NSF News

New reports outline bold goals for U.S. bioeconomy

NSF highlights need for crosscutting advances to support fields from medicine to agriculture, clean energy to biomanufacturing supply chain resilience

Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a series of five reports authored by federal agencies, including the U.S. National Science Foundation, outlining bold research and development goals for the U.S. bioeconomy.

The NSF-led report lays out the research and infrastructure investments needed to harness the potential of recent developments in biotechnology, much of which was supported by the agency, and to advance new innovations across all sectors of the bioeconomy.

“NSF has supported discoveries in biotechnology for decades resulting in discoveries like PCR which powered the COVID-19 tests to CRISPR gene editing, new polymers and advances in tissue engineering," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "We have seen the tremendous power of synergized support for basic biological research and use-inspired efforts in all fields of science and engineering. To create the bioeconomy of the future, we need to further strengthen this innovation at speed and scale along multiple dimensions.”

The report, Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing R&D to Further Crosscutting Advances, focuses on bold goals and research and development needs within six themes: leveraging biodiversity; enhancing prediction and design of biological systems; expanding the capability to build and measure systems; advancing the ability to scale-up novel biotechnologies; accelerating innovation in biomanufacturing approaches; and co-generating and translating biotechnology. Achieving the bold goals outlined in these areas will require a whole-of-government effort, including alignment with and investments from other federal agencies and the private sector, in addition to currently funded R&D efforts.

Other reports, all of which NSF contributed to, focus on advancements and investments in biotechnology and biomanufacturing to achieve medical breakthroughs; address the causes of and adapt to climate change; spur food and agriculture innovation; and strengthen the resilience of U.S. supply chains.

Additional information is available at Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing PDF.