Dynamics of expectations in the bioeconomy-Hopes, disillusionments, and conflicting futures

Johanna Ahola-Launonen*, Sofi Kurki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The initial European Union bioeconomy policies have been criticized for their overriding economic emphasis at the cost of social and environmental sustainability. The updated policy aims to respond to more ambitious sustainability goals but fails to do so coherently. In this article, we examine the dynamics of bioeconomy expectations. We analyze the development of bioeconomy policy as a technoscientific imaginary by dissecting the changed expectations, their underlying tensions, and the directions to which their combinations guide policymaking. We find that the revised expectations are contradictory and culminate in two key tensions regarding the bioeconomy's expected scale and socioeconomic paradigm. To enable assessment of the outcomes of conflicting expectations, we examine images of potential futures that rise up from combinations of the key tensions. For this, we use a framework of the four generic scenario narratives. The analysis provides a tool for reflection for assessing the directions and priorities of evolving bioeconomy discourse and policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-829
Number of pages11
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • bioeconomy
  • dynamics of expectations
  • technology hype cycle
  • images of the future
  • policy analysis


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