Read the full post from the Federation of American Scientists.
Over the past year, there have been significant policy advances related to the US bioeconomy—the part of the economy driven by the life sciences and biotech, and enabled by engineering, computing, and information science. The bioeconomy includes a wide range of products and processes, from mRNA vaccines and drought-resistant crops to microbial fertilizers and bioindustrial fermentation. Rapid advances in biotechnology tools and capabilities have expanded the possibilities for bio-based products, and the U.S. government is looking for ways that it can best support this burgeoning sector of the economy. In addition to several reports and recommendations from outside experts and committees, action within federal government agencies has been spurred by the September 2022 Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy (EO 14081) and by the CHIPS and Science Act signed into law in August 2022.
Two key areas of discussion for federal government policy on the bioeconomy are:
- Measurement and Language: How should the U.S. government quantify, measure, and track the size and shape of the bioeconomy? What “counts” as part of the bioeconomy?
- Financial and Economic Tools: How can government funding be most effective at seeding long-term growth in the bioeconomy? What criteria should be used to prioritize?
To generate ideas and support discussion related to bioeconomy policy, FAS hosted two half-day, multi-stakeholder, discussion-based workshops on December 5 and December 7, 2022, focused on these topics. Each workshop included representatives and experts from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, and the U.S. government.