Catalyzing Across Sectors to Advance the Bioeconomy

Catalyzing Across Sectors to Advance the Bioeconomy (CASA-Bio) was inspired by the Executive Order (EO) on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy. Released by the White House in September of 2022, the EO laid out a grand vision to advance biotechnology and biomanufacturing through foundational and use-inspired research and development in five thematic areas (EO Bioeconomy Themes): climate change, food and agriculture, supply chain resilience, human health, and cross cutting areas to advance all these areas. Moreover, the EO called for this vision to be enabled by collaboration among government, industry, the private sector, and public sector researchers. That sparked our thinking, and we initiated CASA-Bio.

CASA-Bio is a collaborative, facilitated activity involving stakeholders from federal funding agencies, industries, non-profits, and the public sector research community. The overall goal is to give life to the vision of the Bioeconomy EO by seeking synergy through collaboration in areas of mutual interest. So far, we have had a series of meetings with government agencies, industries, and non-profits as well as four community town hall meetings open to the R&D community. Our synthesis of the town hall data as well as existing roadmaps in the thematic areas ultimately led to our next step, the Advancement Workshops. See our full Action Plan.

Advancement Workshops

CASA-Bio is excited to announce our six Advancement Workshops, designed to propel the bioeconomy forward. These interactive workshops will focus on specific research and development challenges and opportunities for the bioeconomy, bringing together experts from academia, industry, and government. The topics of these workshops were selected based on input from the community Town Halls that were hosted earlier in the year and from discussions among the federal, industry, and non-profit stakeholders.

Each workshop will include participants selected from open applications from the R&D community and from suggestions by CASA-Bio organizations, ensuring a diverse range of perspectives and expertise. By working together we can develop strategies to leverage fundamental, use-inspired and translational research and development to drive innovation and advance the bioeconomy.

The workshops will be fully virtual and take place in August or September. Each workshop will consist of one 90-minute orientation meeting and two full-day sessions. Explore the six workshop topics and apply below!

Advancement Workshop Topics

Workshop Topic A
Personalized Health and Medicine for Vaccine and Biologics Delivery
Biologics are outpacing small molecules as therapeutics and could be an important feature for the future bioeconomy. However, several barriers exist to the greater use of biologics. These include, but are not limited to, the need for a more personalized and tailored approach, limitations in the manufacturing paradigm, prohibitive delivery techniques, and cultural and socioeconomic barriers to their distribution and adoption. A forthcoming workshop will investigate some of these challenges, focusing on the importance and urgency of addressing them to achieve near-term economically beneficial outcomes.
Orientation:September 9th, 2024
Workshop Days:September 11th - 12th, 2024
Workshop Topic B
Accelerated Breeding for All Economically Important Crops and Animals
Fueled by National Agricultural Genome Initiatives, innovative breeding methods are transforming the development of economically important crops and animals, promising significant advances in agricultural productivity and sustainability. However, multiple barriers exist to the widespread implementation of such approaches. These include the need for substantial investment in advanced tools and technologies, gaps in critical infrastructure, regulatory challenges, and concerns about the long-term ecological and genetic impacts, to name a few. A forthcoming workshop will investigate some of these challenges, focusing on the urgent need to find enabling solutions to achieve specific deliverables related to accelerated breeding.
Orientation:August 12th, 2024
Workshop Days:August 14th - 15th, 2024
Workshop Topic C
Creating Value from Waste Carbon for a Circular Bioeconomy
Transforming waste carbon into valuable downstream products is revolutionizing approaches to carbon management, offering significant potential for environmental and economic benefits. However, several barriers exist to the widespread adoption of these innovative strategies. These include, but are not limited to, the need for substantial investment in scalable technologies to close the loop on circularity, problems of integrating new biological methods with existing infrastructure, regulatory and market acceptance hurdles, and technical difficulties in efficiently isolating and converting diverse carbon streams. A forthcoming workshop will investigate some of these challenges, focusing on the importance and urgency of addressing them to achieve specific, near-term deliverables related to advanced carbon transformation.
Orientation:August 12th, 2024
Workshop Days:August 14th - 15th, 2024
Workshop Topic D
Enabling Resilient Biobased Supply Chains
Enabling resilient biobased supply chains for energy, chemicals, materials, and foods has the potential to simultaneously address economic, technical, environmental, and societal challenges, particularly through the development of strategic future-facing product/biomass supply chains. However, several barriers exist to the widespread implementation of new solutions. These include, but are not limited to, the need for substantial investment in: (1) advanced feedstock (raw material) production systems, (2) scale-up and demonstration of logistics and conversion technology integration, (3) gaps in end-market readiness, and (4) the need for robust policy support and societal acceptance. A forthcoming workshop will investigate key challenges, focusing on the importance and urgency of devising solutions to achieve specific, near-term deliverables related to advancing biobased supply chains.
Orientation:August 19th, 2024
Workshop Days:August 21st - 22nd, 2024
Workshop Topic E
Food Protein Diversification
Diversifying our food protein sources to feed our growing population may offer significant benefits for climate and the environment while building national and regional economies and adding new jobs within these fields. While the development of multiple approaches in this arena has seen significant progress over the last 10 years, making a step change to develop new solutions and build regional innovation ecosystems may unlock the potential of this sector of the bioeconomy. Mindful advancement of innovative solutions may help improve food security and promote regional economic growth while supporting national climate goals and expanding the sources and modifications of proteins and other nutrients beyond traditional commodities to supplement the current food system. However, several barriers exist to widespread developmental progress and eventual adoption of these solutions. These include the need for advanced biotechnological research for scalable, cost-effective biomanufacturing processes and the development of infrastructure that utilizes regional strengths and resources for a blossoming bioeconomy. A forthcoming workshop will investigate some of these challenges, focusing on prioritizing the importance and urgency of each to achieve specific, near-term deliverables for advancing alternative food protein products and other novel agricultural bioproducts.
Orientation:August 21st, 2024
Workshop Days:August 22nd - 23rd, 2024
Workshop Topic F
Strategies to Improve Carbon and Energy Efficiency of Biomanufacturing
Biological processes can be used directly to reduce CO2 as well as produce products more efficiently and with less waste. Realizing this vision in a cost-effective way will require strategic research and development to identify the most efficient pathways and strategies. However, several barriers exist to optimizing biological systems and fully leveraging the advantages of biomanufacturing methods over other non-biological approaches. These include, but are not limited to, the need for enhanced carbon and energy efficiency, new innovative technologies, overcoming technical challenges in scaling biomanufacturing processes, and navigating regulatory and market acceptance. A forthcoming workshop will investigate some of these challenges, focusing on the importance and urgency of addressing them to achieve specific, near-term deliverables related to advancing the bioeconomy and optimizing biological systems for carbon reduction.
Orientation:August 26th, 2024
Workshop Days:August 28th - 29th, 2024
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CASA-Bio is based upon work supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under Contract No. 49100423P0058. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. National Science Foundation.
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