Created by on 12/19/2011 12:00:00 AM

“Advances in biological research hold the key to the health, food, energy, environment, and security challenges facing this nation and others around the globe,” FASEB stated in a December 7th letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). FASEB was responding to OSTP’s “Request for Information: Building a 21st Century Bioeconomy,” which had solicited recommendations aimed at informing the development of a National Bioeconomy Blueprint to guide the United States in addressing national needs in those four areas while creating high-wage, high-skilled jobs. The administration requested input on “grand challenges” in biological research, federal funding priorities, barriers to the translation and commercialization of research discoveries, building public-private partnerships, and scientific workforce development among other key issues.

FASEB’s detailed response included six overarching recommendations for the administration:

1.      Focus federal priorities on investigator-initiated basic research

2.      Support the efforts of basic scientists who take a more active role in the translation of their work

3.      Eschew strategies that divert funding from competitive research budgets

4.      Provide greater flexibility in agency rules for the use of federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program funding

5.      Help graduate programs in the biological sciences provide more opportunities for students to develop a broad range of career relevant skills and experiences

6.      Increase efforts to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens that decrease the productivity of researchers.

The federation also included with its submission a detailed list of proposed challenges solicited from its 24 member societies.