The bioeconomy as an economic form aims to replace climate-damaging raw materials such as petroleum with renewable raw materials such as maize and sugar beet as far as possible. The first products such as biofuels and bio-based, compostable packaging are already on the market. At the same time, criticism of agricultural monocultures is being voiced - without the perspectives, possibilities and risks of the bioeconomy having been systematically researched so far. Nor has there been any broad discussion of this in society so far. The research project examines various aspects of the bioeconomy using the example of maize and (as yet) little-known maize alternatives such as Silphium and Sida hermaphrodita - including test cultivation on our own experimental plots.

The aim of the joint project "BioDisKo" was to contribute to the promotion of a sustainable bioeconomy by developing, testing and evaluating early, target group-oriented, participatory and communicative approaches and measures using the example of the future field of "biobased circular economy". Using the example of two representative use paths (maize and sida), high-quality social discourses were initiated and appropriate specialist information along the value chains (e.g. through high-quality dialogue-based citizen and stakeholder participation processes and a consumer survey) was elaborated. By testing innovative communication and participation methods, the partners were able to draw on the knowledge of, for example, economic actors, consumers and lay citizens. The knowledge generated for action is to be used to minimise risks in the innovation process and to enable responsible decisions in the sense of the National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030.

The IZT sub-project focused on the perceptions of consumers. Empirical surveys were used to identify any information asymmetries and to develop concrete solutions for appropriate consumer information. Based on a media analysis in national and regional daily newspapers, a discourse monitor was used to identify typical positions on the future field of "bio-based circular economy" in general and on maize and sida in particular in the public debate. The level of awareness of the bioeconomy among local residents was supplemented by an empirical survey with 500 participants. The focus of the project, however, was a social science experiment with 1,000 people. Under "laboratory conditions", (risk) perceptions of maize and sida were surveyed and supplemented with product examples and appropriate consumer information with the aim of generating action knowledge for greater consumer acceptance through comprehensibility, transparency and benefit. The IZT was also involved in monitoring the achievement of objectives and impacts.

The results have been incorporated into the innovation process through political recommendations, a citizens' report and through scientific and public-oriented publications and contributions, and have been discussed with the respective stakeholders.

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