A bioeconomy can be defined as an economy where the basic building blocks for materials, chemicals and energy are derived from renewable biological resources. Recently, many strategies and visions for the bioeconomy have been produced by industry associations and government agencies. It is apparent from these documents that the actors engaged in the bioeconomy understand the concept in quite different ways. Also, the definitions have evolved in a relatively brief period of time. Nevertheless, what these descriptions have in common is that they often highlight stimulating economic outputs and creating public welfare, realising the latent value in biological resources, and establishing collaborations across sectors, particularly agriculture and energy. Biotechnology and the biorefinery concept are considered essential components of the bioeconomy, which can transform a range of biomass feedstocks into valuable products. Biofuels for transport (the most visible output of the bioeconomy at present) and a mix of bio-based products are expected to underpin the shift towards an advanced bioeconomy.