Representative Subtheme Challenge:

CCA-06: Responsible Innovation

Imagine a community-centered biotech hub, pioneering sustainable agricultural innovations like drought-resistant crops and eco-friendly soil treatments. This facility champions transparent operations and ethical practices, actively engaging with locals through open forums. These discussions ensure that technological advancements align with environmental ethics and community needs. Here, biotechnological progress is a collaborative journey, deeply rooted in sustainability and social responsibility, creating a model where innovation goes hand in hand with worker health and safety, community well-being, and ecological balance.

A challenge lies in ensuring that biotechnology-associated research and resulting products are developed with a proactive approach to best practices that include security (bio, cyber, and IP); technology, consumer, and worker health and safety; equity; accessibility; and sustainability. Addressing such goals will benefit from risk assessment, cross-agency and international collaboration, and public-private partnerships, ideally incorporating strategic attention and action from the outset. Urgency arises because of the rapid pace at which biotechnology advancements are evolving, which could potentially outpace our ability to adequately evaluate and mitigate risks.

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. Research and development should focus on inclusive best practices and new approaches for assessing the health and safety risks associated with new biotechnologies and biomanufacturing processes, products, and by-products. This includes understanding the impact on the environment, including food, water, and waste management systems, and in applications that impact the health and well-being of workers in the bioeconomy, consumers, and the general population. Cross-disciplinary collaborations will be essential, combining insights from social sciences, economics, and human resource development. Key areas also include improving communication and making data sharing more open among academic, industry, and international partners to enable appropriate risk assessment for foundational and translational biotechnologies. 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.

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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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