Having articulated the committee’s definition for the U.S. bioeconomy and having compiled and analyzed the data available for assessing its value and its leadership position within the global bioeconomy, the report turns in Part II to examining the ecosystem in which the U.S. bioeconomy operates and methods for horizon scanning that can be used to identify new technologies, markets, and data sources with potential to drive the bioeconomy’s future development.
Chapter 5 begins by reviewing the overall U.S. system in which life sciences research is conducted and translated into innovative products and services. It covers the surrounding ecosystem—including regulatory and intellectual property regimes, investment sources, and workforce policies and structures—that fosters and supports the U.S. bioeconomy. This chapter serves as a basis for more in-depth discussions related to potential risks and associated policy gaps in subsequent chapters, recognizing that an understanding of the ecosystem is required for identifying potential risks. This chapter also explores a number of trends and innovations that are shaping and altering how the U.S. life sciences system functions.
Chapter 6 examines the various methodologies for conducting horizon-scanning and foresight activities, with a focus on applying horizon scanning as a policy tool. This chapter directly addresses the final element of the committee’s Statement of Task by examining best practices in horizon scanning and foresight. It articulates the steps needed to identify key elements of the process, considers how to optimize a horizon scan, and
examines past examples. This chapter also provides case studies related to the bioeconomy that can aid in identifying issues, examples of horizon scanning conducted by different government agencies, and examples focused on different application areas (e.g., health, food safety, and the environment). Finally, this chapter reviews tools for future thinking that can be used in conjunction with a horizon scan.
These two chapters move the discussion forward by describing the dynamic system in which the U.S. bioeconomy operates and providing decision makers with a set of tools with which to anticipate and respond to changes and advances in the U.S. bioeconomy.