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The Future of the Bioeconomy: circular and ecosystem services-aware?

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    Dalia D'Amato, Faculgy of Agriculure and Forestry, University of Helsinki

NOVA PhD course of 5 ECTS, organised by Dalia D'Amato-Pihlman, Adj. Prof., Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki.
Course dates and location: 11-14 May 2020, digital course. (Pre- and post-course assignments between 20 Apr. and 31 Aug. 2020.)

Course Description
This remote-learning course addresses the current limits of the scientific and political definition of bioeconomy, by integrating elements from the concepts of circular economy and ecosystem services to forward its conceptualisation. The bioeconomy is emerging as a key concept at academia, policy and industry level in the Nordic countries and globally. The bioeconomy celebrates resources derived from living biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels, with knowledge and innovation being the key enabler of this sustainability transformation. While multiple understandings of the bioeconomy are being advanced, several experts have pointed out the limitations of this concept to forward sustainability transformations. Two concepts – the circular economy and ecosystem services - are relevant to advance the bioeconomy and related tools to monitor progress (inter)nationally, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The course is divided in four modules: 1. Bioeconomy; 2. Circular economy; 3. Ecosystem services; 4. A circular, ecosystem services -aware bioeconomy. Each module discusses how the concepts are received and employed in academia, policy and business, especially in the Nordic countries.

Programme Outline

Prior to the course, the students will be required to read scientific or grey literature on the topic, and to develop a glossary of relevant terms (group work). During the course, the students will be required to watch the video-lessons, provided by NOVA teachers or other scholars or actors outside academia. Participants will be expected to comment and discuss in the online forum. Part of this process will be finalized to merging the glossaries produced prior to the course and refining them in a single document, which will be released publicly later on. Post-course, the attendees will be evaluated based on a written essay (group-work). The students are strongly encouraged to develop manuscripts based on their essay to submit to a scientific journal for publishing.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, the students will be able to employ, challenge and refine the most recent interdisciplinary knowledge on the topic at hand, including relations to scientific literature, policy and business. Working autonomously and in groups, they will be able to identify and will be asked to address the most relevant and urgent research questions and gaps. In particular, the participants will be asked to co-develop a glossary of key terms associated with the interdisciplinary topics at study for public use; and to co-write essays. Students and teachers will be encouraged to share the work and material developed during the course, in the form of scientific publication or grey material (open access whenever possible or appropriate).

Evaluation Elements
Active participation (online) is a key requirement to complete the course and will be considered in the evaluation process.

Pedagogical Approach
The course relies on the following pedagogical material and dynamics: assigned readings, video-lectures, forum for discussion, group work (possibly with calls). Challenges related to online engagement are partly offset by adopting instruments such as goal-oriented group work and peer-evaluation, and by choosing the appropriate online platforms for group interaction or file sharing.

Estimated Workload
Lectures: 10-12 hours.
Independent work (pre- and post- course assignments, including reading, group discussion and writing of final essay): 120-125 hours.

Video-lectures are provided by NOVA teachers or other partners.
Independent work include assigned readings, video-lectures, online discussion and group work (written and calls).

Prerequisite Knowledge
We welcome applicants from multiple backgrounds working on bioeconomy-related issues or with one of the concepts dealt with in the course. Applicants need to have a good overview of sustainability issues, and a basic understanding of one or more of the concepts at study. Fluent English, versatile learning skills in the context of interdisciplinary subjects, and a teamwork attitude are needed to complete the course.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Apply here

There is no course fee for students. 

Published 9. May 2019 - 14:37 - Updated 27. September 2019 - 9:02