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US President Joe Biden last week launched an ambitious $2 billion plan to boost the bioeconomy and biotechnology in the US. The goals of this so-called National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative include lowering prices for citizens, creating jobs, securing the supply of medicines, fuels, chemicals and materials, and reducing CO2 emissions.
Editorial office / Washington

The initiative involves several ministries and (government) agencies. Notable is the role of the Department of Defence (DoD). Over a period of five years, DoD will invest a total of $1 billion in setting up a domestic manufacturing infrastructure for the biobased industry. This support should provide an incentive to expand production capacity for products important to both the commercial and defence chains, such as critical chemicals. An additional $200 million will also go towards improving the biosecurity and cyber security posture of these production facilities.

Furthermore, Defence is launching a $270 million programme to accelerate the valorisation of research into products and new, advanced biobased materials for the defence supply chains, such as fuels, fire-resistant composites, polymers and resins, and protective materials.

Sustainable biomass

The Ministries of Energy, Transport and Agriculture will work together to make better use of sustainable biomass and waste resources (1 million tonnes per year) for domestic supply chains for fuels, chemicals and materials. Biden expects these efforts to lower prices for US households, especially during times of global supply chain turmoil.

Agriculture will also make $500 million available through a new grant programme for independent, innovative and sustainable US fertiliser production for US farmers.

In May 2022, Agriculture also announced $32 million in grants for timber innovations. In addition, another $93 million in partner funds will be mobilised to develop new wood products and make effective use of US forests.

To expand biofabrication for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), antibiotics and raw materials for essential drugs, the Department of Health is investing $40 million.


In addition, the Ministry of Energy plans to announce new grants of about $178 million to promote innovative research in biotechnology, bioproducts and biomaterials.

In addition, more than $200 million from the Build Back Better Regional Challenge will go towards strengthening the US bioeconomy. Regional programmes for this purpose are being set up in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon and Alaska. These include building pharmaceutical supply chains, sustainable mariculture, faster production of affordable wooden housing, healthier forests, better production and distribution of regenerative tissues and organs, and developing biotech talent in disadvantaged and isolated communities.


The Ministry of Energy is allocating up to $100 million for research and development (R&D) for converting biomass into fuels and chemicals, including the production and recycling of bio-based plastics.

Energy is also doubling current investments in scaling up biotechnology and biofabrication, to a total of $60 million. This should lead to the commercialisation of biorefineries producing renewable chemicals and fuels. The aim is to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, industry and agriculture and make them less risky.

Finally, there are several programmes, including those aimed at integrating engineering, IT and computational science with biology, scaling up the manufacturing, commercialisation and marketing of bio-based products and alternative foods, setting standards and promoting training in biotechnology

More information on the full programme can be found on the White House website.

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