BioEconomy: USA enters the race
Germany was one of the first countries to launch large-scale measures to support a future bioeconomy. As part of the National Research Strategy Bioeconomy 2030, research and development will be supported to the tune of 2.4 billion euros. But the pioneering Germany is now facing some competition: The Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, and Flanders have also drafted their own projects. Now the USA is also entering the race, and has published a programmatic paper.
A good six months after the announcement of a 'National Bioeconomy Blueprint', President Barack Obama has declared the bioeconomy a top-level issue. After being prioritised in the budget but with no total funding yet announced for the 'BioPreferred Program', the research and commercialisation of biological processes "will be expanded to become one of the main drivers of the American economy and US innovation." "This American initiative dramatically changes the previous character of the bioeconomy," said bioeconomy expert Christian Patermann on the day of the announcement to a meeting of secretaries of state and industry representatives at the margins of a conference in Fleesensee in northern Germany. "While previous bioeconomy activities were concentrated in Northern Europe, Germany, and the Benelux countries, it has now become presentable on the world stage."
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|News: Federal Government: 2.4 billion euros for the bioeconomy|
Global dynamic achieved
"We are now dealing with a global initiative," says the intellectual father of bioeconomy promotion in Europe. Patermann further stated that the many years of planning must now also be followed up with specific measures in Germany.
The American administration has put forth a tightly scheduled plan, at least according to the project description. As Obama put it: "no one does innovation better than America", and he wants to ensure that this is also true in the area of bioeconomy. In view of the great economic potential represented by the move from petrochemical-based to bio-based processes, the conditions for research support, technology transfer, labelling, and marketing of bio-based products will be changed to give the highest priority to corresponding research projects and products.
The current total of $167 billion of assistance that American companies receive through the utilisation of green, red, and white biotechnology each year won’t be the end of the generosity. In order to further increase sales in bio-based technologies, research budgets for multidisciplinary consortiums are to be increased and new promotion mechanisms are to be established to support high-risk research plans with major innovation potential.
|American National Bioeconomy Blueprint|
Additional information about the bioeconomy programme in the USA can be found in the statement released by the White House: click here
Promoting future technologies
Among other aspects, technology transfer from the laboratory to the marketplace is set to be accelerated, and regulatory barriers to marketing will be lowered. Training and continuing education programmes are being revamped and public-private partnerships are being supported.
According to the American plan, future technologies such as synthetic biology and bioinformatics are to be expressly supported, not only at the research level but also at the policy level in order to make progress possible in health research, agricultural biotechnology, bioproduction, and environmental protection. The programme’s five strategies laid out in the paper are being supported by initiatives directed by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Among others, there are plans to compare the data held by the FDA on clinical studies with patient data in order to measure – with a broad basis of information – how well patients respond to particular medications. Clinical research with induced pluripotent stem cells is to be expanded. Additionally, authorities also plan to establish a bio-label and appropriate award criteria within the scope of the BioPreferred programme, which will simplify the marketing of bio-based products for manufacturers.