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Bioenergy Distributed Dialogue

Sciencewise funded project 2012


Momentum is building around bioenergy as an area of research that could contribute significantly in responding to the challenges of sustainable energy production in a low-carbon economy. One of three BBSRC strategic research priorities is Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology. A £24M investment has been made in the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC); a virtual centre, set up in partnership with industry, focussed on development of second-plus generation biofuels.

More background information

Aims and Objectives

The overall objective is:

•    To develop an ongoing, informed discussion between the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), its research community and a range of stakeholders, including members of the public, around bioenergy research, its potential and the issues associated with it.

The key objectives for the elements of the dialogue covered by the Sciencewise-ERC grant are:
•    To develop a novel, flexible model for dialogue that can adapt to the changing science, and to the evaluation and outputs of the public engagement activities during the lifetime of the dialogue
•    To use that model of dialogue to engage in an ongoing and evolving conversation between BBSRC, its research community and a range of stakeholders, including members of the public, around bioenergy research, its potential, its application and the issues associated with it
•    To provide a positive experience of dialogue for all those involved so that those people, from members of the public to researchers and policymakers, are better informed when making decisions about bioenergy

Key Impacts

Project Quotes

“It is an important part of our energy mix and especially to meet our 10% energy from renewably [renewables] by 2020 in line with the emissions targets.”
Public Participant
“It provides an environmentally sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, and is renewable. ”
Public Participant
“It would be nice to have energy sources that are harmonious with the preservation of life on earth.”
Public Participant

Delivered By

The Bioetechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public.

Ipsos Mori
Data Analysis. Ipsos MORI, part of the Ipsos  Group, is a leading UK research company, specialising in social & political research and public dialogue on complex and sensitive issues.

Collingwood Environmental Planning (CEP)
Evaluation Contractor. CEP is an independent multidisciplinary environmental and sustainability consultancy.

Latest Status Update

BBSRC published a report about a pilot public dialogue on bioenergy which took place between September 2012 and December 2013. (December 2013)
Interim evaluation report published (January 2014).

Sciencewise and the BBSRC held a facilitated dialogue session Friday 22 March to give civil servants the chance to experience public dialogue first-hand on a ‘live’ policy issue.