The concept of ‘bioeconomy’ is receiving increased attention in policy and business circles. The European Commission (EC) has initiated the Bioeconomy Strategy which is a signal of intent that the EU seeks to meet the challenge of reconciling responsible-resource usage respecting sustainability criteria, with wealth-generation. To this aim, the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has been entrusted to implement a Bioeconomy Information Systems Observatory within which the objective is to develop an ongoing coherent picture of the activities of this sector, whilst developing forward- looking tools of analysis to help respond to the aforementioned challenge. This paper provides a discussion on the research activities which are currently under development at the JRC. Whilst the scale of ambition of the Bioeconomy Observatory is significant, it is recognised that much of the research conducted so-far remains workin- progress and is therefore only a starting point to fully capturing the nuances of this diverse and complex sector.