iKNOW ERA Toolkit

Applications of Wild Cards and Weak Signals to the Grand Challenges & Thematic Priorities of the European Research Area

Funded by Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities 

Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology

Display Wild Cards & Weak Signals

The European theme of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology, known as the Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE) theme, has a total budget of € 1.9 billion. Theme 2 aims to promote European leading and innovative knowledge to increase productivity and competitiveness and improve our quality of life, while protecting our environment and social model.

European-funded KBBE research focuses on three pillars:

1. Sustainable production and management of biological resources from land, forest and aquatic environments

  • Enabling research
  • Increased sustainability of all production systems (agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture)
  • Optimised animal health production and welfare across agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture
  • Socio-economic research and support to policies

2. Fork to farm: Food (including seafood), health and well-being 

  • Consumers
  • Nutrition
  • Food processing
  • Food quality and safety
  • Environmental impacts and total food chain

3. Life sciences, biotechnology and biochemistry for sustainable non-food products and processes

  • Novel sources of biomass and bioproducts
  • Marine and fresh-water biotechnology (blue biotechnology) 
  • Industrial biotechnology: Novel high added-value bioproducts and bioprocesses

Emerging themes and issues

The idea of the bio-economy – that we are depend on biological processes and entities, and that out interactions with these systems can be increasingly informed by the new biosciences and biotechnologies (as well as related field such as ecology) is crucial here.  There have been many concerns expressed about the management of arable and marine resources, for instance, with warnings that we could reach “tipping points” with regard to some habitats that could prove to underpin whole ecosystems.  There are hopes that new technologies (including but not restricted to GMOs) could vastly improve our resilience and capacity to deal with, for example, climate change. And there are considerable uncertainties associated with the rapoidly developing knowledge – and our continuing deepening of understanding about the complexities of the systems we are living within.

Click on the Display Wild Cards / Weak Signals button above to see selected issues associated to this theme.