This November 2019, the BioMonitor project asked stakeholders about their experience and knowledge on data collection methodologies at the Maternushaus in Cologne, Germany.
Given by its growing popularity, the future of the European bioeconomy seems bright; yet existing data fail to reflect its reality. The BioMonitor project discussed with expert stakeholders on identifying the data collection methodologies which are best-suited to measure the bioeconomy in a workshop which took place last November 14 at Maternushaus in Cologne (Germany). Input from participants will be used as a basis to reduce existing data gaps, and to extract data which will be integrated in the data and modelling framework the BioMonitor project is working on.
An overview about the project and its objectives was provided by BioMonitor project coordinator Justus Wesseler. Four partners from the BioMonitor project then presented the different methodologies for data collection:
- Stephan Piotrowski (nova-Institute) on bio-based shares;
- David Verhoog (Wageningen Economic Research) on how to calculate or infer missing data in Eurostat;
- Jocelyn van Berkel (CBS) on the Material Flow Monitor;
- Myrna van Leeuwen (Wageningen Economic Research) on which bio-based products we might want to suggest on being added to the official statistics and why.
The BioMonitor partners who presented at the workshop showed how the overall research strategy of data collection in BioMonitor builds on short run, medium run and long run methodologies. Short run methodologies – presented by Stephan Piotrowski – essentially rely on estimating the size of the European bioeconomy based on expert knowledge and existing statistics. Such an approach produces immediate and valuable results, but the main drawback are the many data gaps in existing Eurostat statistics, as pointed out by David Verhoog in his presentation, (David also indicated how these data gap can be filled in).
Jocelyn van Berkel presented the medium-term methodology, which builds on the Material Flow Monitor developed by CBS and expands on it by integrating the product-level bio-based shares to ultimately depict the overall biomass flow. The Biomass Flow Monitor is the result of this exercise.
Finally, as part of the long run data collection strategy, BioMonitor will address the integration of new bio-based products into the official Eurostat statistics.
Questions were raised during and after each of the talk. Some of them were focused on the details, for example, on the assumed equivalence of bio-based share in production volume with respect to the bio-based share in production value. All thirty participants gave an overall positive feedback while they acknowledged the size of this daunting task the BioMonitor project wishes to act on.
The research strategy of short, medium and long run data collection methodologies was well-received by the workshop participants, who however stressed how important it is for BioMonitor to avoid focusing too much on data quantity, to the detriment of producing relevant data.
The BioMonitor partners will critically take such comment into account and are committed to question the results produced by the project to assess the validity of the short- and medium term data collection methodologies.