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April 30, 2012

Obama Administration Releases National Bioeconomy Blueprint

Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 26, 2012, the Obama Administration released its National Bioeconomy Blueprint, which is intended to provide a comprehensive approach to harnessing innovations in biological research to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment. In coordination with the release of the National Bioeconomy Blueprint, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced commitments supportive of the Blueprint’s goals. These include initiatives to encourage federal procurement of an expanded range of biobased products; take better advantage of large pharmaceutical data sets to speed drug development; apply the latest genomics discoveries to identify quickly emerging microbial threats; and accelerate research on non-embryonic stem cells as possible treatments for blood-related and neurological diseases.

The National Bioeconomy Blueprint identifies the following five strategic objectives intended “to enable a vibrant U.S. bioeconomy in the years and decades ahead, with potential to deliver major economic and social benefits”:

  1. Support research and development investments that will provide the foundation for the future bioeconomy;
  2. Facilitate the transition of bioinventions from research lab to market, including an increased focus on translational and regulatory sciences;
  3. Develop and reform regulations to reduce barriers, increase the speed and predictability of regulatory processes, and reduce costs while protecting human and environmental health;
  4. Update training programs and align academic institution incentives with student training for national workforce needs; and
  5. Identify and support opportunities for the development of public-private partnerships and precompetitive collaborations — where competitors pool resources, knowledge, and expertise to learn from successes and failures.