The White House is evaluating the potential to stimulate economic growth from sectors based in biological research. Such a plan could help to grow the economy and to create jobs while addressing national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment. Learn more about what a National Bioeconomy Blueprint could mean for basic biological research in the Washington Watch column in the February 2012 issue of BioScience. An excerpt from the article, “White House Begins to Map Course toward Bio-Based Economy,” follows:

Politicians and pundits clogged the airwaves last year with rhetoric about the state of the nation’s economy. Amid this noise, a few economic policy initiatives did begin to take shape. For instance, last fall, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a request for comments on a draft policy to stimulate the bioeconomy.

Scientists have long asserted that research is an investment that yields economic prosperity. A growing number of scientists and engineers have more recently advised that the biological sciences are poised to inspire transformative discoveries that can solve persistent problems while stimulating new economic opportunities. Indeed, in 2009, the National Research Council (NRC) released a 112-page report, A New Biology for the 21st Century: Ensuring the United States Leads the Coming Biology Revolution, which offered recommendations intended to harness the potential of the biological sciences to solve society’s grand challenges in the areas of energy, environment, food, and health.

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