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Rubio, Markey, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan Bioeconomy Research and Development Legislation

Apr 27, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) reintroduced the Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2021, legislation that would strengthen America’s bioeconomy by championing research and development, encouraging biomanufacturing, strengthening the bioeconomy workforce, and supporting an ethical research framework. The legislation would also establish a committee to coordinate research in engineering biology across federal agencies.
 
“Cutting-edge innovation, technology, and discovery are all driving forces of America’s economic prosperity,” Rubio said. “As we’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in engineering biology research is critical for our health and economic stability. I am proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to strengthen both our economy and our research capability.”
 
“Biotechnology and life sciences innovation drives our bioeconomy,” Markey said. “It is critical that the United States remain a leader in engineering biology research and innovation — particularly as other countries accelerate their bioeconomy investments — and that we continue to support the hundreds of thousands of workers in the health, energy, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors that contribute to this field. This bill will ensure that we remain a global bioeconomy leader and enable us to best coordinate bioengineering research.”
     
“The American Society for Microbiology applauds the introduction of the Bioeconomy Research and Development Act,” Stefano Bertuzzi, CEO of the American Society for Microbiology, said. “This bipartisan legislation speaks to the need for federal government coordination and public-private partnerships, with special attention on engaging a diverse workforce for the future and assessing ethical, legal, environmental, safety and security issues. Microbiology is at the heart of many of these issues as part of the diverse scientific ecosystem tackling some of our most daunting societal challenges. Passing this bill will positively impact many industries of the future global economy.”
 
The bipartisan Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2021 would establish an initiative through the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to strengthen and broaden the country’s research capacities. Additionally, while federal agencies — such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Energy (DoE), Department of Defense (DoD), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — are all independently investing in engineering biology research, the legislation would coordinate these efforts.
 
Specifically, the Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2021 would:
 

  • Establish an Initiative through OSTP to advance research and development, advance biomanufacturing, develop the future bioeconomy workforce, and support research in ethical, legal, environmental, safety, security, and societal issues;
  • Direct the National Academies to review ethical, legal, environmental, safety, security, and societal issues related to engineering biology; and
  • Direct OSTP to lead an interagency coordination committee and define roles of participating agencies.