Representative Subtheme Challenge:

CCA-03: Biomanufacturing, Bioreactors, and Scale-up

Imagine a local community garden where lush greenery coexists with integrated bioreactors. These innovative units use gaseous feedstocks from a subterranean waste site to produce eco-friendly materials and novel proteins, showcasing the latest in biomanufacturing. This fusion of advanced computing, biology, and engineering has transformed small-scale discoveries into scalable, sustainable solutions. The garden is now a hub of local production, demonstrating the practical application of biomanufacturing linked with waste disposal. This transformation, driven by continuous R&D, illustrates the U.S.'s role as a leader in global innovation, marrying technological advancement with environmental stewardship.

A key challenge for the bioeconomy lies in efficiently scaling innovations for economic feasibility and consistent quality. There is a pressing need to evolve from traditional "build and test" methods to digital laboratories for enhanced discovery and scalability. This transition is vital for overcoming current manufacturing limitations and embracing a 'fail fast' approach. The U.S. currently lags behind Europe in transitioning new potential products from bench to marketplace; consequently, startup companies opt for piloting their projects abroad due to better facilities and workforce. This trend must be reversed to bolster the U.S. bioeconomy.

CASA-Bio stakeholders representing government, industry, and non-profit sectors, identified areas of mutual interest where concerted effort among them may lead more quickly to the realization of the envisioned future. These are a few of their ideas. There is a need for both fundamental research and more applied research to advance the middle ground – between discovery and commercialization. At the foundational level, this could include mining diversity of biological systems for new ‘parts’ to use in bioengineering and new chemistries that plug into existing supply chains and developing robust toolboxes for biomanufacturing integration. There is also a need for a data repository on manufacturing and scale-up challenges, and a shift from a purely R&D ecosystem to an engineering-focused approach. Other areas include exploring distributed biomanufacturing, developing agnostic feedstocks, strain competitiveness, and a comprehensive understanding of scale-up challenges, including efficient downstream processing. We emphasize that this list is not comprehensive; we need you to help us think deeper within this subtheme!

As a member of the R&D community, you too are a CASA-Bio stakeholder, and providing your insight on R&D projects that undergird this sub-theme and lead to solutions is critical. Your ideas will matter! Your individual project ideas and those developed as part of the collaborative Town Hall process will be combined to produce an aggregate view. This view will help us understand not only the interests of the R&D community, but also what they are willing to do to advance the bioeconomy. Topics among the R&D project ideas we receive will help government, industry, and non-profit stakeholders see the potential of the US R&D community to address critical future needs and help define topics for future exploration through workshops and roadmapping.

Return to top
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.
Made by Knowinnovation