Gardner’s bipartisan bill would spur federal R&D in engineering biology

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on May 14 proposed a bipartisan bill that would authorize a coordinated federal engineering biology research and development initiative.

“Like the technological revolution and the Industrial Revolution before it,” Sen. Gardner said, “the biological revolution will reshape how we interact with and understand the world around us.”

In addition to making new vaccines, engineering biology research is used to develop locally grown specialty crops that are resilient to climate change; ensure food safety via technologies that detect harmful microorganisms and fight antimicrobial resistance; help wounded service members with advanced prosthetics, burn treatments and regenerative therapeutics; develop low-cost drugs; and clean the environment, according to information provided by the senator’s office.

Sen. Gardner is an original cosponsor of the Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2020, S. 3734, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to bolster America’s bioeconomy, particularly as American scientists and researchers rush to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

“I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to develop a stronger bioeconomy, which will lead to new scientific developments like improved vaccines and innovations in agriculture, food, medicine, clothing, and more,” said Sen. Gardner.

If enacted, S. 3734 would establish an initiative to advance R&D and biomanufacturing, develop a future bioeconomy workforce, and support research in ethical, legal, environmental, safety, security, and societal issues. The legislation also would establish a committee to coordinate research in engineering biology across U.S. federal agencies.

“Strengthening and coordinating our nation’s research initiatives will not only make us safer, but it will bolster our economy and put the United States at the forefront of global research leadership,” Sen. Gillibrand said.

The measure has been referred to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for consideration.