International online PhD course “A bio-based society: from principles to practice ”

Our “take-produce-consume-discard” model of our current economic system is exhausting the resources of the planet. The online course ‘A bio-based society: from principles to practice’ will be held from 28 to 30 April 2021.

Organised by Animal Production Systems, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS)

Wed 28 April 2021 until Fri 30 April 2021

Background and aim

Without a healthy planet, societies cannot thrive, and economies cannot flourish. However, our “takeproduce-consume-discard” model of our current economic system, is exhausting the biological and physical resources of the planet. This wasteful linear model is unsustainable in the long term, especially in the face of a growing and wealthier world population demanding more food, feed, fuel and fibre.

The concept of a ‘bio-based society’ is increasingly seen as a promising response to ensuring a sustainable future. It is inspired by the more general idea of a ‘circular economy’ aiming to reduce resource consumption and emissions to the environment by reducing dependence on fossil resources, closing the loop of materials and substances, implying that use of finite resources must be minimized, and that losses of materials and substances are prevented, or else recovered for reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling. An entirely bio-based, circular society may be a utopia, as for example food production and consumption are inherently associated with losses of materials and nutrients which are partly impossible to recover. Yet, moving towards a more circular bio-based society is essential for a sustainable future.

The aim of this online course is to provide participants with advanced knowledge, both theoretical and practical, on the transition towards a bio-based society. Key issues addressed are: what are the key principles of a bio-based society, and what are the implications for the food system, and the production of biomaterials. How can we guarantee the quality and safety of products in a bio-based society? What is needed to foster a transition towards a bio-based society? Which changes in society are needed to enable a transition towards a circular bio-economy, involving technological changes (e.g. new knowledge and technology), organizational changes (e.g. reconfiguration of social networks and patterns of interaction), behavioural changes (e.g. in paradigm, underlying norms and values and in power structures), market changes (e.g. innovative business models, subsidies, taxes); and institutional changes (e.g. new institutional arrangements and regulatory framework).

Target group

This PhD course will be of great interest to PhD students and professionals interested in the the circular aspects of the bio-economy and how this can be achieved.


The course will be delivered online through lectures, interactive group work and an assignment

Course flyer