ASBMB supports the Bioeconomy and Research Development Act of 2021

Jan. 27, 2022

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) endorses H.R. 4521 and S. 1418, Bioeconomy and Research Development Act of 2021, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and co-sponsored by Reps. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and John Garamendi, D-Calif., and introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

The Bioeconomy and Research Development Act of 2021 will establish a National Engineering Biology Research and Development Initiative that coordinates the efforts of federal agencies that individually contribute to engineering biology research — such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Defense and Department of Energy — to strengthen the country’s biotechnology capacity.

Furthermore, this legislation seeks to establish collaborative frameworks for engineering biology research, accelerate the translation and commercialization of engineering biology and biomanufacturing research, and support the education and training of students across bioengineering disciplines.

If passed, the act will increase U.S. competitiveness in bioengineering and biomanufacturing.  

According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, boosting the bioeconomy will not only increase international competition and talent but also lead to further investments across federal, higher education, nonprofit, public–private sector partnerships and small-business research programs.

This bill will bring ASBMB members new funding opportunities, new databases that facilitate improved data sharing, and improvements to streamline technology transfer and commercialization into the private sector.

We strongly approve of this bill and echo the scientific community in urging its inclusion in the final research competitiveness package negotiated between the House and Senate, as it will accelerate interdisciplinary research and bolster the U.S. STEM workforce.