reducing emissions, and addressing the global loss of biodiversity.
Additionally, the first draft of the Queensland Bioeconomy Strategic Visualisation Tool by the Department of Environment and Science, was on display. It welcomed feedback and comment from those in attendance. Launched late last year, the tool assists businesses to understand Queensland’s research strengths and attributes across seven emerging industries that have global growth potential.
Stakeholders from within Queensland and abroad worked together to drive the development of technologies that make our lives and environment cleaner, safer, and healthier. Life Sciences Queensland CEO Clare Blain is optimistic. “We are very excited to be hosting this event in person,” she said, “The Bioeconomy Forum 2021 has demonstrated how vital communication is, to a cohesive and achievable bioeconomy.”
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Life Sciences Queensland is focussed on facilitating the future growth and sustainability of Australia’s life sciences industry. The organisation highlights the key role that life sciences innovation plays to feed, fuel and heal our citizens.