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Call for Nominations: Safeguarding the Bioeconomy

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Safeguarding the Bioeconomy: Finding Strategies for Understanding, Evaluating, and Protecting the Bioeconomy while Sustaining Innovation and Growth

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is pleased to announce a new consensus study “Safeguarding the Bioeconomy: Finding Strategies for Understanding, Evaluating, and Protecting the Bioeconomy while Sustaining Innovation and Growth.” The bioeconomy is defined as the economic activity that is driven by the life sciences research enterprise. Advances in biotechnology are contributing more and more to the rapid growth of the life sciences and the increasing integration of the life sciences into different fields such as computer and information science. These trends have made the life sciences a rapidly growing contributor to the general U.S. economy, though it remains difficult to evaluate the extent of that economic contribution and the potential of the bioeconomy.

This study will determine the scope of the bioeconomy, consider strategies to measure the value of intangible assets (such as datasets and intellectual property) stemming from the life sciences, determine if there are particular economic or national security vulnerabilities associated with these assets, and suggest strategies to address them. This committee will have to consider how to balance safeguarding the U.S. bioeconomy without hindering the research and innovation needed to sustain its continued growth. The full statement of task can be found below.

Expertise Needed

A committee of approximately 16 experts will be appointed by the National Academies, drawing members from the academic, industrial, and non-profit sectors.  The interdisciplinary committee will require members with expertise in various life sciences disciplines that contribute to the bioeconomy, for example in biomedicine, agriculture, biotechnology, synthetic biology, biomanufacturing. It will also require expertise in the economics of technology, platform markets, and the internet, as well as the measurement of intangible assets. Additionally, the committee will require members with expertise in cybersecurity, data security, privacy, and experts in national security/biosecurity.

To make a nomination, please enter the requested information below. Nominations are requested no later than Wednesday, September 5th.  (Please feel free to forward to interested parties and our apologies for any duplicates you may receive, as we are sending this to multiple lists).

If you have any questions about the study, please contact Andrea Hodgson (

Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will be convened to consider strategies for safeguarding and sustaining the economic activity driven by research and innovation in the life sciences, collectively known as the bioeconomy. In completing its task, the committee will outline the landscape of the U.S. bioeconomy, as well as:

1. Outline existing approaches for assessing the value of the bioeconomy and identify intangible assets not sufficiently captured or that are missing from US assessments, such as the value of generating and aggregating datasets.
2. Provide a framework to measure the value of intangible assets, such as datasets.
3. Outline metrics commonly used to identify strategic leadership positions in the global economy and identify areas in which the US currently maintains leadership positions and is most competitive
4. Outline potential economic and national security risks and identify policy gaps pertaining to the collection, aggregation, analysis, and sharing of data and other outputs of the bioeconomy.
5. Consider whether there are unique features of the bioeconomy that may require innovative cybersecurity solutions. In addition, determine if data or other intellectual property from the varied sectors of the bioeconomy (biomedical, agricultural, energy, etc.) require different safeguards or whether the same measures could be effective for all sectors. Also, determine if basic research requires different safeguarding mechanisms or whether practices effective for industry and manufacturing are applicable and sufficient for basic research. 
6. Develop ideas for horizon scanning mechanisms to identify new technologies, markets, and data sources that have the potential to drive future development of the bioeconomy. Consider whether additional strategies (beyond those identified for the existing components of the bioeconomy) might be needed to safeguard these new technologies and data, and assess their implications for innovation and biosecurity.

The committee will prepare a consensus report that identifies options for strategies to safeguard the bioeconomy and will provide its analyses of the pros and cons of each option. It will then recommend which option or options it believes will address the above issues and protect the technologies, data, and other intellectual property of the bioeconomy most effectively while sustaining innovation and growth.
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