In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, AIBS has determined that the appropriate course of action is to move the 2020 AIBS Council Meeting to a half day meeting.

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Strengthening the Bioeconomy

The Annual Meeting of the AIBS Council of Member Societies and Organizations

December 10, 2020
12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern

graphic Biology and economy are inextricable. When appropriately marshalled, biology contributes to economic growth. When ignored, biology can have significant negative effects on our financial well-being. How can we invest in the biological sciences and translate what we learn from life sciences research into decisions that promote our public health and well-being, mitigate negative effects of environmental catastrophes, enhance national security, and strengthen the economy?

The biological sciences are estimated to contribute at least $1 trillion to the U.S. economy each year, or about 5 percent of Gross Domestic Product according to a recent article in Forbes. Importantly, rarely captured in these estimates are the benefits derived from ecosystem services - values quantified by biological and social sciences. When considered globally, the economic benefits derived from our understanding and application of biological information are tremendous.

Governments around the world are increasingly focused on bioeconomic growth and security. In the United States, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report in early 2020 offering recommendations for safeguarding the U.S. bioeconomy. Investments in the infrastructure needed to sustain and grow the bioeconomy have been identified as a priority for federal agencies in annual science and technology priority setting memoranda from the White House - under presidents from both political parties.

A common definition of bioeconomy is economic activity driven by research and innovation in the life sciences and biotechnology, and that is enabled by technological advances in engineering and in computing and information sciences. As such, all fields of biology and many of the disciplines that increasingly collaborate with biologists are contributors to the bioeconomy. Yet, to maximize the economic benefits from biological research and education, appropriate investments in infrastructure (physical and human), adequate funding, appropriate education and workforce development, and regulatory environments that foster innovation and commercialization are required. The needs of and insights from the biological sciences community must be appropriately addressed by policymakers.

  • Do we have a research and education environment that optimizes the conversion of biological information into economic benefit?
  • What role can professional societies play in supporting the bioeconomy?
  • Are we preparing the workforce to sustain and grow the bioeconomy?
The 2020 meeting of the AIBS Council of Member Societies and Organizations will consider these and other questions with the goal of identifying actions and recommendations that will strengthen the scientific community and the bioeconomy.

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Draft Agenda
2020 Online Meeting of the AIBS Council of Member Societies and Organizations
December 10, 2020 (Times listed are Eastern Time Zone.)

11:45 AM Zoom meeting room opens, Informal Conversation

12:00 PM Welcome and Introductions
Moderator: James Verdier, AIBS

12:10 PMOpening Remarks
Dr. Charles Fenster, AIBS President

12:30 PMPlenary Presentations
  • Bioeconomy, a Perspective from the Academies
    • Speaker: Dr. Diane DiEuliis, Weapons of Mass Destruction Center, National Defense University, Department of Defense
    • TBD
  • The Bioeconomy and Scientific Collections
    • Dr. Scott Miller, Smithsonian Institution and Co-Chair of the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections
1:15 PMQ&A and General Discussion
Moderator, James Verdier

1:30 PMCommunity Perspectives: Impediments to Realizing the Potential of the Bioeconomy
  • Dr. Keith Crandall, Founding Director of the Computational Biological Institute at George Washington University
  • Dr. Todd Crowl, President, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
  • Dr. Kathie Olsen, AIBS Board and KL Olsen International
2:15 PMDiscussion

2:30 PMBreak

2:40 PMScientific Community Perspectives (professional societies and publishers)
  • Dr. John Bates, President, NSC Alliance
  • Dr. Susan Skomal, President, BioOne
  • Dr. Pamela Soltis, AIBS Board, Biodiversity Institute at University of Florida and Past-President, American Society of Plant Taxonomists
3:15 PMDiscussion

3:30 PMBuilding the Workforce
  • Dr. Kristin Jenkins, Executive Director, BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
  • Ms. Deborah Paul, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Dr. Katja Seltmann, Director, Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, UC Santa Barbara
4:15 PM Discussion

4:30 PMSynthesis and Recommendations

5:00 PMConclude

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