Strategic Biotechnology | May 7, 2012 Issue - Vol. 90 Issue 19 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 19 | p. 9 | News of The Week
Issue Date: May 7, 2012

Strategic Biotechnology

Policy: Administration issues a blueprint for biology and biotech investment
Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Economy, Life Sciences
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: biology and biotechnology, bioeconomy blueprint, economy, federal strategic plan, research and development
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As part of the federal biotech strategy, USDA will support more biofuel production facilities like this anaerobic digester on the Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, Mass.
Credit: USDA
The anaerobic digester on the Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, Mass., funded through a loan guarantee from USDA Rural Development.
 
As part of the federal biotech strategy, USDA will support more biofuel production facilities like this anaerobic digester on the Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, Mass.
Credit: USDA

Biofuels, medical devices, and large clinical data sets are just a few of the research areas that will get a visibility boost from the “National Bioeconomy Blueprint” released by the White House at the end of April.

The federal strategic plan, from the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), targets research and innovation in biology and biotechnology as an avenue for economic growth. The plan does not provide any money for new programs.

“This new blueprint will be a guide for departments and agencies to ensure that the investments they make in this sector will be coordinated and highly likely to generate real economic impact,” OSTP Director John P. Holdren said in releasing the plan on April 26. It emphasizes “an economy that applies scientific and technological innovations in a number of domains—chemistry, materials science, computational and combinatorial science—to our new ... understanding of the life sciences, allowing us to harness biology to address national challenges.”

Announcing a new research strategy and new commitments to harness biology for agriculture, health, energy, and the economy/jobs.
Credit: The White House

The plan sets out five goals: support more biology and biotechnology research, especially across disciplines; move basic research inventions into the marketplace; reform federal regulations to make the process for applying them faster and more predictable; change or develop educational programs to help meet the industry’s workforce needs; and support public-private partnerships to push new technologies forward.

Discussion of the Administration’s new Bioeconomy Blueprint by a panel of four academic and industry representatives (tbd), moderated by Bonnie Bassler, Princeton University.
Credit: The White House

“We appreciate the President’s recognition of the need to clear the path for American innovation and ingenuity and unleash the tremendous promise of biotechnology,” James C. Greenwood, president of the industry trade group Biotechnology Industry Organization, said in a statement.

Several agencies have already unveiled specific programs as part of the plan. For example, the Department of Agriculture issued a rule to make it easier for companies to get their biology-based products on the preferred federal procurement list. It also will support more biofuel production facilities, like a biogas anaerobic digester it approved in Oakley, Kan., to turn waste from a local cattle feedlot into energy.

At the Department of Health & Human Services, new programs will allow researchers access to FDA’s large repositories of clinical data and will support FDA scientists in gaining more real-world experience with the use of medical devices.

 
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