Bioeconomy & Biodiversity

The biological diversity of planet earth, has always been our life support system: providing the goods and services we depend upon.  Now it forms the basis of the Bioeconomy, and will be essential in meeting the global challenges, which the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out to address by 2030. At present, however, we make use of only a small proportion of the estimated 10-13 million species, the potential contribution of most species to the Bioeconomy remains unknown. As biodiversity loss continues and a sixth great extinction crisis is in prospect, the threat to our life support system demands urgent responses.  This workshop will explore the roles and potential contributions to the bioeconomy of biodiversity research institutes and collections based institutions such as natural history museums and botanic gardens. The latter two collectively hold expertise and collections encompassing the full diversity of life on Earth.

Key topics:

  • To explore the roles and contributions to the bioeconomy of biodiversity research and biodiversity collections.
  • To consider how biodiversity research can help to broaden the biological base of the bioeconomy, which currently rests upon a relatively small subset of the biodiversity of the planet.
  • To consider what new partnerships and frameworks might be needed to further a sustainable bioeconomy and the protection of biodiversity.

Provisional program:

  • 11:30 – 11:40 Natural History Museums. Johannes Vogel
  • 11:40 – 11:50 Plant diversity and botanic gardens. Stephen Blackmore
  • 11:50 – 12:00 Cost-effective rational systems for conserving plant diversity. Paul Smith
  • 12:00 – 12:10 Insects as a resource for medicine, plant protection and biotechnology. Andreas Villcinskas
  • 12:15 – 13:00 Discussion: Discussion: Integrating Biodiversity knowledge into global, national and regional Bioeconomy Developments (4 Speaker-Panel)

    1. Maria Beatriz Martins Costa - CEO, Planeta Orgânico: Climate and Biodiversity
    2. Jörg Overmann - CEO, DSMZ: Microbial diversity from collections to bioinformatics
    3. Gemedo Dalle Tussie - Director General, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI)
    4. Thomas von Rintelen - Natural History Museum Berlin: Indonesian – German cooperation on biodiversity for medicine discovery pipeline

11:30 – 13:00, 26th November 2015

Co-Chairs: Johannes Vogel (German Bioeconomy Council) & Stephen Blackmore (BGCI)



Johannes Vogel is General Director of the Museum of Natural History in Berlin and Professor of Biodiversity and Public Science at the Humboldt Universität, Berlin. Mr. Vogel received a Ph.D. in the Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge and the Department of Botany, Natural History Museum, London, where he went on to become Keeper of Botany. His research has focused on evolutionary biology and citizen science and his interests include developing dynamic, adaptive, entrepreneurial scientific organizations, and creating and sustaining robust knowledge communities and public engagement with science. Mr. Vogel has been vice chairman of the German Bioeconomy Council since 2012.

Stephen Blackmore is a British botanist with a PhD from the University of Reading, Berkshire. Since 2014 Mr. Blackmore has been chairman of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Additionally he is expert committee’s chair of the Darwin Initiative, supported by the UK government, and also a board member of the Seychelles Islands Foundation. Mr. Blackmore gained professional experience among others as Head of the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden at the University of Malawi as well as Head of Palynology and Keeper of Botany at Natural History Museum in London. Stephen Blackmore has received several awards including Victoria Medal of Honour.