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Washington Highlights

White House Releases Long-range Blueprint for Nation’s “Bioeconomy”

May 5, 2012—The Obama administration April 26 released its “National Bioeconomy Blueprint” outlining steps by which the federal government might accelerate economic growth deriving from discoveries in biological research.  The final blueprint calls for increased coordination and focus among federal agencies, as well as establishing partnerships between public and private organizations, including academic institutions and industry, a priority shared with the AAMC. 

This growth is anticipated in at least four sectors, including health, food security, renewable energy, and environmental protection.  The five strategic objectives specified by the Administration are:

  • Support for R&D investments, including trans-disciplinary and research across federal science agencies;
  • Facilitate transition of inventions from research labs to market, including a focus on translational and regulatory sciences;
  • Develop and reform regulations to reduce barriers and streamline processes;
  • Update training programs and align academic institution incentives with student training for national workforce needs; and
  • Identify and support opportunities for public-private partnerships and precompetitive collaborations.

The blueprint does not include specific recommendations for funding, and in many instances highlights programs that are already ongoing, but nevertheless does reflect a commitment to continue biological and biomedical research programs in an ever-constrained federal budget.

The blueprint also reflects awareness among the president’s own science advisor and policy makers of the long-term economic importance of this research. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director John P. Holdren, said,  “The life sciences have proven to be a remarkably vital source of economic growth, and today they promise further game-changing advances in a wide range of commercial sectors. This Administration is committed to accelerating these advances and ensuring that Federal agencies and private entities work together to bring the benefits of the bioeconomy to market as quickly as possible.”

The effort to develop a blueprint was first announced by President Obama on Sept. 16, 2011, to be lead by OSTP with input from federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health NIH).  The administration also released a public request for information (RFI) on development of the blueprint, to which AAMC responded [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 9, 2011]. 


Stephen Heinig
Director, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0488


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