What is bioeconomy and what are the career possibilities within this modern and interdisciplinary professional field? These questions were in focus of the 2nd PhD Day NRW “Future Bioeconomy” that took place on 1st of December in Bonn. The event was jointly organised by six different scientific institutions (including CEPLAS) from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), who offer a graduate training programme on a topic related to bioeconomy. The goal of this meeting was to gather young scientists from different scientific fields and locations in NRW, providing them a frame for networking and discussions about future career paths in the bioeconomy. Around 50 PhD students from Aachen, Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Jülich and Münster came together in Bonn.
The event was opened by Prof. Ulrich Schurr (IBG-2 Pflanzenwissenschaften, Forschungszentrum Jülich) who gave a general introduction about bioeconomy and its social relevance resulting in first discussions with the audience. Prof. Michael Feldbrügge (Institute for Microbiology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf) supplemented the first session with a report about his research projects in the context of a sustainable bioeconomy. He sees research as a driving force for a successful bioeconomy. The thematic focus changed in the second session of the event and was directed towards career opportunities in the field of bioeconomy. The invited guests Dr. Christian Dumpitak (iGRAD, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf), Charles van der Haegen (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives) and Dr. Wilfried Blümke (Evonik Technology & Infrastructure GmbH) reported about their own as well as about alternative career paths in the field of academia, entrepreneurship and industry followed by an interactive panel discussion with the audience. The poster session and the final get-together provided further possibilities for deeper discussions. Based on first feedback from the participants the 2nd PhD Day NRW “Future Bioeconomy” was an interesting and useful information event and a stepping stone towards the establishment of an own scientific network.