Statement of Task

In order to realize the full benefit of research investments intended to enable the advanced manufacturing of chemicals using biological systems, an ad hoc committee will develop a roadmap of necessary advances in basic science and engineering capabilities, including knowledge, tools, and skills.  Working at the interface of synthetic chemistry, metabolic engineering, molecular biology, and synthetic biology, the committee will identify key technical goals for this next-generation chemical manufacturing, then identify the gaps in knowledge, tools, techniques, and systems required to meet those goals, and targets and timelines for achieving them. It will also consider the skills necessary to accomplish the roadmap goals, and what training opportunities are required to produce the cadre of skilled scientists and engineers needed.  While focused on industrial manufacturing of chemicals, the roadmap challenges identified here will also be relevant to applications in health, energy, environment and agriculture by advancing the tools and techniques required for new development in these areas.

Essential elements of the roadmap that the committee will consider in the study and in its report, include the following:

  1. identification of the core scientific and technical challenges that must be overcome;
  2. identification of and timeline for tools, measurement techniques, databases, and computational techniques needed to serve as the building blocks for research and applications;
  3. how to develop, share, and diffuse common interoperable standards, languages, and measurements; and
  4. when and how to integrate non-technological insights and societal concerns into the pursuit of the technical challenges. [1]

The report will provide guidance to both the research and research funding communities regarding key challenges, knowledge, tools, and systems needed to advance the science and engineering required for advanced manufacturing of chemicals using biological systems and to develop the workforce required to realize these advances.  The report will not include recommendations related to funding, government organization or policy issues.

[1] These roadmap elements were drawn from a publicly available white paper authored by Richard A. Johnson, Counsel and Senior Partner, Arnold and Porter and used with his permission.