Task Force on Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy

A taskforce seeding the next wave of innovation in synthetic biology and the bioeconomy.


From the familiar cold-water, active enzymes in our laundry detergents to the cutting-edge runway fashions made from bio-manufactured spider silk and mushroom leather, biotechnology has created new economic opportunities to support a more sustainable future. These activities and many other exciting innovations form the basis of the bioeconomy—economic activity driven by the life sciences, biotechnology, and contributing advances in engineering, computing, and information sciences.


Ten years ago, the United States became one of the first countries to set forth a national bioeconomy policy framework to harness the broad future benefits of biological research. Recent estimates place the value of the U.S. bioeconomy at nearly $1 trillion. Now, new technological developments—including genome editing, artificial intelligence, automation, and miniaturization—have the potential to accelerate the U.S. bioeconomy toward $4 trillion over the next 10 to 20 years.


In the summer of 2021, the Congressional Research Service released its report, Bioeconomy: A Primer, which describes options for Congress to advance the U.S. bioeconomy. In October, the Biden Administration released a National Advanced Manufacturing Strategy Request for Information that included cutting-edge nano, chemical, and biological technologies. These actions demonstrate growing momentum and opportunity to maximize the potential of the bioeconomy for public benefit.


To seed the next wave of innovation in synthetic biology and the bioeconomy, Schmidt Futures launched a task force in October 2021. The program aims to advance transformative bio-based and bio-enabled applications in areas such as health, clean energy, industry, and agriculture.


The Task Force on Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy developed recommendations and a strategy to help realize the potential of the U.S. bioeconomy for maximum public benefit. A key focus of the task force is to bring multiple types of capital to bear to accelerate and expand biotechnology applications, including carbon management and sustainability. Members of the task force include subject matter experts across academic disciplines, including physics, ethics, and synthetic biology; venture capitalists and industry leaders from both small and large companies; and leaders from the biotechnology consortia.

The U.S. Bioeconomy: Charting a Course for a Resilient and Competitive Future

Informed by the Task Force on Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy, The U.S. Bioeconomy: Charting a Course for a Resilient and Competitive Future,” outlines what it would take for the U.S. and for people worldwide to maximize the benefits of the bioeconomy – from creating jobs to fighting climate change to reducing dependence on fossil fuels. 


The report aims to spur federal action that will build a better world by:

  • Reducing the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels
  • Revitalizing U.S. manufacturing and cultivating a more diverse bioeconomy workforce
  • Creating more resilient supply chains
  • Addressing concerns regarding national competitiveness and national security
  • Improving the nation’s health and the environment
  • Contributing significantly to the goal of creating a net-zero carbon economy


Hodgson, A., Alper, J., Maxon, M.E. 2022. The U.S. Bioeconomy: Charting a Course for a Resilient and Competitive Future. New York, New York: Schmidt Futures. https://doi.org/10.55879/d2hrs7zwc


The report may be downloaded at the top of this page.



Task Force Members

Joe Alper

Science Writer

Jun Axup, PhD


Stephanie Batchelor

Former Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Patrick Boyle, PhD

Ginkgo Bioworks


Rocco Casagrande, PhD

Gryphon Scientific

Rob Carlson, PhD

Bioeconomy Capital


Luis Cascão Pereira, PhD



Gaurab Chakrabarti, MD/PhD



Sunil Chandran, PhD



Sifang Chen, PhD

Engineering Biology Research Consortium

Darrell Ezell, PhD

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

Mike Fero, PhD


Kathryn Hamilton, MSB

In Vivo Group, Bioeconomy.XYZ.

Albert Hinman, PhD

Engineering Biology Research Consortium

Andrea Hodgson, PhD

Schmidt Futures

India Hook-Barnard, PhD

Engineering Biology Research Consortium

Sean Hunt, PhD


Ganesh Kishore, PhD

Spruce Capital Partners

Kat Knauer, PhD

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Natalie Kuldell, PhD

BioBuilder Educational Foundation

Mary Maxon, PhD

Schmidt Futures

Michael Roach, PhD

Duke University

Larisa Rudenko, PhD DABT

Co-Founder BioPolicy Solutions, LLC. Research Affiliate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ian Simon, PhD

Science Policy Expert

Deepti Tanjore, PhD

Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Development Unit

Frank Tate


Alexander Titus, PhD

In Vivo Group, Bioeconomy.XYZ, former Department of Defense

Tom Tubon, PhD


Christopher Voigt, PhD

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Paige Waterman, M.D.

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Task Force Interim Report: 12.1.21

Public and Private Funding Opportunities to Advance a Circular U.S. Bioeconomy and Maintain U.S. Biotechnology Competitiveness.

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