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Circular bioeconomy: Actors and dynamics of knowledge co-production in Finland

D. D'Amato, K. Korhonen-Kurki, V. Lyytikainen, B.D. Matthies and A-I. Horcea-Milcu

Forest Policy and Economics, 2022, vol. 144, issue C

Abstract: The circular bioeconomy is a highly scrutinized concept in Finland and internationally, with a high degree of polarization regarding forest utilization rates and distrust between certain actors. This offers an interesting case for an exploratory analysis of issues associated with knowledge co-production. Knowledge co-production entails the integration of different knowledge types and collaboration across multiple societal actors with potentially conflicting viewpoints and agendas. We interviewed key organizations operating at the nexus of science and policy in the processes of knowledge co-production regarding the circular bioeconomy in Finland, including representatives from ministries, universities, research institutes, innovation promoters, and interest organizations. Using qualitative content analysis, we assessed the actors' tacit knowledge and perceptions regarding 1) their role in knowledge co-production across knowledge types; 2) elements enabling knowledge co-production; and 3) tensions and needs/opportunities of knowledge co-production. To frame our data collection and analysis, we particularly draw from recent sustainability science literature on knowledge types in co-production. The findings reveal that the three main knowledge types – lay, expert, and scientific – are acknowledged by all actors, but are dealt with, to different extents, according to the roles played by different actors in the process of knowledge generation. Collaboration was reported to be largely project-oriented, enabled by funding, similar mindsets, and organizational/individual networks. Tensions included conflicting ideological positions held by various actors in the circular bioeconomy, mainly hampering the co-production of normative/target knowledge; funding-induced gaps and risks in inter-actor cooperation, mainly affecting process/system knowledge of the circular bioeconomy; and gaps and difficulties in cross-sectoral and cross-discipline engagement, mainly affecting predictive/transformative knowledge. Knowledge synthesis, policy-supporting knowledge, and transformative knowledge were perceived by several interviewees to be important avenues towards improving the sustainability potential of the Finnish forest sector.

Keywords: Bioeconomy; Circular economy; Forest; Science-policy; Sustainability transformations; Sustainability transitions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:forpol:v:144:y:2022:i:c:s1389934122001332

DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2022.102820

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