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National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative Opens Up Millions in Grants


A new Executive Order includes a commitment for nearly $300 million

A new Executive Order includes a commitment for nearly $300 million  toward research and the further development of biofuels and biorefineries in America.

The National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative (NBBI), states that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will award approximately $178 million  toward research efforts in biofuels, bioproducts, and biomaterials from sustainable resources. The Order also includes a pledge from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to double their efforts to $120 million. This money will go toward the support and scale-up of biotechnology and bio-manufacturing, to commercialize biorefineries, create new jobs in America and limit our reliance on foreign materials. 

The specific details regarding how these grants will be paid out have not been handed down from the White House yet, but in late December the White House Office of Science and Technology released two Requests for Information (RFI) related to the NBBI.

The first RFI, “Harnessing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing R&D to Further Societal Goals,” requested input on new, environmentally sustainable biobased products that the Federal Government could purchase through the BioPreferred Program. Additional requests within the RFI related to short-term (5-year) and long-term (20-year) goals which may be achieved through advances in biotechnology and biomanufacturing with regard to health, climate and energy, food and agriculture, and supply chain resilience, as well as the R&D needed to achieve these goals. It also requests information on requirements for building a vibrant bioeconomy and biomanufacturing ecosystem. Responses were due by January 20, 2023.

The second RFI focused specifically on biotechnology regulation and sought questions on improving the clarity and efficiency of biotechnology product regulation. The information provided will inform regulatory agency efforts to improve the clarity and efficiency of the regulatory processes for biotechnology products. Responses for this RFI closed on February 3, 2023.

The NBBI also included $220 million from EERE which will continue the acceleration and expansion of domestic bio-manufacturing, $100 million toward the research and development of the conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals. The money from the EERE is in direct relation to the overall focus of the EO highlighting the importance of bringing American-made bio-products to market.

Further support in the Order included a commitment to a diverse technical workforce with additional funding opportunities to support early-career scientists and provide training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty at academic situations not currently well represented in the U.S. science and technology industry.

DOE’s National Security Administration plans to initiate a new $20 million Bioassurance program to advance the U.S. capabilities to anticipate, assess, detect, and mitigate biotechnology and biomanufacturing risks and integrate biosecurity into biotechnology development.

Government Policy
January-February 2023

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