The bio-economy

Recently the federal government outlined a strategy for developing and expanding something called the bio-economy. What exactly is the bio-economy, and why is it important? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains.

“Well some people also call this … biotechnology. And essentially it’s marrying the biological sciences together with practical applications in areas like energy, health, agriculture and the environment to create new technologies, to create better ways of efficiently using our resources.

“Let me give you some concrete examples: In the energy area, biotechnology or the bio-economy, for example, is working to develop clean energy that’s not relying on fossil fuels. In agriculture it’s developing plants (crops) that are drought-resistant … as well as improving productivity in the agriculture area. In health it’s therapies for disease control and organ repair. And in the environment it’s new treatments for toxic cleanup, technologies for more efficient use of water resources.

“So this is viewed as a big, big area that is growing in importance in our economy and, to use a phrase you hear in North Carolina, North Carolina does have a dog in this sector. We do have a very significant agricultural area. We do have a very significant biotechnological research area. Those have come together. So, this is a part of our economy that’s perceived to be growing and presents a lot of opportunities down the road.”


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