The White House today released a National Bioeconomy Blueprint, which it calls “a comprehensive approach to harnessing innovations in biological research to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment”. The blueprint identifies five “strategic imperatives” including investing in research and development, transitioning discoveries to industry, reforming regulations, boosting training, and supporting public–private partnerships.
The blueprint includes a number of initiatives, many of which already exist. A handful of new initiatives announced today, according to GenomeWeb, emphasize translating technologies to industries in areas such as using genomics to catalog biosecurity threats, buying bio-based products at the Department of Agriculture, and making information technology improvements and bolstering staff training at the Food and Drug Administration. The report also says that the new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and drug maker Eli Lilly will, in May, make a document available that instructs scientists on how to translate their findings into products.
Because most of the blueprint documents programmes that are already happening, The New York Times notes, “it is not clear what concrete changes, if any, will result”. However, it reports, the blueprint could be seen as an encouraging step by the biotechnology industry, which has received relatively little attention from President Barack Obama’s administration compared with other innovation-based industries such as electronics, social media and solar energy.