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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 aims to develop 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.

Task Force Members

Joe Alper

Science Writer

Jun Axup, PhD


Stephanie Batchelor

Former Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Patrick Boyle, PhD

Ginkgo Bioworks

Rob Carlson, PhD

Bioeconomy Capital

Luis Cascão Pereira, PhD


Gaurab Chakrabarti, MD/PhD


Sunil Chandran, PhD


Mike Fero, PhD


Michele Goodwin, JD

University of California, Irvine

Kathryn Hamilton, MSB

In Vivo Group, Bioeconomy.XYZ.

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

Mary Maxon, PhD

Schmidt Futures

Deepti Tanjore, PhD

Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Development Unit

Frank Tate


Alexander Titus, PhD

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

Christopher Voigt, PhD

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Paige Waterman, M.D.

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