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Osseweijer, Patricia

Osseweijer, Patricia


Patricia Osseweijer, born in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, 1958. Ph.D. from VU University of Amsterdam. Professor of Science Communication at the Delft University of Technology.

Distinguished Lorentz Fellow (1 September 2015 – 30 June 2016)

From a Fossil to a Bio-based Economy: Adding Value Combining Science, Technology and Social Science

Research Question

How can we encourage mutual understanding between technology-driven research (exploring what is possible from a techno-economic perspective) and the social sciences (looking at what is desirable from a societal perspective), in order to create integrated designs for the transition to a bio-based economy and sustainable future?

Project Description

During the fellowship, I will focus on how we can make the transition to a sustainable bio-based economy. This will depend on developing new technological solutions as well as society adopting innovations. While technology-driven research explores what is possible from a techno-economic perspective, the social sciences look at what is desirable from a societal perspective. However, mutual inspiration seems to be hampered by jargon and, more importantly, by differing thought processes. Although both approaches aim for a sustainable bio-based world, they base their problem definitions, analysis and solutions on different worldviews. This confuses citizens, policy makers and investors. The ambition is to encourage mutual understanding and respect in order to create integrated designs that take the complexity of overall value chains into account in an international setting. In this way  technology and social development can strengthen each other in achieving a sustainable future.

Selected Publications

Osseweijer, P., J. Kinderlerer and K. Ammann. Societal issues in industrial biotechnology. Chapter in Soetaert, Vandamme (Eds): Industrial Biotechnology. Sustainable Growth and Economic Success, 39 pp, Wiley (2008).

Schuurbiers, D., P. Osseweijer, J. Kinderlerer (2007). Future issues in industrial biotechnology. Biotechnology Journal, 2, 1112-1120.

Osseweijer, P. (2006). Imagine projects with a strong emotional appeal. Nature, 444(7118), 422-422.

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