In recent years, the bioeconomy has established itself worldwide as a mainstay for achieving a sustainable economy. The targeted use of biological resources for industrial purposes can help to successfully reconcile ecology and economy in the long term. Like digitalization, biologization as the guiding principle of the bioeconomy has the potential to effect a fundamental change in industry. This change must be driven and supported by a committed research and innovation policy. The German Federal Government was one of the first governments worldwide to put the bioeconomy on its research policy agenda when it adopted the "National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030" in 2010. The respective national policy strategy was published two years later. Since then we have been successfully implementing measures to establish the bioeconomy. Our research programme is currently being developed further. Our aim is to strengthen the biobased transformation process towards a sustainable economy and to attach special importance to innovative technologies. Furthermore, bioeconomy research policy will have to be aimed more strongly towards achieving international goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to showing what contribution the bioeconomy can make in this context. The success of the bioeconomy requires a societal discourse on how our society can reconcile economic growth and sustainability in future. This requires the adaptation and continued development of national agendas and initiatives as well as efficient international cooperation. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.