A National Bioeconomy Manufacturing and Innovation Initiative
Author: Alexander Titus
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world. In the same year, record fires, hurricanes, and weather wreaked havoc on the United States. These disasters have had devastating economic effects on American lives. To combat COVID-19, foster economic recovery, and address climate change, the United States should implement a National Bioeconomy Manufacturing and Innovation Initiative. The U.S. bioeconomy is composed of healthcare, agriculture, and life-science companies and contributes an estimated 2% of the U.S. GDP. This figure is expected to rise in the coming decade. The bioeconomy also contributes to addressing climate change by reducing U.S. dependence on petroleum-based products and creates American jobs through a growing biomanufacturing sector. Biomanufacturing is the production of products via biological and biosynthetic mechanisms, such as fermentation-based production of industrial ethanol. To fully realize the potential of the bioeconomy, the United States must invest in cross-cutting research and development (R&D) across the areas of healthcare, food & agriculture, energy, environment, and industrial applications. The pillars of this “National Bioeconomy Manufacturing and Innovation Initiative” should focus on (1) cutting-edge R&D, (2) development of fundamental and publicly available tools, and (3) biomanufacturing. The initiative should be coordinated out of the Executive Office of the President via a National Bioeconomy Coordination Office. The initiative should be supported by senior leadership positions at each federal agency with equities in the U.S. bioeconomy, as well as by appropriated funding.
About the Author
Alexander Titus is a technologist serving at the intersection of industry, government, and academia. He is the Chief Strategy Officer at the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), the Founder of Bioeconomy.XYZ, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biotechnology at the University of New Hampshire. Prior to his role at ARMI, Alexander was the inaugural Assistant Director for Biotechnology at the Department of Defense (DoD), where he led the DoD’s biotechnology modernization efforts. Alexander is a biomedical data scientist by training and holds a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biomedical Sciences from Dartmouth College as well as a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Biology from the University of Puget Sound. The views expressed herein solely reflect those of Alexander Titus and not of any private or public business or agency.