Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in Biotechnology for the Bio-based and Health Industry
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)


Final Examination: 

Partial exams will be scheduled at the end of each module, with a final exam at the end of the course.
Assessment for Module #1
Depending on the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and on the number of students registered, the exam will be held in the form of a written exam in class or in the form of a Moodle Quiz (that will be created on the e-learning webpage of the course) and will consist of 2 “exercises” (composed of a series of numerical and multiple-choice questions), and 2 “open questions” to be answered in 2 hours.
The aim of this written exam is to assess the knowledge acquired by the students concerning all the topics covered during the lectures. The answers to the questions and the exercises will be evaluated based on their completeness and correctness.
Students will also have the option to participate to a workshop (organized at the end of the course) in which they will present (in groups of maximum 3 members) their own “bio-based” business idea or a case study of an existing business.
The aim of this workshop is to stimulate students to autonomously conceive, evaluate and present an innovative business idea, to provide a descriptive analysis on the economic feasibility and sustainability of the innovation project; to develop and strengthen skills in preparing and presenting public oral presentations and to sharpen student skills in critical thinking and in team working.
In case of positive evaluation (>18/30), students presenting in the workshop will have the option to answer only 2 (1 open question and 1 exercise) out of 4 questions/problems during the final written exam (in 1h). In this case, the written exam will contribute for ½ of the final mark of the module and the workshop presentations will contribute for the other ½ part.
Assessment for Module #2
Depending on the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and on the number of students registered, the exam will be held in the form of a written exam in class or in the form of a Moodle Quiz (that will be created on the e-learning webpage of the course) and will consist of multiple-choice questions and open questions requiring a concise answer regarding more complex topics.
The aim of this written exam is to assess the notions acquired by the students concerning the topics covered during the lectures. The answers to the questions will be evaluated based on their completeness and correctness and orally discussed to verify the property of language and expressive capacity. Written answers and oral discussion will contribute to the overall final mark of the module. To pass the exam, it is necessary to achieve a score of at least 18 points over 30.
The final mark of the course will be the arithmetic mean of each module mark.

Voto Finale

The Bioeconomy, often referred to as ‘biobased economy’, encompasses the production and exploitation of biobased resources and their conversion into food, feed, bioenergy and biobased materials. A biobased value chain includes the primary production of biobased resources, their conversion to higher-value goods via processing and commercialization on the market. This involves a variety of sectors and brings together different scientific disciplines and stakeholders. Thus, the field of the Bioeconomy is fertile ground for inter- and transdisciplinary research.

The course is divided in two modules.

The first module aims to introduce students to different aspects of the Bioeconomy: its economic and technological determinants, the role of innovation and intellectual property for the growth of new bio-based industries, the sustainability paradigms and the methodologies for the socio-economic and environmental impact assessment of the Bieconomy transition.
At the end of the module the students are expected to master the necessary tools and methods to autonomously understand and critically evaluate several topics related to the Bioeconomy and to develop and execute several tasks such as:
• evaluate the environmental and socio-economic impacts of bio-based products and processes;
• identify the key enabling technologies and market players using patent metrics and input-output tables;
• evaluate patent opportunities, licensing strategies and collaborations with potential partners;
• communicate the business potential to different stakeholders and investors.

Considering that the area of Bioeconomy and Biotechology is overregulated through several legislative acts and legal compliance is a critical issue in developing related activities, representing a relevant professional skill, a specific module is devoted to Biotechnology Regulation and Compliance.
The second module module intends to introduce basic law concepts and legal acts understanding tools, then to explore more in deep specific regulations related to biotechnology issues, specifically genetic modified organisms, including patent protection, confined use, environmental release and food and feed applications.
Moreover, the module intends to supply further notions relevant to safety, compliance and regulation of chemistry, medicine, biosafety and biodiversity, considering that they will be faced in the future professional activity of the students.
At the end of the course the students are expected to be able to understand the regulations and to apply them to their daily activities, granting a proper legal compliance, thus developing and protecting business in a safe and effective way.

Module 1: Economics, Management and Innovation (24h)

Principles of economics – (4h)
• Production and consumption, supply and demand, market equilibrium. (1h)
• Elasticity of demand, market structures and market power. (1h)
• Market failures, externalities and public goods. (2h)

Basic Bioeconomy concepts - 10 hours
• Inter- and Trans-disciplinarity of Bioeconomy (2h)
• Biobased Resources and Value Chains (2h)
• Markets, Sustainability Management and Entrepreneurship (2h)
• Modelling tools and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA practical lab) (2h)
• Bioeconomy and the Role of Government (2h)

Bioeconomy and Innovation - 10 hours
• Economic Growth and Innovation: The Transformation Towards a Knowledge-Based Bioeconomy. (2h)
• Innovation, appropriability and Intellectual Property (2h)
• Innovation systems and university-industry links. (2h)
• Patent data as indicators of innovation (R workshop). (2h)
• The bioeconomy transition: market opportunities and case studies. (2h)

Module 2: Biotechnology Regulation and Compliance (24h)

Basic law concepts (6h)
• Basic law concepts and glossary (2h)
• EU structure and function (2h)
• EU legislation elements vs. national legislation (2h)

Industrial Property Legislation (4 h)
• General protection of Industrial Property and patentability (2h)
• Legal protection of biotechnology inventions (2h)

Biotechnology regulation specific legislation (6 h)
• Confined use of genetically modified microorganisms. (2h)
• Environmental release of genetically modified organisms and related rules (2h)
• Genetically modified food & feed regulation. (2h)

Other relevant regulations for the biotechnology and bioeconomy sector (8 h)
• Worker protection legislation (2 h)
• Chemical substances and mixtures regulations (2h)
• Medicine, innovative therapy, rare diseases, and orphan drugs regulations (2 h)
• Biodiversity safeguard (2h)


Lewandowski, I., & Gaudet, N. (2018). Bioeconomy: shaping the transition to a sustainable, biobased economy (1st ed. 2018.). Springer Open. (Selected chapters).

Ren J. & Toniolo S. (2020), Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment for Decision-Making: Methodologies and Case Studies, Amsterdam, Elsevier. (Selected chapters).

Original EU and Italian regulatory acts related to the course matter


Frontal lectures, seminars, workshops and practical sessions.

The syllabus can be subject to marginal changes during the course. Please check periodically the course webpage on e-learning for possible changes and communications from the instructor.

Office hours:
Andrea Vezzulli: normally on Wednesday afternoon: 16:30-18.30.
Department of Economics, Monte Generoso building, first floor, room 25).
For organizational reasons, students must always send an email in advance to the instructor ( for scheduling a meeting in the office hours indicated above.