Fernanda Martinelli

Research themes
  • Science Policy
  • Governance
  • Environmental and climate change
  • Agriculture, land use, climate change
Research countries
  • Brazil
Working groups

STRIVE - Sustainable Trade & Innovation Transfer in the Bioeconomy


Professional experience

[01/2014-11/2016] Conservation International (CI-Brasil)
Project Coordinator in Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction


Technische Universität Dresden | UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB 
Postgraduate Course on Environmental Management for Developing and Emerging Countries (CIPSEM)

Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro | Columbia University
Master in Development Practice (Global MDP)

Universidade Federal de Viçosa
Bachelor of Science in Biology | Major: Ecology and Botany


Policy for sustainable development

Funding institutions


BMBF (Research Project Strive)

Thesis title

Measuring bioeconomy's contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals achievement in Brazil

Thesis abstract

World leaders from all UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs seek to address economic, social and environmental issues in a sustainable manner underpinned by good governance. For the 15-year period the SDGs are covering, the world population is projected to increase by 1 billion people and will demand 60 percent more agricultural products. The need for food, the depletion of natural resources (eg. fish stocks, forest products or fossil oil) and the impacts of climate change on agriculture are pushing nations to create national strategies to promote their bioeconomy. Bioeconomy is the part of the economy based in biology and the biosciences, producing, transforming, and using renewable bio-based materials and products. These products are derived from agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food processing, and parts of the energy, chemicals and biotechnology sectors. Previous research has shown that a bioeconomy has the potential to contribute to at least half of the SDGs, directly or indirectly. However, there is still a need of both investigating the bioeconomy's impact on trade-offs between the SDGs to enabling and regulating policy processes.

The objective of this study is to analyze the complex trade-offs, positive and negative effects of a developing bioeconomy on a country’s SDG performance. The case application will be done in Brazil, which has a strong and diverse bioeconomic profile with specific comparable advantages. Among the existing national policies, the RenovaBio, under the Ministry of Energy, is the one expected to advance primary-production bioeconomy significantly by increasing efficiency in first generation biofuel sector and setting higher targets for replacing gasoline to ethanol, in line with the country’s commitment under the Paris Agreement. Given how recent the policy is and its ambitious targets set, this study will evaluate its future impacts on the SDG performance by mapping the conflicting and the synergies between the SDG targets for each development pathway under the RenovaBio policy. As a first step, I will determine the different interconnections among SDG targets based on expert surveys. From these findings, scenarios will be created to assess the potential of this bioeconomy policy to contribute to the SDGs. Its final goal is to understand what kind of impact a developing bioeconomy along these pathways will have on the performance towards the SDGs.


1. To identify which SDG targets are most likely to be affected by a developing bioeconomy in Brazil;

2. To measure how Brazil is performing towards those SDG targets;

3. To investigate the impact of different bio-based transformation pathways in the country’s SDG performance.


Supervisors of
doctoral work

Prof. Dr. Jan Börner

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Lisa Biber-Freundenberger


Martinelli, F. S., L. Biber-Freudenberger, G. Stein, J. Börner.  2022.  Will Brazil’s push for low-carbon biofuels contribute to achieving the SDGs? A systematic expert-based assessment.  Cleaner Environmental Systems, 5   : 100075   . (Open Access)   Further Information
Velander, S. , F. Silva Martinelli, D. I. Sari, F. Ali and L. Biber-Freudenberger.  2022.  A dichotomy of domestic and academic pathways: Challenges of motherhood in an international doctoral program on land science.  Journal of Land Use Science, . (Open Access)   Further Information


Martinelli, F. S., Lindner, A..  2021.  How far are the metropolitan areas in Brazil from achieving the sustainable development goals? An analysis based on SDG dashboards.  SN Social Sciences, 5 (1)   : 103   . (Open Access)   Further Information


KLINE, KEITH L.; MARTINELLI, FERNANDA S. ; MAYER, AUDREY L. ; MEDEIROS, RODRIGO ; OLIVEIRA, CAMILA ORTOLAN F. ; SPAROVEK, GERD ; WALTER, ARNALDO ; VENIER, LISA A..  2015.  Bioenergy and Biodiversity: Key Lessons from the Pan American Region..  Environmental Management, 55   : 1   . Further Information

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Fernanda Martinelli

Junior Researcher

Private website:


Environmental Policy


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